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Promise or Peril: How Elite Newspapers Frame Stem Cell Research

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Promise or Peril: How Elite Newspapers Frame Stem Cell Research
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PROMISE OR PERIL:
HOW ELITE NEWSPAPERS FRAME STEM CELL RESEARCH














By

KIMBERLY RICE TAYLOR


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005
































For Joan, a strong and beautiful woman who has always loved me, believed in me, and
encouraged me to shoot for the stars. Thanks for everything, Mom.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my chair, Debbie Treise, for recruiting me to this wonderful program. Who

knew I'd ever find a graduate program that could combine my disparate interests? She

pushed me to make the most of the program and helped me to accomplish more than I

thought was possible. She has been a phenomenal advocate and a pillar of strength, even

when I stumbled.

I thank Mike Weigold, for leading vibrant and engaging discussions in our public

policy class. He challenged me to push past my existing assumptions on complex issues. I

have never met anyone else so adept at playing devil's advocate.

I thank Robyn Goodman for her understanding, encouragement, and fabulous

deadpan humor. In a stressful time like graduate school, the power of laughter cannot be

underestimated.

I also acknowledge that I couldn't have done this without my family. My sister and

my mother, despite the fact that they are each thousands of miles away, have been

amazing sources of strength for me. I thank them for their continued love and support.

And finally, to my grandparents may they see the benefits of this promising

technology within their lifetimes.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ................................................... vii

ABSTRACT ................................................... ................. viii

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ................................................. .............................................. .

2 LITER A TU R E R EV IEW .................................................................... ...............6...

Stem Cell Research ................... .. ............. .................................6
Foundations and Term inology.................. ....................................................6...
Sources of Pluripotent Stem C ells.................................................... ...............7...
Sources of M ultipotent Stem Cells....................................................8...
Ethical D ebate over Stem Cells ........................ ............................................8...
Stakeholders in the Stem Cell D ebate ................................................... 10
Key Events in Stem Cell Research and Policy ...................................... ................ 13
Initial Policies on Stem Cell R research ........................................... ................ 13
Election 2000 and Stem Cell R research .......................................... ................ 14
Election 2004 and Stem Cell R research .......................................... ................ 15
Stem C ell R research A broad............................................................ ............... 17
State L legislation .......................................................................................... 17
T ainted C ell L ines ................ .............. ............................................ 18
Science and the Public ... ................................................................... ... ............ 19
Scientific L iteracy .............. ...... ............. ............................................... 19
Public Perception of Science ....................... ............................................... 20
Science and the M edia ... ... .................... ................................................ 21
M edia Coverage of Science Issues ................................................... 21
M edia Coverage of Biotechnology Issues...................................... ................ 23
F ram in g ..................................................................................................... ....... .. 2 5
Fram ing Overview ... ................................................................................ 25
S o u rc e s ............................................................................................................ . 2 8
Research Questions .......................... ........... ............................... 30









3 M E T H O D S ................................................................................................................. 3 1

M ixed M methods ..................................................................................................... 31
M methodology ................................................................................ ....................... 32
N ew papers .................................................................................................... 33
Tim e Fram e .......................................................................................... . 33
Article Selection ............................................34
D ata Collection and A nalysis...........................................................................35
V alidity and R liability ....................................................................................36

4 R E S U L T S .......................................................................................... ..................... 3 7

F ram es U sed ......................................................................................................... 37
The "U uncertainty" Fram e ................................................................................. 38
The "Battle/Debate" Frame ..................... .........................................40
T he "P rom ise" F ram e ..................................................................... ...............4 1
The "Playing G od" Fram e................................................................................43
The "Excess Em bryos" Fram e..........................................................................44
The "Econom ic" Fram e ....................................................................................44
Sources Q uoted ............................................................................ ... .....................44
Scientists, Administrators and Science Policy Analysts ..................................45
Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups ....................................................................46
B ush A dm inistration .........................................................................................46
R religious G roups ...........................................................................................46
Ethicists ................................................. ...................................47
Republican Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research ..............................................47
Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups ..................................................................47
Republican Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research............................................48
Democratic Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research .............................. ...............48
C e le b ritie s ..................... ........ ...................................................... 4 8
Democratic Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research ............................. ...............48
O their Sources .....................................................................................................49
Definition and Characterization of Stem Cell Research..........................................49
C lo n in g .............................................. ................................................ ..................... 5 2
U united States versus Other N nations .........................................................................53

5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ..................... ...................................57

Fram e A analysis ........................................................................................................57
Use of "Uncertainty" and "Battle/Debate".......................................................58
U se of O their Fram es .........................................................................................61
Stakeholder A analysis ........................................................................................62
Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells....................................................62
Cloning and Stem Cell R esearch......................................................................63
United States-Global Leader or Lagging Behind? ............................ ...............64
C o n c lu sio n s ................................................................................................................. 6 4
Lim stations and Future Research.............................................................................66


v









APPENDIX

A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET ............... .............. ..................... 68

B INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET................... 70

R E F E R E N C E S .................................................................................................................. 7 5

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................................... ................ 83















LIST OF TABLES

Table page

1 Prim ary fram es sorted by publication ................................................. ................ 37

2 Primary frames sorted by article type .................................................................38

3 Sources directly quoted w within articles ............................................... ................ 45

4 Definition and Characterization of stem cell research ........................................50

5 E thical/m oral im plication s ........................................ ....................... ................ 5 1

6 Adult vs. embryonic stem cell research. ..................................................52

7 R eferences to hum an cloning .................................... ...................... ................ 52

8 R eferences to other nations ....................................... ....................... ................ 54















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication

PROMISE OR PERIL:
HOW ELITE NEWSPAPERS FRAME STEM CELL RESEARCH

By

Kimberly Rice Taylor

August 2005

Chair: Debbie M. Treise
Major Department: Mass Communication

Stem cell research burst onto the national media scene in 1998. Subsequent

coverage has described it as a promising new field tinged with both complexity and

controversy. This study sought to understand how elite newspapers, namely The New

York Times and The Washington Post, portrayed the issues surrounding stem cell

research. A textual analysis was performed on 171 articles published from August 2000

through September 2001. An inductive analysis found that a frame of uncertainty

dominated coverage.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Human embryonic stem cell research burst onto the national print media scene in

November 1998, following an article published by Dr. James A. Thomson, a

developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Thomson reported in

the November 6, 1998, issue of Science that he and his research team had isolated and

cloned human embryonic stem cells, making them the first scientists to do so (Thomson

1998).

Stem cells are important because they can be seen as the "utility and repair units of

the body that serve a central function in the maintenance and regeneration of organs and

tissues throughout life" (Nisbet 2004, p. 131). Scientists have long thought of stem cells

as a potential panacea in treating sickness and disease. By isolating these cells, Thomson

and his team ended the scientific community's 30-year quest for a reliable source of

human embryonic stem cells and cracked open the debate over these promising but

contentious cells.

Prior to Thomson's publication, The New York Times and The Washington Post

published just a handful of stories each year that featured stem cell research. Early stories

on stem cell research focused primarily on stem cell transplantation and on umbilical

cord blood. Stem cell transplantation is a therapy in which stem cells can be injected into

patients, typically those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and certain inherited blood

disorders, to boost their immune response. Stem cell transplantation can also be used in

gene therapy as a way to correct gene defects in patients suffering from certain genetic









conditions. Umbilical cord blood banking garnered attention because cord blood is rich in

stem cells and can be used in stem cell transplantation therapies. Earlier articles featured

the pros and cons of banking cord blood, namely whether or not parents should consider

this costly but perhaps life-saving medical technology to safeguard the future health of

their family (Walker 1997; Chase 1998).

Following Thomson's Science article in November 1998, media coverage of stem

cell research surged; stem cell research has been highlighted in thousands of stories in

The Washington Post and The New York Times alone. The projected promise of the

technology has no doubt contributed to its media prominence. Embryonic stem cells have

an infinite life span, making them ideal candidates for laboratory research on cellular

development. Unlike regular body cells that divide a given number of times and then die,

stem cells are immortal (Kolata 1995). This immortality makes them attractive candidates

for disease therapies. Another desirable trait of embryonic stem cells is that they have the

ability to develop into any cell in the body, a feature known as "pluripotency," making

them strong candidates for a number of disease therapies.

Despite the promises of these all-purpose cells, they are not without drawbacks and

controversy. The primary source for pluripotent stem cells is embryos, explaining why

pluripotent cells have been dubbed "embryonic stem cells" in media coverage. This

source of cells has caused quite a stir among conservative political and religious groups.

The Catholic Church is perhaps the most vocal opponent of stem cell research originating

from embryos. The Church teaches that all life, from the moment of conception, is

sacred. Thus, using fertilized embryos for research is considered morally unacceptable. It

should be noted that the Church sees no difference between naturally fertilized embryos









and those generated in a lab via artificial insemination, nor does it condone the use of

donated embryos that are left over from in vitro fertilization procedures.

Scientists have also developed a process called "somatic cell nuclear transfer" to

generate pluripotent stem cells. By definition, these pluripotent stem cells are not derived

from traditional embryos. The trouble is that the media refer to nearly all pluripotent stem

cells as "embryonic" stem cells, regardless of the cells' origin. This lack of clarity may

lead to confusion among the public. Indeed, stem cell research is a complex and multi-

faceted topic. Even individuals who are well-versed in science may struggle to make

heads or tails of this situation. The nuances in terminology can be difficult to understand,

especially since some of the terms (e.g., embryo) are already emotionally charged.

Research has shown that Americans have a bipolar attitude about science and

technology (Miller et al., 1997; Nisbet et al. 2002). Americans believe in science's

promise for new cures but at the same time feel uncomfortable with the pace of science

and often distrust it. Given this disposition, it would not be surprising if the public were

unable to come to consensus on the stem cell debate.

One way to help the public reach consensus on an issue is through media coverage

of that issue (Miller and Reichert 2001). Science stories rank among the best read in

newspapers, on par with sports stories, reflecting the public's fascination with science

(Rensberger 1997). A recent study found that close to 50% of Americans were very

interested in science discoveries and new technologies, 70% in medical discoveries, and

52% in environmental issues (Rogers 1999). Indeed, the public relies heavily on print

media for information on science, health and technology topics:

For most people, the reality of science is what they read in the press. They
understand science less through direct experience or past education than through









the filter of journalistic language and imagery. The media are their only contact
with what is going on in rapidly changing scientific and technical fields, as well as
a major source of information about the implications of these changes for their lives
(Nelkin 1995, p. 2).

The print news media are also important because they set the agenda for science

coverage in other outlets. Newspapers are "the front lines of science communication, the

places where most science stories show up first, before they appear in magazines, long

before they're in books, usually years before television documentaries cover them"

(Rensberger 1997). Thus, newspaper coverage of stem cell research plays a critical role

in shaping the evolution of this topic. Journalists must portray the issue clearly and

completely so that people can be well informed and come to their own conclusions on the

topic. Journalists' portrayal of the topic can have both an individual and a collective

impact; public opinion has been shown to influence public policy and governmental

funding of science issues.

Public opinion on any given topic can be influenced by a number of variables,

including media coverage of the topic. The way media present, or "frame," an issue can

influence readers' opinions about that issue (Iyengar 1991). Therefore, the purpose of this

study was to examine how The New York Times and The Washington Post, both

recognized as trendsetters in the media realm, have framed the issue of stem cell research.

These elite papers have the potential to influence the national media agenda, suggesting

that they are but one step away from influencing public opinion. As the dominant

newspaper in the nation's capital, The Washington Post has the ability to influence

general readers, as well as policymakers.

Stem cell research, given its potential for disease therapies, is a critical topic facing

American society. Framing studies on the elite news media can help complete the picture






5


of how the media might influence public opinion about stem cell research, and

subsequently stem cell research policy. This qualitative study builds on existing framing

studies of stem cell research that have taken a quantitative approach (Nisbet et al. 2003)

by providing insight into the rich, descriptive terminology used in media coverage of the

debate.














CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Stem Cell Research

Foundations and Terminology

For decades, scientists studying human development did so via animals. This early

research revealed a new class of cells called "stem cells," which are the body's

fundamental building block. Because they are "undifferentiated," these cells are capable

of developing into a number of cell types in the body. It should be noted that there is a

range of usefulness among stem cells. This usefulness is sometimes referred to as

"plasticity," that is a cell's ability to transform into other cell or tissue types.

"Pluripotent" stem cells can differentiate into any other cell type, making them a favorite

among scientists for developing new therapies. Most pluripotent stem cells lines have

been derived from embryos, hence the term "embryonic stem cells." "Multipotent" stem

cells also hold great promise, though are more restricted in how they can develop. These

cells have differentiated past the level of pluripotency into a specialized state (Anderson,

Gage and Weissman 2001).

Although animal pluripotent stem cells had been isolated many years prior, it

wasn't until 1998 that researchers were able to isolate and grow human pluripotent stem

cells in the laboratory. Subsequent work has shown that these cells have the capability of

developing into nearly any cell or tissue type in the body, hinting at possibilities for

therapeutic applications.









Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells

Pluripotent stem cells come namely from embryonic or fetal tissue. Embryonic

stem cells (ES cells) are retrieved from a group of cells known as the inner cell mass (part

of the blastocyst) about four to five days after an embryo's fertilization. These cells can

differentiate from their current unspecialized state into virtually any type of cell or tissue.

The first possible source of such cells is surplus embryos that are a by-product of in vitro

fertilization (IVF) labs. The second potential source of ES cells is from embryos

generated in the lab by uniting donated eggs and sperm. Another source of pluripotent

stem cells is the embryonic germ (reproductive) cells that can be taken from aborted

fetuses. Under the right laboratory conditions, embryonic stem cells can reproduce

indefinitely, a trait not shared by adult stem cells.

Pluripotent stem cells can also be derived through a process called somatic cell

nuclear transfer (SCNT), also known as "therapeutic cloning." Here, genetic material

from a regular body cell (a "somatic" cell) is transplanted into an egg cell (a "germ" cell)

that has had all of its genetic information removed. This fusion creates a hybrid cell that

"can be induced to behave like a fertilized egg" (Hall 2004, p.2).

This technique is often referred to as cloning because the resulting cell is

genetically identical to the original body cell. However, it is important to note that no

embryos (i.e. a union of sperm and egg) are used in this process. Somatic cell nuclear

transfer is the technique used by the South Korean researchers whose work appeared in

the media spotlight in early 2004 and triggered a renewed call for a ban on what is known

as "reproductive cloning" (Hwang, Ryu et al. 2004). Opponents fear that these hybrid

embryos could be grown into full-fledged human beings. However, scientists argue that

the technology is not that advanced. The hybrid embryos differ from normal embryos and









can be "riddled with genetic abnormalities," giving them "little if any potential to ever

develop into a normal human being" (Hall 2004, p.2).

Sources of Multipotent Stem Cells

Multipotent stem cells are cells that the media refers to primarily as "adult" stem

cells. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found in specialized tissue such as the

blood or brain and can yield specialized cell types, though in a much more limited

fashion from embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells can typically replicate for the life of

the organism but do not share the same infinite reproducibility of embryonic stem. It

should be noted that "adult" stem cells need not be derived from adults. Stem cells

derived from cord blood (i.e. fetal umbilical cord blood) are multipotent, not pluripotent,

and thus can be termed "adult" stem cells. They do, however, have more potential than

adult stem cells derived from mature tissues.

At this point, adult stem cells are the only type of stem cells that have been used in

human disease therapies. Scientists have used stem cells derived from bone marrow in

transplantation therapies for over 40 years. Stem cells used in stem cell transplantations

are called "hematopoetic stem cells" since they are derived from the blood-forming cells

in the bone marrow.

Despite the inherent differences between embryonic and adult stem cell research,

newspaper coverage does not always discern between the two. This may serve to

complicate the public's understanding and attitudes toward the already charged

discussions about stem cell research.

Ethical Debate over Stem Cells

The debate over stem cell research hinges on "competing facts and values" that

span "the multiple arenas of science, ethics, religion, business, politics and









administration" (Fassi 2002, p. 7). The stem cell debate incorporates elements from "the

abortion debate, the cloning debate, the fetal tissue debate, the transplant debate, the gene

therapy debate, the animal rights debate and even a debate" about human longevity

(National Public Radio 2001).1 Although the topic is multifaceted, major contention

seems to circle around a number of ethical and moral dilemmas, namely when life begins

and ends, as well as when is it acceptable to compromise life. Given what is at stake, it is

not surprising that the debate has been so prolonged and so heated:

when the search for balanced reasonableness and respect for human dignity are
interpreted through multiple and competing perspectives in the development of
policy, the conflict persists and is rarely resolved (Fassi 2000, p.2)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science sums up the various

sides quite eloquently in their online briefing on stem cell research:

Opponents of ES cell research hold that human life begins as soon as an egg is
fertilized, and they consider a human embryo to be a human being. They therefore
consider any research that necessitates the destruction of a human embryo to be
morally abhorrent. Proponents of ES cell research, meanwhile, point out that in the
natural reproductive process, human eggs are often fertilized but fail to implant in
the uterus. A fertilized egg, they argue, while it may have the potential for human
life, cannot be considered equivalent to a human being until it has at least been
successfully implanted in a woman's uterus (accessed March 13, 2005,
http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/stemcells).

This is much the same controversy that has swirled around the issue of abortion.

The American Life League sees the embryo as "the tiniest person," worth standing up for

and defending (Toner 2001). Opponents are concerned not only about the use of existing

embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, but also about the creation of embryos

expressly for research purposes. Pope John Paul II refers to the latter as "an evil akin to



1 This statement is excerpted from National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/Science Friday" program
which aired on March 2, 2001. The statement was made by Glenn McGee, assistant professor at the
University of Pennsylvania and editor in chief of the American Journal for Bioethics.









euthanasia and infanticide" (Stanley 2001). President Bush said that he recoils at the idea

of "creating life for our own convenience" (Charo 2001). Additional concerns exist that

this will only be the beginning of a "Frankenscience" that ultimately will lead to cloning

humans.

Proponents extend their arguments to include embryos generated in fertility clinics.

Many of these artificially created embryos are inviable and will never result in life. In an

effort to boost their chances of success, hopeful parents often end up with more frozen

embryos than they will have implanted. Proponents argue that these should be available

for embryonic stem cell research since most of these artificially created embryos will

otherwise be discarded.

Certain opponents of embryonic stem cell research including the Catholic Church

have argued that embryonic stem cell research should be abandoned in favor of adult

stem cell research. These opponents maintain that adult stem cells hold just as much

promise as do embryonic stem cells. Most scientists, however, disagree citing recent

scientific articles that have shown that adult stem cells lack the pluripotency of

embryonic stem cells.

In the broadest sense, the discussion about stem cell research can be reduced to the

importance of human life, whether it be the life of an unborn embryo or the life of an

adult suffering from a life-threatening disease: "The debate is crucially connected to

emotionally charged and deeply held values about the creation of, respect for, and

amelioration of human life" (Fassi 2002, p. 3).

Stakeholders in the Stem Cell Debate

As was suggested above, a number of stakeholders are involved in the conflict, and

they are all vying for their voices to be heard. Stakeholder groups that oppose embryonic









stem cell research include conservative political and religious groups. Opponents from

the Republican Party have included Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts,

Sam Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon and Tom Delay; Interest groups have

included the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council (Nisbet et al. 2003).

Among the various religious groups opposing stem cell research, Catholic interests

have been cited most frequently in media coverage (Nisbet, Brossard and Kroepsch

2003). The Catholic Church has a staunch position against any research that involves the

creation of or the taking of a human life. This rules out all forms of embryonic stem cell

research, including research using somatic-cell nuclear transfer. The United States

Conference of Catholic Bishops (2001) urged Congress to ban embryonic stem cell

research altogether, citing that the estimated promise of the technology did not outweigh

the realities behind it:

In his great novel The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky raised the question
whether it would be right to build a world without human suffering if "it was
essential and inevitable to torture to death one tiny creature" such as an innocent
child to achieve that end. Each of us must answer that ultimate question in the
depths of his or her own conscience. The claim that destructive embryo research
will achieve such a utopian end is, we believe, a hollow promise. In the meantime,
however, the killing will be quite real (USCCB 2001).

In an interesting twist, several otherwise-conservative politicians voiced their

support for stem cell research. Former senators Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Strom Thurmond

(S.C.) were both ardent pro-life Republicans, yet both believed that embryonic stem cell

research was worth investing in. Other GOP supporters featured by the media have

included Bill Frist, Connie Mack, John McCain, and Arlen Specter (Nisbet et al. 2003).

The most vocal supporters of stem cell research are scientists, patients and their

families, non-profit patient advocacy groups, and pro-industry advocacy groups. These









advocacy groups include the Coalition for Medical Research, Patient's Cure, and the

Biotechnology Industry Organization (Nisbet et al. 2003).

Celebrities have played a strong role in voicing their support for stem cell research.

For example, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has spoken out in favor of stem cell

research citing that it may yield a cure for Alzheimer's, the disease which plagued her

late husband. She has lent her name to various fundraising events for stem cell research,

including an initiative to raise $20 million for the stem cell research via the Juvenile

Diabetes Research Foundation.

Actor Christopher Reeve died in October 2004 but not before expressing his

overwhelming support for embryonic stem cell research. He believed that embryonic

stem cell research might hold the key to potential therapies for paralyzed Americans like

himself. He maintained that embryonic stem cell research could be conducted in an

ethical and moral fashion:

"You really don't have an ethical problem because you're actually saving lives by
using cells that are going to the garbage," Reeve said. "I just don't see how that's
immoral or unethical. I really don't" (CNN.com 2002).

Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, is another celebrity who

supports stem cell research. He appeared in television ads during the 2004 election urging

voters to consider the benefits of expanding stem cell research policy: "George Bush says

we can wait. I say lives are at stake and it's time for leadership" (Associated Press 2004).

Many scientists have collectively made their voice heard through the Union of

Concerned Scientists, a left-leaning advocacy group. They issued a statement in 2001

urging President Bush to promote federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The

union has since accused the Bush administration of "distorting scientific findings and

manipulating experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political









beliefs" (Elias 2004). Over 6,000 researchers have signed on and voiced their concern

over the administration's "misuse of science," including 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National

Medal of Science recipients, and 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Key Events in Stem Cell Research and Policy

Initial Policies on Stem Cell Research

The first major policy event specifically targeting stem cell research occurred

following a "crucial advance" made in 1994 at Harvard Medical School (Kolata 1995).

The scientists had refined a simple technique that could replace the existing cumbersome

method for isolating stem cells from blood. This simplified method was expected to open

the door for many new laboratories to undertake stem cell research. It also meant that

new gene therapies might not be far behind.

Congress attached an appropriations rider attached to the 1996 Departments of

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations

Act (which included allocations for the Department of Health and Human Services and

NIH). The rider became known as the Dickey amendment after the bill's original author,

Former Representative Jay Dickey (R-Ark.),and has been retained by Congress every

year since 1996. The Dickey Amendment banned federal funding for research that

destroyed embryos, but it made no provisions related to research conducted with private

funds.

Thomson's groundbreaking research was conducted on excess embryos originally

conceived for in vitro fertilization that were donated anonymously. Since the research

focused on human embryos, it did not qualify for federal funding. Instead, Thomson's

research was financed through private funds from the Geron Corporation of Menlo Park,

Calif. The research caused quite a stir, with the scientific community heralding









Thomson's results as a "major technical achievement with great importance for human

biology" (Gearhart 1998, p. 1061).

Shortly after Thomson's research was published, President Clinton requested a

review of the issues surrounding stem cell research. In September 1999, the National

Bioethics Advisory Committee issued a report, "Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell

Research," which suggested a legal reinterpretation of the federal funding restrictions

contained within the Dickey Amendment. The report concluded that the federal

government could fund research on human ES cells, provided that private funds were

used to derive the stem cells from embryos left over from fertility treatments. By

December 1999, NIH had released draft guidelines allowing federally funded research on

ES cells derived in the private sector and on August 25, 2000, NIH released its final

guidelines and solicited applications for its first ES cell research grants.

Election 2000 and Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research was highlighted throughout the coverage of the 2000

presidential election with Republic presidential nominee George W. Bush declaring that

he opposed federal funding for any stem cell research that destroyed human embryos.

Clinton, both through his words and policy actions, supported federal funding for

embryonic stem cell research.

Following Bush's inauguration in February, six months followed before any policy

changes were issued. The press highlighted what they called the president's continued

indecision on the issue, until ultimately on August 9, 2001, Bush announced in a prime-

time television address that he would allow federal funding of research on existing

embryonic stem cell lines. This policy meant that no new cell lines could be derived









using federal funds, thus ensuring that the government would not be responsible for any

new embryos destroyed for the sake of stem cell research.

On August 14, 2002, the National Institutes of Health released a list of 78 stem cell

lines that qualified for federal research funding according to Bush's criteria: the stem

cells must have been removed from the embryo prior to August 9, 2001, the date the

president first outlined these criteria; .the embryo used in deriving the stem cells must no

longer have been viable, i.e. it could not be grown into a human; the embryo must have

been created for reproductive purposes; the embryo must have been collected with the

informed consent of the parents; and no financial compensation was provided.

However, the list was met with immediate criticism. Initial reports indicated that

only about 16 of the 78 eligible cell lines were available for distribution, with only a

handful making it into the hands of researchers. The most recent statistics from NIH were

released in the third quarter of 2004 and stated that 22 stem cell lines were available for

study by federally funded researchers.

Election 2004 and Stem Cell Research

Although stem cell research was not one of the galvanizing issues in Election 2004,

it did play a role in several of the debates and addresses. Senator Kerry, the opposing

candidate, primarily asserted that Bush's existing policy would not be sufficient and that

Bush was not acknowledging the realities of stem cell research, while Bush maintained

that he had zeroed in on a moral way to support stem cell research.

For example, during the second presidential debate the candidates were asked about

the wisdom of funding embryonic stem cells in research, given that the only human

disease therapies to-date have arisen from adult stem cell research. Kerry responded,

acknowledging the morality behind the question but maintaining that scientists can









conduct "ethically guided embryonic stem cell research" by using embryos that are

leftover from in vitro fertilization procedures:

We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from
fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that, they're
from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen. And I
believe if we have the option, which scientists tell us we do, of curing Parkinson's,
curing diabetes, curing some kind of a paraplegic or quadriplegic or a spinal cord
injury, anything -- that's the nature of the human spirit. I think it is respecting life to
reach for that cure. I think it is respecting life to do it in an ethical way. And the
President's chosen a policy that makes it impossible for our scientists to do that. I
want the future, and I think we have to grab it (Office of the Press Secretary 2004).

Kerry closed out his remarks in the second debate by returning to oft-heard criticisms

about the Bush's approved stem cell lines:

But let me tell you, point-blank, the lines of stem cells that he's made available,
every scientist in the country will tell you, not adequate, because they're
contaminated by mouse cells, and because there aren't 60 or 70, there are only
about 11 to 20 now, and there aren't enough to be able to do the research because
they're contaminated (Office of the Press Secretary 2004).

Bush defended his stance, noting that he was the first president to ever allow

federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He emphasized that we must heed the

potential implications of stem cell research, noting that he took the approach he did out of

a respect for ethics and morality:

But I think -- I think we've got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and the
science. And so I made the decision we wouldn't spend any more money beyond
the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important, but so is
ethics. So is balancing life. To destroy life to save life is one of the real ethical
dilemmas that we face.... the approach I took is one that I think is a balanced and
necessary approach, to balance science and the concerns for life ibidd).

While on the campaign trail, First Lady Laura Bush also played up Bush's support of

embryonic stem cell research. In cities across the nation she expressed her pride that her

husband was the first president to authorize federal funding for stem cell research and to









express that President Bush looks forward to future medical breakthroughs via stem cell

research.

Stem Cell Research Abroad

In February 2004, researchers from South Korea published an article in the online

issue of the journal Science revealing that they had created about 30 human blastocysts

using the somatic-cell nuclear transplant method. The publication reactivated concerns

over stem cell research, with opponents citing that this research was one step away from

cloning humans for reproductive purposes. Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of President Bush's

Council on Bioethics, and many others called for a complete ban on cloning, regardless

of purpose, in order to sidestep any slippery slope that might occur if therapeutic cloning

were left legal.

Korea is not the only nation that appears to have permissive policies on stem cell

research regulation. Counties such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland,

Sweden, China, India, Israel, Australia and New Zealand all have policies that explicitly

allow embryonic stem cell research. In nearly all cases where therapeutic cloning (i.e.

embryonic stem cell research) is allowed, reproductive cloning has been banned.

State Legislation

Although the U.S. federal government has restricted funding for human embryonic

stem cell research, individual states have the right to pass laws permitting human

embryonic stem cell research. This means that states can subsidize the cost for the

establishment of new human embryonic stem cell lines or research on cell lines that are

currently ineligible for federal funding. The voters of California were the first to act on

this work-around. In November 2004, voters passed Proposition 71, which provided for

the establishment of the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The









initiative is expected to dole out $300 million per year for 10 years toward stem cell

research, including the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines. This dollar amount

marks a ten-fold increase over the money allocated for stem cell research by the federal

government. Since California passed Proposition 71, lawmakers in other states have

taken up the charge, with a total of Wisconsin, New York and New Jersey have

introduced similar proposals.

Tainted Cell Lines

Kerry's predictions about tainted cell lines were confirmed within three months. In

January 2005, researchers at the University of California at San Diego and the Salk

Institute for Biological Studies reported that all federally approved human embryonic

stem cell lines were tainted with a foreign molecule from mice. This could mean that any

potential stem cell therapies tested in humans could fail because the human body would

reject the stem cells as foreign (Martin, Muotri et al. 2005).

One of the paper's authors, Dr. Ajit Varki, believes that this poses a dire problem

for U.S. researchers, who depend primarily on federal funding to support their work. "If

none of these funding issues and legal issues and ethical and moral issues existed, then it

would make sense to start over," he said (Kaplan 2005, p. 1). His comment suggests that

the government should rekindle the debate over whether the existing federal policy on

funding embryonic stem cell research is sufficient or whether the United States is missing

a key opportunity.

Despite growing doubt over the efficacy of the federally approved cell lines,

President Bush reaffirmed his position in his State of the Union Address on Feb. 2, 2005:

I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for
experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and









sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research
that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical (Bush 2005).

Thus, it seems unlikely under the current administration that any new policies will be

developed on the federal funding of embryonic stem cells.

Science and the Public

Scientific Literacy

The term "science literacy" originally was coined by Waterman (1960) and

represents the public's understanding of science. Science literacy goes beyond the ability

to define key scientific terms; it extends to understanding how science actually works and

how science can influence our daily lives. Historically, Americans have not been able to

satisfactorily explain what it means to study something scientifically (Withey 1959;

Miller 1987). It is believed that individuals who are scientifically literate will be able to

tell "good" science from "bad" science and to weigh the competing claims in science

discussions (Bodmer 1985).

Understanding the "whys" and howss" behind science is growing increasingly

important. We live in a world of increasing technological and scientific complexity in our

daily lives. The public needs to understand science in order to cope adequately

(Waterman 1960). However, it is not enough to "know" science, for example basic facts

such as the speed of light or the density of water. The public needs a thorough

understanding of science concepts and the methodology behind scientific research.

LaFollette (1995) wrote that "effective modern citizenship demands a higher level of

'knowing about' science" (p. 235).

Additionally, the degree to which everyday Americans understand science can

affect our nation's research agenda. Over the years, it has been demonstrated that the









degree of public understanding of science largely influences government support and

policy. Some authors have argued that support of scientific programs depends less on a

program's own merits than on public attention and understanding. Thus, the public's

science literacy in turn influences scientific progress.

The National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators survey is seen as

the most consistent indicator of science literacy. The first survey was conducted in 1979

and it has been conducted about every two years afterward with the most recent results

reported in 2002. Less than 15% of those surveyed felt well informed about science and

technology issues, while 30% felt poorly informed (National Science Board 2002).

Public Perception of Science

Analysis of the NSB survey data revealed that the American public possesses two

competing attitude constructs (Miller et al., 1997; Nisbet et al. 2002). The first construct

shows that Americans are uncertain about science and technology, citing concerns about

the pace of change and "a sense that science and technology pose conflicts with

traditional values or belief systems" (Nisbet et al, p. 588). The second construct reflects

that Americans believe in the promise of science and technology, and believe research

can yield "useful results and products for society" and provide "future benefits" to

society (Miller et al, 1997; Nisbet et. al., p. 588). Later studies revealed the same

diagnosis, stating that an inverse relationship exists between knowledge and doubt of new

scientific technologies (Miller and Kimmel 2001).

Despite the contentious debate over stem cells, the American public seems to favor

the research, both embryonic and adult. Two polls conducted during the 2004 election

showed a majority support for embryonic stem cell research among registered voters.

Time wrote that 69% of the 1,131 adults surveyed were in favor of using discarded









embryos for stem cell research, and that 50% felt that federal money should be used

(Time 2004). A Newsweek poll looked at the topic from a more general perspective and

found that 50% of the registered voters surveyed said they were for stem cell research.

One key element that has been repeated in the discussion of embryonic stem cells is

the source of the stem cells. Advocates say that leftover embryos from fertility clinics

pose a great opportunity. A study conducted in Sweden showed that couples who were

pursuing infertility treatment were overwhelmingly (92%) in favor of donating their

excess embryos for stem cell research rather than simply discarding them. Although the

culture and values are obviously different in Sweden than in the United States, this seems

like an encouraging result for those in support of embryonic stem cell research. A similar

study could be conducted here in the United States to gauge whether support would be as

strong.

Science and the Media

Media Coverage of Science Issues

The public can learn about science from a number of sources including science

classes, science museums, and interpersonal sources, but the most impressive source is

the media (Nelkin 1995; Nisbet et al. 2002). Newspapers cover more science stories than

any other form of media communication (Rensberger 1997). Not surprisingly then,

newspapers have been shown to be the public's primary source of science, technology

and health information, if not their "sole source of information and continuing education

about science" (Rensberger 1997, p. 8). Nelkin (1995) elegantly describes the importance

of print media in communicating science to the public:

Science writers, in effect, are brokers, framing social reality for their readers and
shaping the public consciousness about science-related events. Their selection of
news about science and technology sets the agenda for public policy. Their









representation of science news lays the foundation for personal attitudes and public
actions. They are often our only source of information about the scientific and
technical choices that significantly affect our work, our health, and our lives (p.
161).

The media can help the public become aware of pressing social issues via its

agenda-setting role. Although many scholars have written about agenda setting, its roots

trace back to the oft-cited 1973 paper by McCombs and Shaw. The authors introduced

the idea that the media's decision to cover an issue affects the public's perception of the

salience of that issue (McCombs and Shaw 1973). The media no doubt helped the public

become aware of stem cell research. Since the majority of Americans would never so

much as pick up an issue of Science, they would have had no way of knowing about

Thomson's breakthrough had it not been featured by the mass media.

It is clear that the media serve a crucial role in telling the public which science

issues are important to think about. However, the extent to which the media influence the

public's opinions about specific scientific topics is less definite. Researchers have found

an inverse correlation between newspaper use and reservations about science (Nisbet et

al. 2002). That is, individuals who read the newspaper are more likely to feel favorably

about scientific issues. Most daily newspapers and all elite newspapers already include a

certain amount of science-focused coverage. In fact, newspapers carry more science news

than more than any other mass communication media (Rensberger 1997). However,

researchers have differing opinions on the extent of media effects on public opinion.

Regardless of the extent to which newspapers sway people's opinions about science

topics, it is clear that newspapers remain the public's dominant source for science

information. Thus, it is worthwhile to examine media coverage of science topics in order









to fully understand what information the public is receiving about particular scientific

issues.

Media Coverage of Biotechnology Issues

Media scholars have looked at how the print media have framed a number of

scientific topics including environmental issues, genetically modified foods, nuclear

energy, etc. However, this study will focus solely on the framing of stem cell research.

Much of the elite print media's initial coverage of stem cell research attentively focused

on the potential risks of stem cell research, namely the destruction of human embryos.

Stem cell research is certainly not the first risky scientific topic covered by the press, nor

is risk a new concept to our society:

Risks to health, safety and the environment abound in the world and people cope as
best they can. But before action can be taken to control, reduce or eliminate risks,
decisions must be made about which risks are important and which risks can be
safely ignored (Covello and Johnson 1987, p. vii).

Risk has been a common element in media coverage of other biotechnology issues,

as has uncertainty (Bartels 2002; Priest 2001). Priest makes three assumptions regarding

media coverage of scientific debates: "Scientific futures are uncertain, the public has a

legitimate stake in defining public policy for science, and this role is better filled by an

educated than an ignorant citizenry" (Priest 2001, 100-101).









In the genetically modified food debate, the media helped influence the public's

general acceptance of genetically modified foods through its coverage of the issue.

Although the media did include elements of the public's skepticism over genetically

modified foods, the media gave greater attention to positive messages from stakeholders

in favor of genetically modified foods:

By overrepresenting the large-institution point of view and the ostensibly
monolithic character of U.S. public opinion, media accounts probably helped to
suppress the visibility of what dissent existed (Priest 2001, p. 61).

Another key element in the media's coverage of genetic technology has been its

comparison of international policies. Journalists have focused on U.S policy versus those

of other nations like Italy, Israel, India, and Great Britain (Ten Eyck and Williment

2003). The concern has been that if other countries develop more permissive regulatory

policies, then scientists may emigrate from the United States to pursue their work in those

countries. Journalists have echoed this concern in their coverage of stem cell research,

citing that current U.S. policies may lead to a potential "brain drain" to nations such as

the United Kingdom, Sweden, India or Singapore (Brush 2005: Regaldo, McGinley and

Lueck 2001; and USA Today 2003). This "brain drain" facet only complicates the stem

cell debate in the eyes of readers.

In multifaceted debates such as this, the media can help the public come to

decisions by providing information about an issue. Information may include context and

background on the issue, as well as viewpoints of various stakeholders. In the instance of

stem cell research, involved groups have included the scientific community, federal

government, political groups, patient advocacy groups, and religious groups.

The most revealing look at how print media have portrayed stem cell research was

conducted by Nisbet, Brossard and Kroepsch (2003). This study relied on the mass media









theories of agenda building and frame building (i.e. agenda setting and framing) to study

how the media have influenced the debate over stem cell research. Using quantitative

methodology, the authors found that the stem cell debate relied on "familiar storytelling

themes and dramatic elements that helped push is to the top of the media agenda during

the summer of 2001" (p. 44). Coverage focused mainly on the competing interests

inherent in the debate, namely tradition versus progress:

If on one side of the debate was the image of a mad scientist experimenting on
human embryos, on the other side was a notion of a religious zealot impeding
scientific and social progress (Nisbet et al. 2003, p. 44).

With competing viewpoints clamoring to be heard, the important questions to be asked

are, "Whose voice rises above all others?" and, "How will this affect public opinion and

policymaking?" The frequency with which stakeholders are quoted and which voices

dominate are a key element in framing.

Framing

Framing Overview

Sociologist Erving Goffman is credited with coining the term "framing" (Goffman,

1974). It is important to note that the concept of framing has not always been clear in the

literature. Indeed, Entman's well-known paper refers to framing as a "scattered

conceptualization" (Entman 1993, p. 51). In a more recent publication, Scheufele (1999)

noted that "the term framing has been used repeatedly to label similar but distinctly

different approaches" (p. 103). Hertog and McLeod note that although framing analysis

has been accepted as a useful research tool for several decades, it is far from being an

exact science. A "wide array of theoretical approaches and methods" are utilized and the

field has yet to settle on "a core theory or even a basic set of propositions, nor has a

widely accepted methodological approach emerged" (Hertog and McLeod 2001, p. 139).









Researchers should take care to describe where their methods and approaches fit

within framing's four-cell typology: "media versus audience frames and frames as

independent versus dependent variables" (Scheufele 1999, p. 108). This study is

concerned with media frames as a dependent variable, namely how journalists use frames

and what frames dominate coverage of stem cell research.

It should also be noted that "framing" and "frame theory" are not equitable in the

eyes of many researchers, and that a distinction can be made between the two terms

(Roefs 1998). This study is concerned primarily with the use of framing as a research

tool. Although the exploration of frame theory is valid, this study will not venture into

such territory.

According to Goffman (1974), framing explains how readers use existing mental

frameworks and expectations to make sense of everyday social situations. This "sense-

making" element is critical, as frames can help shape a reader's thoughts about a given

issue. This concept is echoed by Bridges and Nelson (2000), who wrote, "the way an

issue is presented the frame especially through the media, can affect public

perceptions of the issue" (p. 100). Reese (2001) further characterized frames by stating

that they are "organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that

work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world" (p. 140).

Salience is a key element in framing. Entman (1993) is widely respected for his

contributions regarding salience in framing research:

To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more
salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem
definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment
recommendation for the item described (p. 56).









Frames reduce issues to the familiar, and they can help the public to understand

new and otherwise complex issues by capitalizing on widely accepted dogmas and shared

perspectives. This can be especially useful in coverage of biotechnology issues, where

readers may get bogged down in technical language. By reducing the story to

recognizable elements, journalists can help readers to understand the issue. Hertog and

McLeod (2001) characterized the "importance of frames and framing in social process,

especially in defining and channeling social controversy" (p. 139).

Framing methods can be distilled to such basic elements as the language that

journalists use to describe events (Edelman 1988). Indeed, "the use of baby versus fetus

signals a very different approach to the topic of abortion" (Hertog and McLeod 2001).

We are a culture that relies heavily on language. Yet complex scientific issues pose a

great challenge to the public, who often cannot comprehend the associated terminology.

Framing can help bring the reader onto a common playing field:

All communication is dependent upon shared meaning among communicators. The
speaker and the audience must approach words, icons, ideas, gestures, and so on in
an identical fashion in order to communicate. The greater the difference in their
individual understanding of symbols, the less able they are to communicate (Hertog
and McLeod 2001, p. 141).

However, this quest to establish shared meaning can cause a story to change from a

catchy tune to a broken record. Journalists tend to revert to familiar stories and themes

when framing science stories (Bennett 2001). Nisbet et al. (2003) described this scenario

in greater detail:

When an event or new issue taps familiar themes from previous dramatic stories,
journalists turn to these previously used story lines to recast actors and events in
familiar relationships around the emerging issue (p. 43).

For example, the stem cell debate has been framed in similar ways to the debates over

abortion and in vitro fertilization, since all three have been framed as hinging on the









moral question of when life begins. Framing of the stem cell debate also has echoed the

debate over genetic engineering, where voices have questioned whether scientists are

"playing God" (Charo 2001).

The framing of news stories also is influenced by the journalist's choice of sources.

In fact, source selection can be seen as "one of the most important dimensions of

framing" (Zoch and VanSlyke Turk 1998, p. 762). Shoemaker and Reese further iterate

this point:

Sources have a tremendous effect on mass media content, because journalists can't
include in their news reports what they don't know... (sources) may also influence
the news in subtle ways by providing the context within which all other information
is evaluated.., and by monopolizing the journalists' time so that they don't have an
opportunity to seek out sources with alternative views (Shoemaker and Reese,
1991, p. 150).

Sources

Although journalists strive for neutrality in their work, studies have shown that

journalists tend to favor certain types of sources. In some cases, journalists will forgo

sources whose opinions on an issue contrast with their own (Powers and Fico 1991).

Research has overwhelmingly shown that journalists favor certain "elite" sources,

including police, government officials and scientists.

Journalists often tap elite sources because they are easily identifiable and

accessible, tend to be articulate, can provide a large amount of information with little

effort (on both the source's and journalist's part), and are typically seen by readers as

valid and reliable (Zoch and VanSlyke Turk 1998). In scientific debates, the extent to

which readers trust sources is critical: "reputation is the crucial currency in scientific

debate" (Durant 1993, p. 136). The concept of source validity is also important because if

readers trust a source then they may believe what a source says to be true. In short, what









sources say about an issue can elicit attitude and belief changes among readers (Slater

and Rouner 1996). Specifically, direct quotes can have a strong influence on reader

opinion about an issue. Gibson and Zillman have reported that readers exposed to a given

opinion via a direct quote were likely to echo that opinion and that readers give greater

weight to information contained in direct quotes than in paraphrased quotes (Gibson and

Zillman 1993; Gibson and Zillman 1998). This evidence makes it important to examine

direct quotes within framing studies such as this one.

After considering these facts, it is then not surprising that journalists favor elite

sources, as the practice can provide them with a way to easily inform and potentially

influence readers. Hovland's work from the 1950s supports journalists' inclination to use

elite sources by demonstrating that that the main elements influencing source credibility

among readers trace to the source's trustworthiness and expertise (Hovland and Weiss

1951).

However, journalists' reliance on elite sources, especially those in government,

medicine, and law, can present a top-heavy view of society. This practice can give

"scientists a great deal of control over representations of uncertainty" (Dunwoody 1999,

p. 63). Also, by opting to quote expert sources rather than do their own background

research and investigative reporting, journalists may be depriving readers of key

information on a topic. (Ericson, Baranek, and Chan 1989; Wilkie 1996).

Journalists' use of elite sources can influence the framing and agenda setting of

specific issues (Gans 1979; Nisbet et al. 2003). For example, Andsager and Smiley

(1998) stated that "(t)he news media tend to rely on frames that the most influential

policy actors provide, which will often render large institutions the most influential









policy actors" (p. 183). Journalists' reliance on elite sources can have a strong influence

on policy because "when the resonance process is complete, one frame comes to

dominate debate, and decision makers set public policy to conform to it" (Miller and

Reichert 2001, p. 113).

Research Questions

One primary research question was asked: how have the elite newspapers covered

embryonic stem cell research? According to Creswell (1998), beginning with a single

problem for the researcher to explore is a critical directive of qualitative research. From

there, sub-questions can evolve.

Secondary questions looked at sublevels of this main question: with what frequency

are key stakeholders cited; to what degree are issues regarding embryonic stem cells and

adult stem cells differentiated; how frequently is the process of human cloning cited

alongside stem cell research, and is it differentiated as a separate issue or lumped

together; and how frequently are stem cell policies of other nations mentioned or

compared to U.S. policy?














CHAPTER 3
METHODS

Mixed Methods

Two broad approaches to academic research traditionally are recognized -

qualitative and quantitative. The two methodologies differ in many ways, but "the issue

goes deeper than 'to count or not to count"' (Trumbo 2004, p. 418). Quantitative research

operates mainly from the standpoint of taking an existing theory or hypothesis and testing

it. Although quantitative research methods are used in the bulk of published academic

research, qualitative research is no less valuable:

"Qualitative research shares good company with the most rigorous quantitative
research, and it should not be viewed as an easy substitute for a 'statistical' or
quantitative study" (Creswell 1998).

Qualitative research is "a process of making large claims from small matters"

(Carey 1975). Qualitative researchers seek to "preserve and analyze" content, "rather

than subject it to mathematical or other formal transformations" (Lindlof and Taylor

2002, p. 18). In effect, qualitative research takes a macro view, describing the nuances

and fine details of an issue in an attempt to understand fully what is going on. Qualitative

textual analysis seeks to elucidate the meaning behind media messages and can reveal

subtle thematic shifts (Newman 1998). In short, "quantitative researchers work with a

few variables and many cases, whereas qualitative researchers work with a few cases and

many variables" (Creswell 1998).

Qualitative and quantitative methodologies have long existed as two distinct

methodologies, although neither one is recognized as "better" than the other (Newman









1998). Despite their inherent differences, the two approaches can be quite complementary

(Carpenter 1998). In designing studies, researchers should not adopt an "either-or"

mindset. Because each approach offers its own advantages to the researcher, a

combinatorial approach can be quite useful and can be more useful than either approach

would be on its own (Carpenter 1998). Perhaps not surprisingly, a third genre dubbed

"mixed methods" is gaining increased acceptance, and researchers in a variety of social

sciences are touting the benefits of this relatively new approach (Todd et al 2004;

Tashakkorie and Teddlie 2003).

Following this trend and seeking to draw on the advantages of the two traditional

methodologies, this study relied on a mixed-method design. From a quantitative

standpoint, the study sought to understand the frequency with which journalists used key

terms and concepts. In an attempt to paint a more detailed picture, qualitative methods

were employed to explore and further characterize elite print media coverage of

embryonic stem cell research. This component of the study followed Creswell's

guidelines: 1) begin with a research question that seeks to explore what is going on; 2)

focus on a topic that needs to be explored; and 3) present a "detailed view" of the topic

(Creswell 1998).

Methodology

This study examined the way in which issues surrounding stem cell research have

been portrayed in two elite newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The study focused on a critical time span in the history of stem cell research,

encompassing the first major policy decisions for this nascent field.









Newspapers

Newspapers were selected over other media because they are the public's dominant

source for science knowledge (Blum and Knudson 1997). The New York Times and The

Washington Post were examined since they both are clarion trendsetters in the national

media scene (Nelkin 1995). Additionally, they are regarded as key publications for

national policymakers (Gans 1979). The issue of stem cell research is one that has

national and even international importance, so The New York Times was selected for its

reputation, breadth and overall depth of readership. Additionally, The New York Times is

well known for providing ample coverage of science and technology issues via its weekly

"Science Times" section. The Washington Post was selected for its reputation and

prestige, as well as for its attention to political and legislative issues. As the predominant

paper in Washington, D.C., policymakers are apt to read it and to be influenced in how

they respond to current issues.

Time Frame

The coverage time frame was August 25, 2000, through September 19, 2001. The

start date coincided with the Clinton administration's reevaluation of the ban on federal

funding for embryonic stem cell research. The study end date extended one month past

the Bush administration's August 19, 2001, announcement that it would permit federal

funding of embryonic stem cell research conducted on stem cell lines already in

existence. This month-long period following the announcement allowed inclusion of

articles that discussed the controversy over the limited number of existing ES cell lines,

their relative viability and the subsequent determination that adult stem cells might not

hold the promise once believed.









Article Selection

The Lexis-Nexis Academic online database was used to identify articles via a

"guided news search." First, "general news" was selected under the "news category"

drop-down menu. Second, "major papers" was selected under the "news source" drop-

down menu, and The New York Times and The Washington Post were selected via the

"source list" to limit results to those two papers. Third, the database was screened by

entering the term "stem cell" (with quotation marks) in the search term box and selecting

"headline, lead paragraph(s), terms" from the drop-down menu.

News stories, feature stories, and opinions/editorials were all included in this study

because the researcher felt these types of articles would be most likely to include detailed

coverage of stem cell research issues. General letters to the editor were not included.

Also, the researcher excluded the printed text of George W. Bush's televised speech from

August 10, 2001, which ran in both The Washington Post and The New York Times, on

the premise that it was originally a speech and not a written piece. Articles of fewer than

500 words were excluded, because the researcher felt these articles typically are straight

research briefs that lack further explanation or context. The researcher also excluded

pieces that exceeded 500 words but that were merely an assemblage of several short

briefs (e.g. The Washington Post's "Findings," "Today in Congress," and "Washington in

Brief' columns).

The researcher opted to use stories of greater than 500 words because she felt that

these pieces devote adequate space to cover the critical elements of this murky topic and,

thus, ample room to employ frames. These selection criteria echo those used in other

framing studies (Schmid 2004).









Data Collection and Analysis

Individual articles were the unit of analysis. Each was coded using a standard

coding worksheet and set of coding guidelines (Appendices A and B). In addition to

gathering basic identifying information about each article (headline, byline, date, section

and page, etc.), the coding sheet examined a number of other items: (1) utilization of key

terminology; (2) sources of direct quotations; (3) definition and characterization of stem

cell research; (4) presentation of ethical issues surrounding stem cell research; (5)

delineation of differences between adult and embryonic stem cells; (6) references to

human cloning; and (7) references to other nations, namely their stances on stem cell

research or the threat that the United State might be left behind. Data from the coding

sheets was entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to streamline analysis.

To answer the primary research question and determine the frames used, the

researcher read through all articles that met the selection criteria. By looking at specific

articles individually, the researcher was then able to employ an inductive approach to

elucidate general trends among the articles. Variables that influenced frame evolution

included terminology, sources, overall tone, and placement of various attributes within

the story. The researcher has both formal educational training and professional

experience in scientific fields. As such, she understands the technical aspects of the stem

cell issue and has followed it in the popular press since its inception.

In order to answer the secondary research questions, the researcher tallied all

related data fields and calculated basic percentages. Comparisons were made between

articles that ran in The New York Times and The Washington Post to elucidate any

additional trends.









Validity and Reliability

Validity typically represents the "truth value" of observations, and whether or not

researchers have presented factual, confirmable and reliable data (Lindlof and Taylor

2002). Validity refers to the congruence between what a given data set measures and

what it intends to measure (Newman 1998). Reliability is a related term and has to do

with the "consistency of observation" and whether the coding sheet, in this case, will

generate the same results each time it is applied to the same article (Lindlof and Taylor

2002, p. 238).

One way to establish reliability and validity in qualitative research is to utilize a co-

coder (Lindlof and Taylor 2002). A second coder was trained and familiarized with the

coding sheet and coded a random sample of 20% of the articles which were selected

using a random number generator. This coder had completed all coursework for a

master's degree in mass communication, having studied both framing theory and

qualitative research. Both coders analyzed the data independently and, following coding,

they compared frames. The coders agreed on the dominant frames and, in the case of

discrepancies, discussed the issue until a conclusion was made. An intercoder reliability

of 86.67% was established using a basic intercoder reliability formula: total stories minus

irreconcilable frames, divided by total stories.














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Frames Used

Using the aforementioned criteria, 98 articles were retrieved from The New York

Times and 73 articles were retrieved from The Washington Post. The researcher identified

a number of frames that permeated the elite print media's coverage of stem cell research.

The researcher dubbed these the "battle/debate," "economic," "excess embryos,"

"playing God," "promise," and "uncertainty" frames. Any other frames were coded under

an "other" category. It should be noted that several frames were closely related. For

example, "uncertainty" and "battle/debate" both hinged on the unknown outcomes of the

stem cell research discussion, though the latter frame took a stronger stance using

suggestive terms connoting aggressive moves by shareholder groups to resolve the

uncertainty. However, each story had a tipping point that ultimately pushed it into one

category or another.

Table 1. Primary frames sorted by publication
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles
n=73 (%) n= 98 (%) n=171 (%)
Uncertainty 31 (42.5) 38 (38.8) 69(40.4)
Battle/Debate 22(30.1) 33 (33.7) 55 (32.2)
Promise 7 (9.6) 15 (15.3) 22 (12.9)
Playing God 3(4.1) 2(2.0) 5(2.9)
Economic 3 (4.1) 1(1.0) 4(2.3)
Excess embryos 1(1.4) 1(1.0) 2(1.2)
Other 6 (8.2) 8 (8.2) 14 (8.2)









Table 2. Primary frames sorted by article type
News, n=134 (%) Feature, n=3 (%) Editorial/Opinion, n=34 (%)
Uncertainty 58(43.3) 0(0.0) 11(32.4)
Battle/Debate 42(31.3) 0(0.0) 13(38.2)
Promise 15 (11.2) 0(0.0) 7(20.6)
Playing God 4(3.0) 0(0.0) 1 (2.9)
Economic 4(3.0) 0(0.0) 0(0.0)
Excess embryos2 (1.5) 0(0.0) 0(0.0)
Other 9 (6.7) 3 (100.0) 2 (5.9)


The "Uncertainty" Frame

The most widely used frame was the "uncertainty" frame, appearing in 42.5% of

The Washington Post articles, 38.8% of The New York Times articles and 40.4% of

overall articles. Webster's dictionary lists such synonyms for uncertainty as doubt,

dubiety, skepticism, and mistrust. Certainly all of these nuances permeated the

newspapers' coverage of stem cell research as the debate over this new technology

surged forward.

The uncertainty frame dominated early coverage within the study's time frame and

centered on the difficulty in sorting out the moral and ethical concerns over stem cell

research. Journalists using this frame cited conservative groups opposed to stem cell

research. Quotations from these groups argued for preserving the sanctity of human life

and protesting the destruction or creation of human embryos for research purposes. In

part, this is because many members of these groups believe that life begins at conception.

Since the derivation of stem cells requires the destruction of an embryo, opponents equate

this with the taking of a human life. However supporters were quoted contesting that:

when it comes to biology, words like "destruction," "creation," "embryo" and even
"life" and "death" are ambiguous. Scientists understand this ambiguity to be a
reflection of the complexity of living things. Meanwhile, both advocates and
opponents of stem cell research are using that ambiguity to their best advantage
(Silver 2001).









Quotes from supporters also countered that frozen embryos are little more than

"microscopic balls of cells." Quotes from supporters acknowledged that the cells

represent potential for human life but with the caveat that many other factors are required

to turn the potential life into reality. Supporters were cited arguing that without

implantation in a mother's womb, the embryos never stand a chance at maturing into a

true human life. Supporters also believe that the true beginnings of life don't come with

fertilization:

Besides, it is not so clear that an individual life begins at fertilization. The
beginnings of the nervous system do not appear until 14 days after fertilization. The
early embryo can split, leading to the birth of twins, so that individuality, it could
be argued, begins some days after fertilization (Wade 2001 la).

Adding to the confusion inherent in the uncertainty frame were journalists'

repeated citations of conservative Republicans crossing party lines. Senators Orrin Hatch

and Strom Thurmond both support embryonic stem cell research. As such, journalists

have pegged them as running counter to their party ideals, acting in opposition to their

well-documented anti-abortion views and thus aligning themselves with liberal groups in

support of stem cell research.

Later coverage featuring the uncertainty frame highlighted concern over Bush's

decision. Frank Bruni, of The New York Times wrote, "his speech was like a Rorschach"

leaving Bush "future wiggle room" (Bruni 2001). Authors expressed repeated skepticism

on whether the 64 existing cell lines would provide enough latitude to maximize the

potential of stem cell research. While the president and his staff argued that the 60-odd

cell lines were "sufficient" to do important science, proponents of stem cell research were

quotes as saying Bush's "vision is shown to be too narrow." Supporters of embryonic

stem cell research felt that by restricting funding to a set number of cell lines, Bush's









policies would inevitably hold back scientists from making progress and that the United

States would lag behind other nations.

On the other side of the fence, conservative groups were also unhappy with Bush's

decision. They felt that Bush had strayed too far from his party's pro-life values, and

called for Bush to reconsider and issue a complete ban on all embryonic stem cell

research.

The "Battle/Debate" Frame

The "battle/debate" frame was the second most prevalent frame, appearing in

30.1% of The Washington Post articles, 33.7% of The New York Times articles and 32.2%

of overall articles Although this frame held certain similarities to the "uncertainty" frame,

the "battle/debate" frame relied on stronger, aggressive-sounding terminology. Initial use

of this frame showed journalists pitting the supporters against the opponents in an all-out

battle to draw support to their side of the cause:

Sensing an opening during Bush's period of indecision, several members of
Congress have written bills, scheduled hearings, demanded White House meetings
and taken to the airwaves to reassert themselves in the battle over cells smaller than
the head of a pin (Connolly 2001b).

Other key phrases that writers used included "spark debate," "eye to eye," "fired back,"

"straddle the line," "legislators feuded," "political parties are maneuvering," "two

agendas collide," "fertile battleground," "skirmishes" and "fight is not over."

Another key element in the "battle/debate" frame was journalists' repeated mention

of how President Bush's "divided administration" was grappling with the "agony,"

"conundrum," and "quandary" of the "national debate." This led some writers to suggest

that Bush's "credibility.. .is open to question." Some writers saw Bush's consideration of

whether to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research as a "political litmus









test." During his campaign, Bush vowed to protect the sanctity of human life and

reinforce pro-life values. Therefore, conservatives wondered why Bush was taking so

long to declare what they hoped would be a moratorium on embryonic stem cell research.

This "cat and mouse" game led to skepticism on part of the elite print media and perhaps

the public. Journalists speculated about the delay, suggesting that it was simply "spin, an

effort to justify a decision already made" (Cohen 2001a).

Other journalists expressed that Bush was struggling with how best to appease his

various supporters. Some sources quoted in this frame felt Bush was struggling to

maintain political advantage and avoid political fallout, and therefore opted for a plan that

would offend the least number of people and would help safeguard his political standing

for his future re-election campaign. For example, one source described Bush's decision it

as "a cop-out, but that's his new presidency, going the middle of the road" (Fountain

2001). Another contributor felt Bush "defused a political time bomb that could have

caused deep fissures in the relationships with conservatives and moderates in his own

party" (Berke 2001).

The "Promise" Frame

Journalists also used an alternate frame, the "promise" frame, which emphasized

the promise of stem cell research. Writers using this frame relied heavily on sources from

within the scientific and academic communities. The quotes from scientists and ethicists

expressed that although there are strong moral and ethical considerations, the ends of

stem cell research justify the means. Journalists repeatedly quoted these sources as

believing that legions of ailing Americans one day could benefit from the potential

therapies generated from stem cell research. Writers reiterated this point through the use

of common-ground stories, namely from politicians and such well-known individuals as









Nancy Reagan, Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox. These quotes humanized the issue

by offering personal examples of families touched by devastating diseases.

Journalists using this frame incorporated a number of specific phrases into their

coverage: "promise of miracle cures"; "nascent but promising field"; "fountain of youth";

"magical power"; "limitless potential"; "dazzling array (of new treatments)"; "stem-cell

revolution"; "so versatile"; "potential to cure disease and relieve suffering"; and

"breakthrough therapies and cures." Rather than imply that the tissue necessary for this

research was obtained from a controversial source (i.e. a fetus), writers used such phrases

as: "microscopic ball of cells"; "activated embryo"; and blastocystt."

Articles using the "promise" frame often broached the subject of when life begins

but did not center on the issue. No doubt, the question over when human life truly begins

is laced with uncertainty. Rather than dwell on the uncertainty behind this age-old

question, writers using the "promise" frame touched only briefly on questions about life's

origin. The writers maintained that our inability to answer these questions definitively

should not stand in the way of the research possibilities. One Washington Post article

cited that "the idea that an embryo has a soul is a matter of religious faith, not science,"

and implied that this question should not stand in the way of federal funding (Silver

2001). Writers using this frame maintained that a key distinction exists between the

origin of a human being, an embryological question, and the origin of a human person, a

philosophical question (Irving 1999). Indeed, "no court has ever suggested that they

(embryos) have human rights and it would be unethical to protect them at a sick person's

expense" (Weiss 2001a).









The "Playing God" Frame

Certain elements of uncertainty crept into the "playing God" frame, as well.

However, writers using this frame stepped beyond the basic waffling of whether we

should move forward with embryonic stem cell research, instead arguing that we must be

sure not overstep our ethical boundaries and "play God."

This frame, perhaps not surprisingly, was more prevalent in articles citing

conservative groups and opponents of stem cell research. Groups cited in the articles

included: abortion rights opponents, conservative Republican members of Congress, the

Catholic Church and other religious groups. Articles also cited opponents who argued

that "a tragic coarsening of consciences" makes it "permissible to kill so long as we

intend to bring good from it." These groups were quoted as believing that our stem cell

research policies should reiterate the basic principle of medicine, "to do no harm."

Journalists cited opponents of stem cell research as maintaining that it is morally

and ethically wrong to use human embryonic tissue for research. Writers who employed

the "playing God" described stem cells as "nascent" and "innocent" human life that must

be protected, adding that the sacrifice of these "unborn embryos" and "tiny human

beings" only "devalues and violates human life." For example, Family Research Council

president Kenneth Connor wrote that "no commercial gain or scientific benefit can justify

the slaughter of the innocent" (Connor 2001).

A few articles using this frame (mainly editorials) incorporated an element of fear

through the use of specific terminology. For example, one Washington Post editorial

referenced the human experimentation conducted at Auschwitz and then suggested that

stem cell research could lead to scientists "playing God," using cloning "to provide spare

human parts." Another article using this frame warned of "fetal farming," suggesting that









the overwhelming demand for embryos would result in for-profit businesses to breed new

embryos for research.

The "Excess Embryos" Frame

The "excess embryos" frame was in many ways complementary to the "promise"

frame. Journalists centered the "excess embryos" frame on the overproduction of

embryos for infertility treatments. They cited fertility experts who express that many

embryos generated for IVF are defective and can never be viable for reproductive

purposes. Authors also noted that couples undergoing IVF typically end up with more

embryos than are needed. This frame emphasizes that stem cell research would be able to

utilize these embryos, saving them from certain destruction and unnecessary waste. This

frame's terminology centered on embryos, describing them in a number of ways:

"excess," "surplus," "spare," "leftover," "not needed," "in excess of clinical need," or

"would otherwise be thrown away. "

The "Economic" Frame

The "economic" frame played up the potential financial payoffs that will result

from advances in stem cell research. Key terminology used in this frame included "slew

of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists ready to swing [the door] wide open,"

"commercial potential," "long-term growth," "economically attractive," "business

issues," and "investors."

Sources Quoted

An important attribute in determining frames is the sources that are quoted within

articles. The researcher wanted to know with what frequency the elite newspapers quoted

key players in the stem cell research debate and relied on Nisbet et al 2003 to characterize

source allegiance.









Table 3. Sources directly quoted within articles
The Washington
Post, n=73 (%)
Scientists, administrators, and 49 (19.3)
science policy analysts
Pro-ES cell research groups 40 (15.7)
Bush administration 36 (14.2)
Religious groups 23 (9.1)
Ethicists 20 (7.9)
Republican pro-ES cell 19 (7.5)
research
Anti-ES cell research groups 16 (6.3)
Republican anti-ES cell 18 (7.1)
research
Democratic pro-ES cell 18 (7.1)
research
Celebrities 0 (0.0)
Democratic anti-ES cell 1 (0.4)
research
Other 14 (5.5)
Total sources 254


The New York
Times, n=98 (%)
83 (84.7)

79 (80.6)
53 (54.1)
38 (38.8)
39 (39.8)
36 (36.7)

30 (30.6)
17 (17.3)

16(16.3)

3 (3.1)
0 (0.0)

25 (25.5)
419


Total articles,
n=171 (%)
132(19.6)

119(17.7)
89(13.2)
61(9.1)
59 (8.8)
55 (8.2)

46 (6.8)
35(5.2)

34(5.0)

3(0.4)
1 (0.1)

39(5.8)
653


Scientists, Administrators and Science Policy Analysts

The most oft-cited source group was that of scientists, administrators and science

policy analysts, making up 19.3% of independent sources quoted in The Washington

Post, 84.7% in The New York Times, and 19.6% of the total sources quoted in both

papers. Group members included stem cell research scientists like James Thomson. The

group also included administrators and science policy analysts affiliated with universities,

hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American Association for

the Advancement of Science, the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy

of Sciences. Scientists were included regardless of whether they held a medical degree or

a doctorate of philosophy, and whether they worked in academia or for the National

Institutes of Health. Scientists working in any commercial ventures were lumped into the

"Pro-ES stem cell research groups," as they stood to benefit financially from any









advancement in stem cell technology. Most of the time, these scientists were academic

researchers who had spun off a for-profit company that they themselves headed.

Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups

Pro-embryonic stem cell groups were the second most-cited groups, comprising

15.7% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 80.6% in The New York

Times, and 17.7% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Sources in this category

included any groups who stand to profit, either financially or through potential medical

cures, from advances in embryonic stem cell research. Groups included the Coalition to

Advance Medical Research, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Wisconsin Alumni

Research Foundation (including managing director Carl Gulbrandsen), Juvenile Diabetes

Research Foundation, Parkinson's Foundation, biotechnology companies (like Geron) or

their officers, and financial analysts who favor embryonic stem cell research.

Bush Administration

The next source group was the Bush administration, which accounted for 14.2% of

independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 54.1% in The New York Times, and

13.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This group included George W. Bush

himself; advisors, aides or spokespeople for George W. Bush; cabinet members like

Tommy Thompson, director of the agency of Health and Human Services; and Karl

Rove, top political adviser.

Religious Groups

Religious groups were the next category, making up 9.1% of independent sources

quoted in The Washington Post, 38.8% in The New York Times, and 9.1% of the total

sources quoted in both papers. Members of this group included the Catholic Church,









Pope John Paul II, the Vatican, National Council of Catholic Bishops (including Richard

Doerflinger), and conservative Protestant groups.

Ethicists

The next most-frequent category was ethicists. This group made up 7.9 % of

independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 39.8% in The New York Times, and

8.8% of the total sources quoted in both papers and included R. Alta Charo, Leon Kass,

and James Childress. The category also included any other ethicists, including those

identified as sitting on advisory boards for biotechnology companies (as opposed to

including them in the pro-embryonic stem cell groups category with other biotechnology

interests.)

Republican Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Sources from the Republican pro-embryonic stem cell research category comprised

7.5% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 36.7% in The New York

Times, and 5.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This category included Arlen

Specter, Orrin Hatch, Strom Thurmond, Bill Frist, Connie Mack, John McCain, Jim

Ramstad, Nancy Johnson, and Susan Collins, as well as any state-level GOP supporters

opposed to ES cell research.

Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups

Another source category was called anti-embryonic stem cell groups, which

accounted for 6.3% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 30.6% in The

New York Times, and 6.8% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Group members

included the National Right to Life League, American Life League, and Family Research

Council organizations, as well as their officers and representatives.









Republican Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The Republican anti-embryonic stem cell research source category accounted for

7.1% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 17.3% in The New York

Times, and 5.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Sources included

Congressional members Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts, Sam

Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon, and Tom Delay. The category also included any

state-level congressional members who were mentioned in coverage.

Democratic Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Democratic pro-embryonic stem cell research sources made up 7.1% of

independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 16.3% in The New York Times, and

5.0% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This group included Tom Daschle, Tom

Harkin, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Nita Lowey, Richard Gephardt, Henry Waxman,

Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Jim McDermott, as well as any state-level Democratic

supporters.

Celebrities

Another category was celebrities, although members of this group made up only

3.1% of sources within New York Times articles and 0.4% of the total sources quoted in

both papers. "Celebrities" were not quoted in any Washington Post articles. Well-known

public figures who support ES cell research including Michael J. Fox, Nancy Reagan and

Christopher Reeve are included in this group.

Democratic Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Nisbet et al (2003) also named a Democratic anti-embryonic stem cell research

group, which they listed as including Ronnie Shows, Nick Rahall, Bart Stupak, Jim

Barcia, Dale Kildee, Christopher John, Solomon Ortiz, Mike McIntyre, David Phelps,









and Ike Skelton. However, only one Democratic opponent appeared among all articles

examined, within a single Washington Post article (0.4% of quotes within Washington

Post articles and 0.1% of quotes within all articles).

Other Sources

Several sources could not be classified into the above categories and were tallied in

an "other" category. These sources included political advisers whose stance on ES-cell

research was not articulated, any members of the Clinton administration, and literary or

historical figures like Aldous Huxley and Thomas Jefferson (the latter were mainly

quoted in editorials). These "other" sources totaled 5.5% of independent sources quoted

in The Washington Post, 25.5% in The New York Times, and 5.8% of the overall sources

in both papers.

Definition and Characterization of Stem Cell Research

The researcher also was interested in how stem cell research was defined and

explained, including how the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research were

characterized. The researcher believes that if people are to understand the central issues

of the debate, then they must have at least a basic appreciation for the technology and

terminology.

Specifically, the researcher looked first at whether each article attempted to define

stem cell research in any way. For example, some articles gave a basic explanation like

"stem cells are the basic building blocks of the body" with no further explanation

anywhere in the article. Other articles gave a more technical, in-depth descriptions that

included details on the sources of stem cells, how they are isolated and grown, and their

potential usefulness. For example:









hematopoietic stem cells are the source in the bone marrow from which a constant
stream of red and white blood cells is produced throughout a person's life. Like
embryonic stem cells, they can renew themselves indefinitely, but their potential is
restricted to making just the cells of the blood system (Wade 2001a).

Just over half (50.7%) of the articles in The Washington Post gave a basic

definition of stem cell research, 11% percent gave an in-depth definition, and 38.0%

offered no definition at all. In The New York Times, 37.8% of the articles gave a basic

definition, 22.4% percent gave an in-depth definition, and 40.0% offered no definition at

all.

Table 4. Definition and characterization of stem cell research
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles,
n=73 (%) n=98 (%) n=171 (%)
Basic 37 (50.7) 37 (37.8) 74 (43.2)
In-depth 8(11.0) 22 (22.4) 30 (17.5)
None 28 (38.0) 39 (40.0) 67 (39.2)


On a secondary level, the researcher looked at whether the articles highlighted any

of the ethical/moral implications of stem cell research. More specifically, the researcher

looked at whether the article touched on two key points: (1) that embryos must be

"destroyed," "sacrificed," or "killed" in order to extract embryonic stem cells; and (2)

that in vitro fertility treatments are result in "discarded," "excess," or "spare" embryos

that are "not needed," "in excess of clinical need," or "would otherwise be thrown away."

A majority of articles in both papers highlighted the ethical implications, with The

Washington Post ringing in at 68.5% and The New York Times at 66.3%. Specifically,

71.2% of Washington Post articles and 67.3% of New York Times articles mentioned

embryo destruction, while 60.2% of Washington Post articles and 55.1% of New York

Times articles referred to surplus IVF embryos.









Table 5. Ethical/moral implications
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles,
n=73 (%) n=98 (%) n=171 (%)
Overall implications 50(68.49) 65(66.3) 115 (67.3)
Embryo destruction 52(71.2) 66(67.3) 118 (69.0)
IVF surplus embryos 44 (60.2) 54 (55.1) 99 (57.9)


Finally, on a tertiary level, the researcher looked at whether articles made specific

reference to "adult" or "embryonic" stem cells (as opposed to simply using the generic

term "stem cells") and whether articles made a direct comparison of these two main cell

types, detailing their respective uses, strengths and weaknesses. Secretary of Health and

Human Services Tommy Thompson was quoted in one Washington Post article about this

issue: "There has never been the research done comparing adult [umbilical] cord blood

and embryonic stem cells to determine what are the qualities, what are the abilities of

these stem cells" (Weiss 2001c). Other articles made explicit comparisons: "While

considered inferior by many scientists, adults [sic] cells may turn out to be as useful as

those obtained from embryos without posing the problem of having to destroy embryos to

get them, [ethicists] argued" (Connolly 2001a).

The most detailed delineation between adult and embryonic stem cells came from a

New York Times reporter who crafted a 3,555-word piece titled "Teaching the body to

heal itself; Work on cells' signals fosters talk of a new medicine."

Embryonic stem cells are created in the very early embryo; from them, all the
bodies' tissues and organs are generated. Once the body is formed, the embryonic
stem cells disappear, leaving behind a few descendants to keep the body in good
repair through its lifetime. These descendants, often called adult stem cells,
apparently lack the embryonic stem cell's power of generating any and all of the
body's tissues. Nor can they renew themselves indefinitely, as can embryonic stem
cells grown in glassware (Wade 2000).









In all, 35.6% of Washington Post articles mentioned used the term "adult stem

cells," 72.6% used the term "embryonic stem cells," and 28.8% made a direct comparison

between the two. The numbers were similar among New York Times articles with 34.7%

using the term "adult stem cells," 81.6% using the term "embryonic stem cells," and

24.5% comparing the two.

Table 6. Adult versus embryonic stem cell research
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles,
n=73 (%) n=98 (%) n=171 (%)
Adult stem cells 26(35.6) 34(34.7) 60(35.1)
Embryonic stem 53 (72.6) 80 (81.6) 133 (77.8)
cells
Adult vs. 21(28.8) 24 (24.5) 45 (26.3)
embryonic stem
cells


Cloning

The researcher wanted to know how frequently "cloning" was cited. The researcher

felt it was important to examine whether articles this issue since the use of the term

"cloning" can cause confusion among some readers, who may not realize the differences

inherent between "reproductive cloning" and "therapeutic cloning." Just under a quarter

of the articles mentioned cloning (21.9% of Washington Post articles, 24.5% of New York

Times articles, and 23.4% of all articles).

Table 7. References to human cloning
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles,
n=73 (%) n=98 (%) n=171 (%)
16 (21.9) 24 (21.9) 40 (23.4)


Some articles cited specific concern over "reproductive cloning," i.e. creating exact

replicas of existing humans, noting that the majority of scientists oppose such technology.

Other articles featured concerns, but in a more general sense. For example, one New York









Times editorial opposed "cloning" because it "threatens to destroy what is genuinely

unique about each human being" (Wolfe 2001). Some reporters also quoted Bush as

being opposed to "cloning" in its generic sense, while others clarified that this meant

Bush opposed "human cloning for any purpose, including research, and he urged

researchers to explore the potential of stem cells derived from adults" (Wolfe 2001;

Goldstein 2001).

Additional articles took great care to explain the differences between

"reproductive" and "therapeutic" cloning. For example, therapeutic cloning is when "an

embryo would be created from a patient's cells to make life-saving tissue" (McNeil

2001). Some went into even further detail on therapeutic cloning:

The purpose of such cloning is not to create a baby but to use a patient's own cells
to create embryos from which stem cells can be obtained. Such cells would grow
into tissue matching that of the patient, so the patient's immune system would not
reject transplants (Pollack 2001).

United States versus Other Nations

Finally, the researcher wanted to know how frequently articles mentioned stances taken

by other nations or alluded to the threat of the United States being left behind. The

researcher felt it was important to look for discussion of a possible "brain drain," because

such an event could mean that the United States would fall behind other nations and lose

its hard-earned reputation as a scientific bellwether. In total, 8.2% of Washington Post

articles, 11.2% of New York Times articles and 9.9% of all articles from both papers

touched on this point. The majority of articles that gave at least a cursory description of

international stem cell policies did so at or near the end of articles.









Table 8. References to other nations
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Total articles,
n=73 (%) n=98 (%) n=171 (%)
6 (8.2) 11 (11.2) 17 (9.9)


Certain articles merely noted what was going on in other nations, allowing readers

to draw their own conclusions as to what this might mean for the United States:

Among nations, only Britain has set up a legal mechanism that allows the creation
of new embryos for research, with strict rules governing the kinds of experiments
that are eligible. To date, none have been used to create stem cells (Weiss 2001b).

Other articles commented that "Sweden's political climate is benign" for stem cell

research and that India has "no religious, cultural, political or social barriers to this

research."

Some editorials lauded stances taken by other nations. For example, Jim Clark,

founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon (now WebMD) and myCFO, penned a

New York Times editorial presenting his reasons for withholding the remaining $60

million of his outstanding $150 million pledge to Stanford University to create a center

for biomedical engineering and science at Stanford. He noted that the United Kingdom

has chosen to regulate nonreproductive cloning, a move which he deemed "more

rational" than the United States' policy to ban it outright (Clark 2001).

Still other articles cited that the United States' policy may put it at a disadvantage.

For example, one of America's top stem cell researchers, Roger Pedersen, was fleeing to

England in order to escape an "unfriendly climate" in the United States and to "maximize

[his] potential." One news article's lead reiterated this point:

An unexpected new order of powers has emerged, at least in the field of human
embryonic stem cell research. The roster, say scientists who back the research, is
evidence of the inventiveness of the newcomers but also shows how much the usual









powerhouses of biomedical research in the United States and Europe have been
held back by political and ethical debate (Wade 2001b).

However, this article also includes the caveat that some nations aren't maximizing

their potential either. For example, "British biologists developed the technique for

growing embryonic stem cells from mouse embryos, the underpinning of the methods

that other have used with human cells," but they have yet to derive human embryonic

stem cells.

One Washington Post article offered the most in-depth look at the international

ramifications. The headline proclaimed "India plans to fill void in stem cell research;

Scientists say restrictions in U.S. may give them advantage in development" (Lakshmi

2001). The author elaborated, stating that India had not established policies governing

stem cell research, which left the door wide open for interested researchers. The author

quoted one source saying that Bush's announcement of the limited U.S. policy "opened

'a new pot of gold' for India science and business." The author cited that public debate in

India had been minimal, in part because "most Indians are not aware of the research or its

controversial nature" but also because of the nation's differing values; "Our society is

liberal in areas of scientific work. We will not face any opposition," said one Indian

biologist.

The author closed the article with the caveat that although India allows scientists

greater latitude, the nation is not likely to surpass other leading scientific nations; "The

work here is still in its infancy" and "futuristic experiments.., are a low priority in a

country in which millions of people have no access to basic health care," the author

wrote. The author of a Washington Post editorial also reassured that despite the positions






56


of other nations, the United States does not risk being left behind: "If the United States

doesn't lead, the rest of the world is not going to do much either" (Cohen 2001b).














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads the newspaper on a regular basis

that the issue of stem cell research has been and continues to be a pivotal and hotly

contested topic. The technology's touted promise means that it could shift the way we

treat disease, moving us into an era of "regenerative medicine." Of course, we also know

that not everyone endorses this new technology. The way in which the elite media have

covered the debate can give us an interesting glimpse into the evolution of this pressing

public policy issue.

Frame Analysis

Frame use shifted over time. In many earlier articles, journalists utilized the

"promise" frame, likely as a direct result of the newly available federal funds for stem

cell research. Journalists then shifted to using the "battle/debate" and "uncertainty" as a

conservative, pro-life Republican president prepared to take office. Journalists

highlighted Bush's extended debate over whether or not to allow federal funding, which

equated to prolonged reliance of the "battle/debate" and "uncertainty" frames. It was at

this point that coverage began to use the "playing God" frame, as opponents of ES cell

research voiced their opposition of ES cell research funding. Newspaper coverage

following Bush's decision was also dominated by the "uncertainty" frame. In numerous

articles, writers debated whether Bush's allowances would be enough. Concerns were

mentioned about whether adult stem cells held the same promise as ES cells. Others









writers questioned if the 64 existing cell lines eligible for federal funding would prove

viable and readily available to scientists.

Use of "Uncertainty" and "Battle/Debate"

As described in the results section, authors favored "uncertainty" as a primary

frame, evidenced by the fact that this frame appeared most frequently (40.4% of all

articles.) Journalists relied most heavily on the "uncertainty" frame in hard news

coverage (43.3% of all news stories), indicating that stem cell research can be seen as an

emergent science. Susanna Hornig Priest described emergent science as "science whose

truth has not yet been settled by consensus, either scientific or public" (Priest 1999, p.

97). She stated that emergent science is almost always dubbed newsworthy. The repeated

appearance of stem cell research on the front pages certainly confirms this.

As was mentioned in the results section, the "uncertainty" frame evolved over time.

In later coverage, journalists included quotes from pro-ES cell groups that questioned

whether Bush's policy would allow scientists enough leeway. The quotes expressed

doubt over whether the 60-odd cell lines that Bush approved would provide scientists

enough latitude. Perhaps journalists opted for those quotes because they were hearing

many voices argue that "sufficient" is not the same as "excellent." After all, is

"sufficient" performance enough to truly succeed in a cutting-edge field? In this country,

we strive for superlative, not average, performance, both in our independent lives and at a

national level. The latter is especially true when it comes to science and technology. A

glance back at the "space race" reminds us of this.

The "uncertainty" frame related closely to the "battle/debate" frame, which was the

second most prevalent frame and accounted for 32.2% of all articles. As is the case in

many battles, it was unclear which side might emerge victorious in the stem cell debate.









Ultimately, journalists portrayed Bush as choosing a middle ground where the warring

parties could meet. It could be said that Bush's compassionate conservatism had morphed

into a new breed, that of calculated conservatism. Coverage reflected that Bush's

announcement to supply federal funds for limited embryonic stem cell research quelled

the debate temporarily as both sides sought to understand what Bush's policy would

mean for their cause. However in the long run, coverage focused on the fact that Bush's

policy only intensified the uncertainty and renewed the battle. Journalists featured

stakeholders on both sides who continued to push for revised policies and thus prolonged

the debate.

It is perhaps not surprising that journalists writing about stem cell research tended

to rely most heavily on frames of "uncertainty" and "battle/debate." Indeed, studies show

that the rate of scientific uncertainty in the media is increasing (Friedman, Dunwoody,

and Rogers 1999). Friedman has argued that experts on each side of an issue introduce

elements of uncertainty in an effort to sway public opinion. However rather than skirt

murky issues, the Association for Health Care Journalists' code of ethics urges science

writers to "clearly define and communicate areas of doubt and uncertainty." This seems

the best tact when covering stem cell research, since the subtle nuances must be

understood fully before one can form a truly educated opinion on the issue.

It is likely that the writers of the various articles wanted to show readers that two

distinct sides of the issue existed. So often, we hear that media writers are taught to write

"fair and balanced" coverage. By citing ideologies on both sides of the stem cell debate,

writers fulfilled this media ideal, at least to a certain extent. While it is important that the

media provide balanced, accurate and complete information on a subject, declaring









support or opposition for complex issues can help clarify ongoing debate and bring

potential resolution. Hertog and McLeod (2001) refer to this as the resolution phase.

However, it should be noted that although articles featured both sides of the debate,

coverage was by no means equal; certain themes and voices appeared repeatedly. For

example, one voice that seemed to appear more frequently than all other conservative

sources was that of Richard Doerflinger. Like other religious leaders, he clamored that

we should not move forward with this technology since we cannot be certain we are not

destroying nascent human lives. This is not the first time this tact has been used in public

debate. Many of the central arguments that conservatives were quoted using in this debate

hearken to those used to protest abortion. Hertog and McLeod (2001) suggest that frames

are often recycled from one media topic to another. Indeed, "controversies over science

and technology persist, and the same issues keep reoccurring in changing forms" (Nelkin

1995).

On a basic level, journalistic coverage suggests that many conservatives view stem

cell research as a "pro-life" issue. However, certain otherwise "pro-life" conservatives

have come out in support of embryonic stem cell research and have been featured

prominently in the media. In fact, journalists quoted these sources as saying that

supporting embryonic stem cell research is indeed in-line with "pro-life" fundamentals,

as the technology could ultimately result in disease therapies benefiting millions of

Americans. The idea that one could sit on either side of the fence on the stem cell issue

and still be "pro-life" is perhaps not as surprising as it may sound. In fact, it can be a

useful tool in public debate: "social groups may exhibit different ideologies and yet apply

the same frame to a particular topic (Hertog and McLeod 2001, p. 144).









Overwhelmingly, though, the elite media's coverage of stem cell research tended to be

positive. Staff writers took care to highlight both sides of the debate, although they

tended to feature sources in favor of embryonic stem cell research more frequently than

those who opposed it. Journalists might touch on the controversies over stem cell

research, but the language they used tended to play up the promise more than the

potential pitfalls. It is difficult to say whether this pattern can be seen as "good" or "bad."

In some ways, journalists' proclivity to play up the positive could be seen as critical to

advancing public discussion of the issue and resulting policy.

Use of Other Frames

Authors used a number of other frames, including the "playing God" and "promise"

frames, both of which included quotations from polar sources. In "playing God" stories,

writers favored conservative sources such as the Catholic Church and abortion rights

opponents while in "promise" stories, writers quoted more liberal sources such as

academics and patient advocacy groups. As was mentioned in the results section,

journalists using the "promise" frame often relied on personal testimonials, which may

help build rapport with readers since just about everyone has a family member or friend

who might benefit from the potential therapies expected to emerge from in stem cell

research. Writers using the "promise" frame tended to discuss the arguments behind

when life begins, whereas those using the "playing God" frame often skirted the issue

and simply maintained that all life, no matter how microscopic, was sacred. It is possible

that writers using the "promise" frame were attempting to downplay the moral elements

of the technology by dealing head on with the issue of when life truly begins: if the

controversy could be abated then perhaps support for the issue would intensify.









Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders in support of embryonic stem cell research were quoted by

journalists with greater frequency than stakeholders who oppose embryonic stem cell

research (82 anti-ES sources vs. 208 pro-ES sources among 171 total articles). This may,

in part, be due to the fact that public opinion research polls showed that a majority of

Americans actually supported stem cell research. The media articles may simply have

been reflecting the dominant opinion on the topic.

Scientists and science policy analysts made up a large chunk of all sources quoted

by writers (132 science sources among 171 total articles). This is perhaps not surprising.

Firstly, stem cell research is an "emergent science," as described by Priest. This means

that a majority of the American public does not understand the subtle nuances of the

technology or terminology. Thus, it behooves reporters to rely on scientific sources to

help fill in the blanks and explain the burgeoning new field to novice readers. Secondly,

the literature shows that journalists tend to favor "elite" sources like scientists when

crafting stories.

Journalists relied on certain other stakeholders repeatedly throughout coverage. For
example, Richard Doerflinger of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops was
quoted a number of times, perhaps because his group has been very vocal in its
opposition to embryonic stem cell research. In fact, the Catholic Church was cited
more frequently than any other religious group in its opposition to embryonic stem
cell research. Also cited frequently were Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch and Strom
Thurmond. These otherwise-conservative Republicans were lobbying in support of
embryonic stem cell research, an apparent affront to party lines. This multi-layered
controversy made them attractive sources for journalists.
Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells

Oftentimes, journalists used the generic term "stem cell research" in news articles,

which can be seen as exceedingly problematic. This umbrella term does not give the

reader critical contextual information about the source of the stem cells. Stakeholders on









both sides of the stem cell issue have been frustrated by the media's use of this all-

inclusive term. Many conservative groups, for example, support adult stem cell research

but oppose embryonic stem cell research. Does this mean they are for "stem cell"

research or against it? It all depends on what kind of stem cell research one is talking

about. Meanwhile, pro-research groups often believe that one must be pro-ES cell

research in order to be considered in favor of "stem cell" research.

No apparent difference existed between how each newspaper delineated adult

stem cell research from embryonic stem cell research. It is somewhat surprising that the

delineation rate was so low. As described in the background section, large differences

exist between embryonic and adult stem cells, namely in source and potential for

research. This lack of delineation could lead to greater confusion of the issues among

readers.

Cloning and Stem Cell Research

The Washington Post referenced human cloning in 21.9% of its articles (16 of 73

articles) while The New York Times referenced it in 24.5% of its articles (24 of 98

articles). In most articles that cited human cloning, journalists made a brief attempt to

differentiate it from stem cell research. However, this could have been done in a much

more exacting manner in a greater number of articles. By specifying that stem cell

research and human cloning are entirely separate, journalists could have staved off some

of the controversy over stem cell research funding. For example, many supporters of stem

cell research argue that the process of creating stem cells (sometimes known as

therapeutic cloning) is not the same thing as creating human beings (also known as

reproductive cloning). However, if no clear distinction between these technologies is









made, readers may assume that all stem cell research means that scientists are acting out

science-fiction fantasies and reproducing human beings.

United States-Global Leader or Lagging Behind?

Writers for The Washington Post referenced other nations in 8.2% of articles (6 of

73 articles) while New York Times writers referenced them in 11.22% of articles (11 of 98

articles). Overall, it did not seem that writers from either paper were overly concerned

with how the efforts in the United States might stack up to those of other countries. This

is somewhat disturbing, for a number of reasons:

"Other countries around the world will pay a great deal of attention to what the
United States does in its domestic law. If an international consensus on the
regulation of certain biotechnologies is ever to take shape, it is unlikely to come
about in the absence of American action at the domestic level" (Fukuyama 2002,
p.11).

So by not acting decisively, the United States may slow scientific progress across

the globe. Of course, other outcomes are possible. For many years, the United States has

prided itself on being at the cutting edge of scientific research. Some supporters of stem

cell research fear that if our policies lag behind those of other nations then the United

States will simple get left behind as other nations forge ahead.

Along these lines, some scientists and analysts fear that a conservative stem cell

research policy could lead to a "brain drain," where talented stem cell researchers would

leave the United States for foreign shores where they could conduct their researcher

unfettered by restrictive policies.

Conclusions

Although this study may appear dated to some readers (the dataset stretches back

nearly five years), it is anything but old news. At the time this analysis was completed

(Summer 2005), stem cell research continued to be a dominant topic in the current news.









The initial debates over stem cell research and Bush's policy were truncated by the events

of September 11th. Rightfully so, the nation found it had more important issues to

consider than federal policies governing the funding of embryonic stem cell research.

However given time, the media agenda has evolved to again include stem cell research as

a prominent feature.

Overall, the topic of stem cell research framing in the elite newspapers carries great

importance. As mentioned earlier, stem cell research has the potential to transform the

medical field entirely. Despite the previously discussed ethical risks surrounding the

advance of stem cell research, it is equally important to consider what will occur if we do

no move forward in this area. This idea has been echoed by Chris MacDonald, an ethicist

at Dalhousie University, who said, "In the field of biotechnology, nothing short of

inaction can guarantee that we won't make decisions that end up seeming, in retrospect,

to have been mistakes" (MacDonald 2001). Overbearing policy will greatly hinder

scientific progress, preventing therapies and cures for a vast array of medical conditions

and diseases from ever being realized. In the meantime, scientists in other countries will

be hard at work making these specific discoveries.

In her 2002 study of stem cell policies in the U.S., United Kingdom, France and

Canada, Zimmerman found this:

"The United States is in the curious position of having been in the forefront of
human embryonic stem cell research, yet now having the most restrictive
regulatory regime of the four countries surveyed" (Zimmerman 2002, p. 78).

At first blush, this seems benign. The discoveries can always be applied within the

U.S. However, it likely would take longer for potential therapies to be implemented;

therapies developed outside the U.S. often trigger greater skepticism and a longer review









process by the FDA. In all, it is important to study the specific framing of this issue as it

has the power to influence the subsequent public policy decisions made in this country.

The bottom line is that the uncertainty surrounding stem cell research has made it

challenging to establish lasting policies. The trouble is that science progresses at a rate far

faster than the policies that should guide it. In the words of Bertrand Russell, "The central

problem of our age is how to act decisively in the absence of certainty." Perhaps the

media, by conveying the central elements of the debate, can help to resolve this

promising but controversial issue.

Limitations and Future Research

This study attempted a comprehensive look at how elite papers have framed stem

cell research. However, the study was not without its limitations. While the study looked

in-depth at what key terms were used and what sources were quotes, it did not consider

the placement of these various attributes within the story. For example, journalism

schools teach journalists to follow the inverted pyramid format, placing the most critical

elements of a story near the top and the less important elements later on. Thus, a source

quoted in the first three paragraphs would carry more weight than a quote buried at the

end. In relation to sources, the study looked only at sources given direct quotes within

articles. A complete picture would include an examination of paraphrased quotes, as well

as shareholder groups that were mentioned but not quoted. Therefore, future studies

might seek to identify which sources were paraphrased versus directly quoted, as well as

the placement of key attributes within individual stories.

Another limitation revolved around the examination of "cloning" in coverage. If a

story mentioned cloning in any way, the researcher noted this. However, the researcher

did not delineate between quotes from conservatives afraid of potential "baby factories"









and supporters who lobbied for therapeutic cloning. Future studies would do better to

establish clearer measurement tools for this question.

Another limitation of this study was that it merely took a snapshot of existing

coverage and lacked the ability to confirm any possible effects of this coverage. A reader-

effects study would be useful here. Subjects could be asked to read various articles

featuring stem cell research, completing pre- and post-test analyses that would gauge

their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on selected stem-cell issues.

The details of this study aside, the topic no doubt lends itself to further exploration.

Examining articles of 100 to 500 words could be insightful since many Americans tend to

get their news from shorter stories. However, these same stories would offer less space

for detailing this complex issue. It would be interesting to see if authors were able to

distill critical elements into a succinct synopsis. It also might be useful to study the

framing of elite newspapers in other regions of the U.S. (Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.),

rather than just the East Coast. Because the papers examined in this study tended to frame

the topic in a more progressive and liberal manner, a study of newspapers in more

traditionally conservative climates like the Midwest and the South could yield different

results. And finally, in countries such as England and Sweden, the governments already

have tackled the thorny issues surrounding stem cell research and have introduced

regulatory measures and legislation. An alternate perspective could be achieved by

studying elite newspapers in other countries.















APPENDIX A
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET

1. Newspaper:
2. Date:
3. Day:
4. Headline:
5. Author's name and affiliation:
Staff Guest/Freelance Wire Syndicate
6. Part of series? (0) No (1) Yes
7. Word count:
8. Section and page:
9. Geographic level: Local State National Int'l.
10. Type of item: News Feature Opinion Other
11. Graphic elementss? List caption and/or description:
12. Lead
13. Main topic of story:
14. Secondary topic(s):
15. Key terms) used in the article:
16. Sources used in story for direct quotation(s):



0= "
CA CA __

17. Does the article define stem cell research at all?: (0) No (1) Yes
18. If yes was selected in the previous question, was the research defined (1) on a basic
level; or (2) on a more detailed level?
19. Does the article outline potential implications (e.g. moral or ethical)?: (0) No (1) Yes
20. Does the article mention the destruction of embryos in any way?: (0) No (1) Yes









21. Does the article mention discarded or excess embryos from in vitro fertility
treatments?: (0) No (1) Yes
22. Does the article refer to the potential of stem cell research to yield treatment for
specific diseasess? (0) No (1) Yes
If yes, list which ones:
23. Does the article use the term "human cloning" or allude to this procedure? (0) No
(1) Yes
24. Does the article use the term "adult stem cells" or "stem cells derived from adult
cells"? (0) No (1) Yes
25. Does the article use the term "embryonic stem cells" or "stem cells derived from
human embryos"? (0) No (1) Yes
26. Does the article delineate between embryonic and adult stem cells research? (0) No
(1) Yes
27. Does the article mention stances taken by other nations and/or mention the threat that
the U.S. may be left behind? (0) No (1) Yes


Frame analysis
Primary frame:
Secondary frame(s):














APPENDIX B
INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET

1. Record the name of the newspaper. You may use the abbreviations NYT for The
New York Times and WP for The Washington Post.

2. List the date of the article in standard format: MM/DD/YYYY.

3. List the day of the week on which the article ran using the following abbreviations:
Sunday (U); Monday (M); Tuesday (T); Wednesday (W); Thursday (R); Friday (F);
and Saturday (A).

4. List the headline, exactly as it appears. Be sure to include any unique capitalization
or punctuation.

5. List the author's name, as listed in the byline. Identify the author's affiliation (staff,
guest/freelance, wire, or syndicate). If no affiliation is listed, assume that the writer
is a staff writer.

6. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes to indicate whether this article was part of a series. If yes,
then indicate which part of the series and then list the series editor's name.

7. List the word count, if available.

8. List the section and page number where the article ran. List the section letter (i.e.
A, B, C, etc.) and/or the section name (Financial, World, etc.), depending on what
is available. Examples: A-1; Financial-1.

9. Circle whether this was a local, state, national or international piece. The scope
should be determined by looking at the main focus of the piece, as well as the
sources quoted within the piece. A local piece will include sources primarily from
the local area (mayor, citizens, etc.) and will emphasize the effect of the story at the
city or county level. A state piece may include quotes from the governor, members
of the state house or senate, or other state-level officials. Both national and
international pieces will likely include quotes from the president and/or his cabinet,
as well as members of the House and Senate. International pieces will likely
include sources from other countries (e.g. scientists) or may simply discuss the
implications of stem cell research on an international level.

10. Circle whether this was a news, feature, opinion, or other type of piece.









11. Note graphic elements using the following abbreviations: (0) none; (1) photograph;
(2) graph; (3) illustration; (4) pull quote; or (5) other (explain). List caption and/or
describe.

12. Often, the lead is the first paragraph, although it can be "delayed" and appear later
as a "nut graph" within the first several paragraphs. Just record the paragraph that
best captures the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story.

13. After reading the entire story, identify the main topic of story. Examples include a
new scientific discovery or a discussion of possible public policy decisions.

14. Identify secondary topic(s), if applicable. For example, articles with a main topic of
scientific discovery may have economic impact as a secondary topic.

15. Identify key terms that are used in the article. Look for words that connote any
additional meaning or are emotionally charged. For example, the words
blastocystt" and "embryo" can both describe the same life stage but carry very
different connotations. Along with blastocystt," note any other scientific terms like
"hematopoetic." Along with "embryo," note any other charged words like "pro-
life" or "anti-life." Other key terms might include the predicted outcomes of the
technology, i.e. the "promise" or "peril" of stem cell research.

16. Identify the number of unique sources used in direct quotations using the following
allegiance, which are drawn from Nisbet et al 2003:

* GOP Opponents Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts, Sam
Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon, Tom Delay, and other GOP members. May
also include state-level as opposed to national-level senators or representatives.

* GOP supporters Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch, Strom Thurmond, Bill Frist,
Connie Mack, John McCain, Jim Ramstad, Nancy Johnson, Susan Collins and
other GOP supporters. May also include state-level as opposed to national-level
senators or representatives.

* Democratic opponents Ronnie Shows, Nick Rahall, Bart Stupak, Jim Barcia,
Dale Kildee, Christopher John, Solomon Ortiz, Mike McIntyre, David Phelps, or
Ike Skelton. May also include state-level as opposed to national-level senators or
representatives.

* Democratic supporters Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy,
Nita Lowey, Richard Gephardt, Henry Waxman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jim
McDermott and other Democratic supporters. May also include state-level as
opposed to national-level senators or representatives.

* President and his cabinet George W. Bush himself; advisors, aides or
spokespeople for George W. Bush; cabinet members like Tommy Thompson,









director of the agency of Health and Human Services; and Karl Rove, top political
adviser.

* Pro-embryonic stem cell research groups or individuals Groups who stand to
profit, either financially or through potential medical cures. This category includes
the Coalition to Advance Medical Research, Biotechnology Industry Organization,
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (including managing director Carl
Gulbrandsen), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Parkinson's Foundation,
biotechnology companies (like Geron) or their officers, and financial analysts who
favor embryonicstem cell research.

* Celebrities Well-known public figures who support ES cell research including
Michael J. Fox, Nancy Reagan and Christopher Reeve.

* Scientists and analysts James Thomson and other scientists. Also includes
administrators and science policy analysts who are affiliated with universities,
hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institutes of Health or
the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists should be included regardless of
whether they hold an M.D. or Ph.D. or whether they work in academia or for the
National Institutes of Health.

* Religious groups Catholic Church, Pope, Vatican, National Council of Catholic
Bishops (including Richard Doerflinger), and conservative Protestant groups.

* Anti-embryonic stem cell research groups National Right to Life League,
American Life League, or Family Research Council.

* Ethicists R. Alta Charo, Leon Kass, James Childress, or other bioethicists. Any
ethicists who sit on advisory boards for biotechnology companies should be
counted in this category, as opposed to being counted inthe pro-embryonic stem
cell category.

* Other Political advisers whose stance on ES-cell research is not articulated.
Members of the Clinton administration. Also may include literary or historical
figures like Aldous Huxley, Thomas Jefferson, or figures from history or works of
literature.

Simply put a hatch mark for each new source that is introduced. For example, if
Tommy Thompson, director of Health and Human Services, is quoted more than
once in an article (either directly quoted or paraphrased), include only one hatch
mark in the "Bush administration" box.

If multiple sources of equal rank are quoted directly, give each source a hatch mark.
For example, if Senators Strom Thurmond, Connie Mack and Arlen Specter are all
quoted within the same article, place three hatch marks in the box where marked
"Republican pro-ES cell research."









Any statement attributed to a person or group and nestled between quotation marks
should be counted as a direct quote regardless of length. For example, direct quotes
limited to brief phrases of two to five words still should be considered direct
quotes.

17. List whether the article defines stem cell research in any way. The article may use
technical language and take a paragraph or more to explain the technology, or the
article may include just a short, lay-language definition that is one sentence or less.
In either of these scenarios, circle (1) Yes.

18. If the answer to the previous question was yes, then categorize the definition of
stem cell research. If the explanation was brief and on a basic level, circle (1)
Basic. For example, if the article states that "stem cells are the basic building
blocks of the body" and gives no further explanation, circle (1) Basic. If the article
offers a more detailed, in-depth description of how stem cells are harvested, cloned,
grown, etc. then circle (2) Detailed. For example:

hematopoietic stem cells are the source in the bone marrow from which a constant
stream of red and white blood cells is produced throughout a person's life. Like
embryonic stem cells, they can renew themselves indefinitely, but their potential is
restricted to making just the cells of the blood system (Wade 2001).

19. Determine whether the article outlines the ethical or moral implications in any way
(use the following two questions to help you make this determination). Circle (0)
No or (1) Yes.

20. Note whether the article mentions that embryos must be destroyed in order to
extract embryonic stem cells. Other terminology may include: sacrificing, killing,
or taking a human life. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.

21. Note whether the article mentions that embryos leftover from in vitro fertility
treatments are often discarded. Other terminology may refer to these embryos in a
number of ways: excess, surplus, spare, not needed, in excess of clinical need, or
would otherwise be thrown away. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.

22. Indicate whether the article refers to the potential of stem cell research to yield
treatment for specific diseasess. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. If yes, then indicate
which diseases.

23. Does the article mention "human cloning" or allude to this procedure? (0) No (1)
Yes

24. Does the article use the term "adult stem cells" or "stem cells derived from adult
cells"? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.

25. Does the article use the term "embryonic stem cells" or "stem cells derived from
human embryos"? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.









26. Indicate whether the article delineates between embryonic and adult stem cell
research in any way. For example, does it clarify how the cells differ in origin or in
application? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.

27. Indicate whether the article mentions policy or stances on stem cell research taken
by other nations and/or the threat that the U.S. may be left behind. Circle (0) No or
(1) Yes.


Frame Analysis:
After reading through the article, determine what primary frame was used. Often this can
be reduced to a short catch-phrase (e.g., horse race) although you may use longer phrases
or descriptive words if necessary.

In order to determine the frame used, you will need to take into account the main topic of
the story and key terminology. Also consider which sources are quoted and where in the
story the sources are featured. Some stories may feature a secondary frame. If so, please
record this.















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

As a young girl I spent countless hours exploring science: catching crayfish in the

creek near my house, questioning why orb spiders weave patterns into their webs, and

chasing lightning bugs on warm summer nights. I have always been fascinated with what

makes life tick -- the howss" and "whys" behind the smallest things.

This curiosity led me to a number of different pursuits. I majored in biology at

Smith College in Northampton, Mass. I worked in genetic research at the University of

Colorado at Boulder and at the University of Florida. Over the years, I realized that my

gift is not in doing science, but in learning about science and sharing its wonders with

others. I revel in the challenge of taking highly technical, complex scientific information

and presenting it in a way that people like my grandparents will actually understand. I

enjoy removing the jargon and mumbo-jumbo to show people the real "wow" of science.

This passion led me to pursue a master's degree in science/health communication. I

now stand at a new crossroads, unsure of where things might lead. No doubt, I wish to

continue along the same veins, sharing science with those who might not otherwise taste

its richness. However, I am undecided about which direction to pursue. I am confident

that my educational and life experiences, along with the loving support of my friends and

family, will help lead me to the next stage of my career.




Full Text

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PROMISE OR PERIL: HOW ELITE NEWSPAPERS FRAME STEM CELL RESEARCH By KIMBERLY RICE TAYLOR A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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For Joan, a strong and beautiful woman who has always loved me, believed in me, and encouraged me to shoot for the st ars. Thanks for everything, Mom.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my chair, Debbie Treise, for recruiting me to this wonderful program. Who knew Id ever find a graduate program that could combine my disparate interests? She pushed me to make the most of the program and helped me to accomplish more than I thought was possible. She has been a phenomenal advocate and a pillar of strength, even when I stumbled. I thank Mike Weigold, for leading vibrant and engaging discussions in our public policy class. He challenged me to push past my existing assumptions on complex issues. I have never met anyone else so adept at playing devils advocate. I thank Robyn Goodman for her understanding, encouragement, and fabulous deadpan humor. In a stressful time like graduate school, the power of laughter cannot be underestimated. I also acknowledge that I couldnt have done this without my family. My sister and my mother, despite the fact that they are each thousands of miles away, have been amazing sources of strength for me. I thank them for their continued love and support. And finally, to my grandparents may they see the benefits of this promising technology within their lifetimes. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................6 Stem Cell Research.......................................................................................................6 Foundations and Terminology...............................................................................6 Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells.........................................................................7 Sources of Multipotent Stem Cells........................................................................8 Ethical Debate over Stem Cells.............................................................................8 Stakeholders in the Stem Cell Debate........................................................................10 Key Events in Stem Cell Research and Policy...........................................................13 Initial Policies on Stem Cell Research................................................................13 Election 2000 and Stem Cell Research...............................................................14 Election 2004 and Stem Cell Research...............................................................15 Stem Cell Research Abroad.................................................................................17 State Legislation..................................................................................................17 Tainted Cell Lines...............................................................................................18 Science and the Public................................................................................................19 Scientific Literacy...............................................................................................19 Public Perception of Science...............................................................................20 Science and the Media................................................................................................21 Media Coverage of Science Issues......................................................................21 Media Coverage of Biotechnology Issues...........................................................23 Framing.......................................................................................................................25 Framing Overview...............................................................................................25 Sources................................................................................................................28 Research Questions.....................................................................................................30 iv

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3 METHODS.................................................................................................................31 Mixed Methods...........................................................................................................31 Methodology...............................................................................................................32 Newspapers..........................................................................................................33 Time Frame.........................................................................................................33 Article Selection..................................................................................................34 Data Collection and Analysis..............................................................................35 Validity and Reliability.......................................................................................36 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................37 Frames Used...............................................................................................................37 The Uncertainty Frame....................................................................................38 The Battle/Debate Frame.................................................................................40 The Promise Frame..........................................................................................41 The Playing God Frame...................................................................................43 The Excess Embryos Frame.............................................................................44 The Economic Frame.......................................................................................44 Sources Quoted...........................................................................................................44 Scientists, Administrators and Science Policy Analysts.....................................45 Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups.......................................................................46 Bush Administration............................................................................................46 Religious Groups.................................................................................................46 Ethicists...............................................................................................................47 Republican Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research.................................................47 Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups.....................................................................47 Republican Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research...............................................48 Democratic Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research................................................48 Celebrities............................................................................................................48 Democratic Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research...............................................48 Other Sources......................................................................................................49 Definition and Characterization of Stem Cell Research.............................................49 Cloning.......................................................................................................................52 United States versus Other Nations............................................................................53 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION........................................................................57 Frame Analysis...........................................................................................................57 Use of Uncertainty and Battle/Debate..........................................................58 Use of Other Frames............................................................................................61 Stakeholder Analysis...........................................................................................62 Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells.......................................................62 Cloning and Stem Cell Research.........................................................................63 United StatesGlobal Leader or Lagging Behind?..............................................64 Conclusions.................................................................................................................64 Limitations and Future Research................................................................................66 v

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APPENDIX A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET.............................................................68 B INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET......................70 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................75 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................83 vi

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Primary frames sorted by publication ......................................................................37 2 Primary frames sorted by article type. .....................................................................38 3 Sources directly quoted within articles ....................................................................45 4 Definition and Characterization of stem cell research. ............................................50 5 Ethical/moral implications .......................................................................................51 6 Adult vs. embryonic stem cell research. ..................................................................52 7 References to human cloning. ..................................................................................52 8 References to other nations. .....................................................................................54 vii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication PROMISE OR PERIL: HOW ELITE NEWSPAPERS FRAME STEM CELL RESEARCH By Kimberly Rice Taylor August 2005 Chair: Debbie M. Treise Major Department: Mass Communication Stem cell research burst onto the national media scene in 1998. Subsequent coverage has described it as a promising new field tinged with both complexity and controversy. This study sought to understand how elite newspapers, namely The New York Times and The Washington Post, portrayed the issues surrounding stem cell research. A textual analysis was performed on 171 articles published from August 2000 through September 2001. An inductive analysis found that a frame of uncertainty dominated coverage. viii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Human embryonic stem cell research burst onto the national print media scene in November 1998, following an article published by Dr. James A. Thomson, a developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Thomson reported in the November 6, 1998, issue of Science that he and his research team had isolated and cloned human embryonic stem cells, making them the first scientists to do so (Thomson 1998). Stem cells are important because they can be seen as the utility and repair units of the body that serve a central function in the maintenance and regeneration of organs and tissues throughout life (Nisbet 2004, p. 131). Scientists have long thought of stem cells as a potential panacea in treating sickness and disease. By isolating these cells, Thomson and his team ended the scientific communitys 30-year quest for a reliable source of human embryonic stem cells and cracked open the debate over these promising but contentious cells. Prior to Thomsons publication, The New York Times and The Washington Post published just a handful of stories each year that featured stem cell research. Early stories on stem cell research focused primarily on stem cell transplantation and on umbilical cord blood. Stem cell transplantation is a therapy in which stem cells can be injected into patients, typically those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and certain inherited blood disorders, to boost their immune response. Stem cell transplantation can also be used in gene therapy as a way to correct gene defects in patients suffering from certain genetic 1

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2 conditions. Umbilical cord blood banking garnered attention because cord blood is rich in stem cells and can be used in stem cell transplantation therapies. Earlier articles featured the pros and cons of banking cord blood, namely whether or not parents should consider this costly but perhaps life-saving medical technology to safeguard the future health of their family (Walker 1997; Chase 1998). Following Thomsons Science article in November 1998, media coverage of stem cell research surged; stem cell research has been highlighted in thousands of stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times alone. The projected promise of the technology has no doubt contributed to its media prominence. Embryonic stem cells have an infinite life span, making them ideal candidates for laboratory research on cellular development. Unlike regular body cells that divide a given number of times and then die, stem cells are immortal (Kolata 1995). This immortality makes them attractive candidates for disease therapies. Another desirable trait of embryonic stem cells is that they have the ability to develop into any cell in the body, a feature known as pluripotency, making them strong candidates for a number of disease therapies. Despite the promises of these all-purpose cells, they are not without drawbacks and controversy. The primary source for pluripotent stem cells is embryos, explaining why pluripotent cells have been dubbed embryonic stem cells in media coverage. This source of cells has caused quite a stir among conservative political and religious groups. The Catholic Church is perhaps the most vocal opponent of stem cell research originating from embryos. The Church teaches that all life, from the moment of conception, is sacred. Thus, using fertilized embryos for research is considered morally unacceptable. It should be noted that the Church sees no difference between naturally fertilized embryos

PAGE 11

3 and those generated in a lab via artificial insemination, nor does it condone the use of donated embryos that are left over from in vitro fertilization procedures. Scientists have also developed a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer to generate pluripotent stem cells. By definition, these pluripotent stem cells are not derived from traditional embryos. The trouble is that the media refer to nearly all pluripotent stem cells as embryonic stem cells, regardless of the cells origin. This lack of clarity may lead to confusion among the public. Indeed, stem cell research is a complex and multi-faceted topic. Even individuals who are well-versed in science may struggle to make heads or tails of this situation. The nuances in terminology can be difficult to understand, especially since some of the terms (e.g., embryo) are already emotionally charged. Research has shown that Americans have a bipolar attitude about science and technology (Miller et al., 1997; Nisbet et al. 2002). Americans believe in sciences promise for new cures but at the same time feel uncomfortable with the pace of science and often distrust it. Given this disposition, it would not be surprising if the public were unable to come to consensus on the stem cell debate. One way to help the public reach consensus on an issue is through media coverage of that issue (Miller and Reichert 2001). Science stories rank among the best read in newspapers, on par with sports stories, reflecting the publics fascination with science (Rensberger 1997). A recent study found that close to 50% of Americans were very interested in science discoveries and new technologies, 70% in medical discoveries, and 52% in environmental issues (Rogers 1999). Indeed, the public relies heavily on print media for information on science, health and technology topics: For most people, the reality of science is what they read in the press. They understand science less through direct experience or past education than through

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4 the filter of journalistic language and imagery. The media are their only contact with what is going on in rapidly changing scientific and technical fields, as well as a major source of information about the implications of these changes for their lives (Nelkin 1995, p. 2). The print news media are also important because they set the agenda for science coverage in other outlets. Newspapers are the front lines of science communication, the places where most science stories show up first, before they appear in magazines, long before theyre in books, usually years before television documentaries cover them (Rensberger 1997). Thus, newspaper coverage of stem cell research plays a critical role in shaping the evolution of this topic. Journalists must portray the issue clearly and completely so that people can be well informed and come to their own conclusions on the topic. Journalists portrayal of the topic can have both an individual and a collective impactl; public opinion has been shown to influence public policy and governmental funding of science issues. Public opinion on any given topic can be influenced by a number of variables, including media coverage of the topic. The way media present, or frame, an issue can influence readers opinions about that issue (Iyengar 1991). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how The New York Times and The Washington Post, both recognized as trendsetters in the media realm, have framed the issue of stem cell research. These elite papers have the potential to influence the national media agenda, suggesting that they are but one step away from influencing public opinion. As the dominant newspaper in the nations capital, The Washington Post has the ability to influence general readers, as well as policymakers. Stem cell research, given its potential for disease therapies, is a critical topic facing American society. Framing studies on the elite news media can help complete the picture

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5 of how the media might influence public opinion about stem cell research, and subsequently stem cell research policy. This qualitative study builds on existing framing studies of stem cell research that have taken a quantitative approach (Nisbet et al. 2003) by providing insight into the rich, descriptive terminology used in media coverage of the debate.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Stem Cell Research Foundations and Terminology For decades, scientists studying human development did so via animals. This early research revealed a new class of cells called stem cells, which are the bodys fundamental building block. Because they are undifferentiated, these cells are capable of developing into a number of cell types in the body. It should be noted that there is a range of usefulness among stem cells. This usefulness is sometimes referred to as plasticity, that is a cells ability to transform into other cell or tissue types. Pluripotent stem cells can differentiate into any other cell type, making them a favorite among scientists for developing new therapies. Most pluripotent stem cells lines have been derived from embryos, hence the term embryonic stem cells. Multipotent stem cells also hold great promise, though are more restricted in how they can develop. These cells have differentiated past the level of pluripotency into a specialized state (Anderson, Gage and Weissman 2001). Although animal pluripotent stem cells had been isolated many years prior, it wasnt until 1998 that researchers were able to isolate and grow human pluripotent stem cells in the laboratory. Subsequent work has shown that these cells have the capability of developing into nearly any cell or tissue type in the body, hinting at possibilities for therapeutic applications. 6

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7 Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells Pluripotent stem cells come namely from embryonic or fetal tissue. Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are retrieved from a group of cells known as the inner cell mass (part of the blastocyst) about four to five days after an embryos fertilization. These cells can differentiate from their current unspecialized state into virtually any type of cell or tissue. The first possible source of such cells is surplus embryos that are a by-product of in vitro fertilization (IVF) labs. The second potential source of ES cells is from embryos generated in the lab by uniting donated eggs and sperm. Another source of pluripotent stem cells is the embryonic germ (reproductive) cells that can be taken from aborted fetuses. Under the right laboratory conditions, embryonic stem cells can reproduce indefinitely, a trait not shared by adult stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells can also be derived through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), also known as therapeutic cloning. Here, genetic material from a regular body cell (a somatic cell) is transplanted into an egg cell (a germ cell) that has had all of its genetic information removed. This fusion creates a hybrid cell that can be induced to behave like a fertilized egg (Hall 2004, p.2). This technique is often referred to as cloning because the resulting cell is genetically identical to the original body cell. However, it is important to note that no embryos (i.e. a union of sperm and egg) are used in this process. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is the technique used by the South Korean researchers whose work appeared in the media spotlight in early 2004 and triggered a renewed call for a ban on what is known as reproductive cloning (Hwang, Ryu et al. 2004). Opponents fear that these hybrid embryos could be grown into full-fledged human beings. However, scientists argue that the technology is not that advanced. The hybrid embryos differ from normal embryos and

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8 can be riddled with genetic abnormalities, giving them little if any potential to ever develop into a normal human being (Hall 2004, p.2). Sources of Multipotent Stem Cells Multipotent stem cells are cells that the media refers to primarily as adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found in specialized tissue such as the blood or brain and can yield specialized cell types, though in a much more limited fashion from embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells can typically replicate for the life of the organism but do not share the same infinite reproducibility of embryonic stem. It should be noted that adult stem cells need not be derived from adults. Stem cells derived from cord blood (i.e. fetal umbilical cord blood) are multipotent, not pluripotent, and thus can be termed adult stem cells. They do, however, have more potential than adult stem cells derived from mature tissues. At this point, adult stem cells are the only type of stem cells that have been used in human disease therapies. Scientists have used stem cells derived from bone marrow in transplantation therapies for over 40 years. Stem cells used in stem cell transplantations are called hematopoetic stem cells since they are derived from the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. Despite the inherent differences between embryonic and adult stem cell research, newspaper coverage does not always discern between the two. This may serve to complicate the publics understanding and attitudes toward the already charged discussions about stem cell research. Ethical Debate over Stem Cells The debate over stem cell research hinges on competing facts and values that span the multiple arenas of science, ethics, religion, business, politics and

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9 administration (Fassi 2002, p. 7). The stem cell debate incorporates elements from the abortion debate, the cloning debate, the fetal tissue debate, the transplant debate, the gene therapy debate, the animal rights debate and even a debate about human longevity (National Public Radio 2001). 1 Although the topic is multifaceted, major contention seems to circle around a number of ethical and moral dilemmas, namely when life begins and ends, as well as when is it acceptable to compromise life. Given what is at stake, it is not surprising that the debate has been so prolonged and so heated: when the search for balanced reasonableness and respect for human dignity are interpreted through multiple and competing perspectives in the development of policy, the conflict persists and is rarely resolved (Fassi 2000, p.2) The American Association for the Advancement of Science sums up the various sides quite eloquently in their online briefing on stem cell research: Opponents of ES cell research hold that human life begins as soon as an egg is fertilized, and they consider a human embryo to be a human being. They therefore consider any research that necessitates the destruction of a human embryo to be morally abhorrent. Proponents of ES cell research, meanwhile, point out that in the natural reproductive process, human eggs are often fertilized but fail to implant in the uterus. A fertilized egg, they argue, while it may have the potential for human life, cannot be considered equivalent to a human being until it has at least been successfully implanted in a woman's uterus (accessed March 13, 2005, http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/stemcells ). This is much the same controversy that has swirled around the issue of abortion. The American Life League sees the embryo as the tiniest person, worth standing up for and defending (Toner 2001). Opponents are concerned not only about the use of existing embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, but also about the creation of embryos expressly for research purposes. Pope John Paul II refers to the latter as an evil akin to 1 This statement is excerpted from National Public Radios Talk of the Nation/Science Friday program which aired on March 2, 2001. The statement was made by Glenn McGee, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and editor in chief of the American Journal for Bioethics.

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10 euthanasia and infanticide (Stanley 2001). President Bush said that he recoils at the idea of creating life for our own convenience (Charo 2001). Additional concerns exist that this will only be the beginning of a Frankenscience that ultimately will lead to cloning humans. Proponents extend their arguments to include embryos generated in fertility clinics. Many of these artificially created embryos are inviable and will never result in life. In an effort to boost their chances of success, hopeful parents often end up with more frozen embryos than they will have implanted. Proponents argue that these should be available for embryonic stem cell research since most of these artificially created embryos will otherwise be discarded. Certain opponents of embryonic stem cell research including the Catholic Church have argued that embryonic stem cell research should be abandoned in favor of adult stem cell research. These opponents maintain that adult stem cells hold just as much promise as do embryonic stem cells. Most scientists, however, disagree citing recent scientific articles that have shown that adult stem cells lack the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. In the broadest sense, the discussion about stem cell research can be reduced to the importance of human life, whether it be the life of an unborn embryo or the life of an adult suffering from a life-threatening disease: The debate is crucially connected to emotionally charged and deeply held values about the creation of, respect for, and amelioration of human life (Fassi 2002, p. 3). Stakeholders in the Stem Cell Debate As was suggested above, a number of stakeholders are involved in the conflict, and they are all vying for their voices to be heard. Stakeholder groups that oppose embryonic

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11 stem cell research include conservative political and religious groups. Opponents from the Republican Party have included Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts, Sam Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon and Tom Delay; Interest groups have included the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council (Nisbet et al. 2003). Among the various religious groups opposing stem cell research, Catholic interests have been cited most frequently in media coverage (Nisbet, Brossard and Kroepsch 2003). The Catholic Church has a staunch position against any research that involves the creation of or the taking of a human life. This rules out all forms of embryonic stem cell research, including research using somatic-cell nuclear transfer. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2001) urged Congress to ban embryonic stem cell research altogether, citing that the estimated promise of the technology did not outweigh the realities behind it: In his great novel The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky raised the question whether it would be right to build a world without human suffering if "it was essential and inevitable to torture to death one tiny creature" such as an innocent child to achieve that end. Each of us must answer that ultimate question in the depths of his or her own conscience. The claim that destructive embryo research will achieve such a utopian end is, we believe, a hollow promise. In the meantime, however, the killing will be quite real (USCCB 2001). In an interesting twist, several otherwise-conservative politicians voiced their support for stem cell research. Former senators Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Strom Thurmond (S.C.) were both ardent pro-life Republicans, yet both believed that embryonic stem cell research was worth investing in. Other GOP supporters featured by the media have included Bill Frist, Connie Mack, John McCain, and Arlen Specter (Nisbet et al. 2003). The most vocal supporters of stem cell research are scientists, patients and their families, non-profit patient advocacy groups, and pro-industry advocacy groups. These

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12 advocacy groups include the Coalition for Medical Research, Patients Cure, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (Nisbet et al. 2003). Celebrities have played a strong role in voicing their support for stem cell research. For example, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has spoken out in favor of stem cell research citing that it may yield a cure for Alzheimers, the disease which plagued her late husband. She has lent her name to various fundraising events for stem cell research, including an initiative to raise $20 million for the stem cell research via the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Actor Christopher Reeve died in October 2004 but not before expressing his overwhelming support for embryonic stem cell research. He believed that embryonic stem cell research might hold the key to potential therapies for paralyzed Americans like himself. He maintained that embryonic stem cell research could be conducted in an ethical and moral fashion: You really don't have an ethical problem because you're actually saving lives by using cells that are going to the garbage," Reeve said. "I just don't see how that's immoral or unethical. I really don't" (CNN.com 2002). Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinsons disease, is another celebrity who supports stem cell research. He appeared in television ads during the 2004 election urging voters to consider the benefits of expanding stem cell research policy: George Bush says we can wait. I say lives are at stake and it's time for leadership (Associated Press 2004). Many scientists have collectively made their voice heard through the Union of Concerned Scientists, a left-leaning advocacy group. They issued a statement in 2001 urging President Bush to promote federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The union has since accused the Bush administration of distorting scientific findings and manipulating experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political

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13 beliefs (Elias 2004). Over 6,000 researchers have signed on and voiced their concern over the administrations misuse of science, including 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National Medal of Science recipients, and 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Key Events in Stem Cell Research and Policy Initial Policies on Stem Cell Research The first major policy event specifically targeting stem cell research occurred following a crucial advance made in 1994 at Harvard Medical School (Kolata 1995). The scientists had refined a simple technique that could replace the existing cumbersome method for isolating stem cells from blood. This simplified method was expected to open the door for many new laboratories to undertake stem cell research. It also meant that new gene therapies might not be far behind. Congress attached an appropriations rider attached to the 1996 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (which included allocations for the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH). The rider became known as the Dickey amendment after the bills original author, Former Representative Jay Dickey (R-Ark.),and has been retained by Congress every year since 1996. The Dickey Amendment banned federal funding for research that destroyed embryos, but it made no provisions related to research conducted with private funds. Thomsons groundbreaking research was conducted on excess embryos originally conceived for in vitro fertilization that were donated anonymously. Since the research focused on human embryos, it did not qualify for federal funding. Instead, Thomsons research was financed through private funds from the Geron Corporation of Menlo Park, Calif. The research caused quite a stir, with the scientific community heralding

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14 Thomsons results as a major technical achievement with great importance for human biology (Gearhart 1998, p. 1061). Shortly after Thomsons research was published, President Clinton requested a review of the issues surrounding stem cell research. In September 1999, the National Bioethics Advisory Committee issued a report, Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research, which suggested a legal reinterpretation of the federal funding restrictions contained within the Dickey Amendment. The report concluded that the federal government could fund research on human ES cells, provided that private funds were used to derive the stem cells from embryos left over from fertility treatments. By December 1999, NIH had released draft guidelines allowing federally funded research on ES cells derived in the private sector and on August 25, 2000, NIH released its final guidelines and solicited applications for its first ES cell research grants. Election 2000 and Stem Cell Research Stem cell research was highlighted throughout the coverage of the 2000 presidential election with Republic presidential nominee George W. Bush declaring that he opposed federal funding for any stem cell research that destroyed human embryos. Clinton, both through his words and policy actions, supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Following Bushs inauguration in February, six months followed before any policy changes were issued. The press highlighted what they called the presidents continued indecision on the issue, until ultimately on August 9, 2001, Bush announced in a prime-time television address that he would allow federal funding of research on existing embryonic stem cell lines. This policy meant that no new cell lines could be derived

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15 using federal funds, thus ensuring that the government would not be responsible for any new embryos destroyed for the sake of stem cell research. On August 14, 2002, the National Institutes of Health released a list of 78 stem cell lines that qualified for federal research funding according to Bushs criteria: the stem cells must have been removed from the embryo prior to August 9, 2001, the date the president first outlined these criteria; .the embryo used in deriving the stem cells must no longer have been viable, i.e. it could not be grown into a human; the embryo must have been created for reproductive purposes; the embryo must have been collected with the informed consent of the parents; and no financial compensation was provided. However, the list was met with immediate criticism. Initial reports indicated that only about 16 of the 78 eligible cell lines were available for distribution, with only a handful making it into the hands of researchers. The most recent statistics from NIH were released in the third quarter of 2004 and stated that 22 stem cell lines were available for study by federally funded researchers. Election 2004 and Stem Cell Research Although stem cell research was not one of the galvanizing issues in Election 2004, it did play a role in several of the debates and addresses. Senator Kerry, the opposing candidate, primarily asserted that Bushs existing policy would not be sufficient and that Bush was not acknowledging the realities of stem cell research, while Bush maintained that he had zeroed in on a moral way to support stem cell research. For example, during the second presidential debate the candidates were asked about the wisdom of funding embryonic stem cells in research, given that the only human disease therapies to-date have arisen from adult stem cell research. Kerry responded, acknowledging the morality behind the question but maintaining that scientists can

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16 conduct ethically guided embryonic stem cell research by using embryos that are leftover from in vitro fertilization procedures: We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that, they're from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen. And I believe if we have the option, which scientists tell us we do, of curing Parkinson's, curing diabetes, curing some kind of a paraplegic or quadriplegic or a spinal cord injury, anything -that's the nature of the human spirit. I think it is respecting life to reach for that cure. I think it is respecting life to do it in an ethical way. And the President's chosen a policy that makes it impossible for our scientists to do that. I want the future, and I think we have to grab it (Office of the Press Secretary 2004). Kerry closed out his remarks in the second debate by returning to oft-heard criticisms about the Bushs approved stem cell lines: But let me tell you, point-blank, the lines of stem cells that he's made available, every scientist in the country will tell you, not adequate, because they're contaminated by mouse cells, and because there aren't 60 or 70, there are only about 11 to 20 now, and there aren't enough to be able to do the research because they're contaminated (Office of the Press Secretary 2004). Bush defended his stance, noting that he was the first president to ever allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He emphasized that we must heed the potential implications of stem cell research, noting that he took the approach he did out of a respect for ethics and morality: But I think -I think we've got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and the science. And so I made the decision we wouldn't spend any more money beyond the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important, but so is ethics. So is balancing life. To destroy life to save life is one of the real ethical dilemmas that we face.the approach I took is one that I think is a balanced and necessary approach, to balance science and the concerns for life (ibid). While on the campaign trail, First Lady Laura Bush also played up Bushs support of embryonic stem cell research. In cities across the nation she expressed her pride that her husband was the first president to authorize federal funding for stem cell research and to

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17 express that President Bush looks forward to future medical breakthroughs via stem cell research. Stem Cell Research Abroad In February 2004, researchers from South Korea published an article in the online issue of the journal Science revealing that they had created about 30 human blastocysts using the somatic-cell nuclear transplant method. The publication reactivated concerns over stem cell research, with opponents citing that this research was one step away from cloning humans for reproductive purposes. Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of President Bushs Council on Bioethics, and many others called for a complete ban on cloning, regardless of purpose, in order to sidestep any slippery slope that might occur if therapeutic cloning were left legal. Korea is not the only nation that appears to have permissive policies on stem cell research regulation. Counties such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, China, India, Israel, Australia and New Zealand all have policies that explicitly allow embryonic stem cell research. In nearly all cases where therapeutic cloning (i.e. embryonic stem cell research) is allowed, reproductive cloning has been banned. State Legislation Although the U.S. federal government has restricted funding for human embryonic stem cell research, individual states have the right to pass laws permitting human embryonic stem cell research. This means that states can subsidize the cost for the establishment of new human embryonic stem cell lines or research on cell lines that are currently ineligible for federal funding. The voters of California were the first to act on this work-around. In November 2004, voters passed Proposition 71, which provided for the establishment of the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The

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18 initiative is expected to dole out $300 million per year for 10 years toward stem cell research, including the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines. This dollar amount marks a ten-fold increase over the money allocated for stem cell research by the federal government. Since California passed Proposition 71, lawmakers in other states have taken up the charge, with a total of Wisconsin, New York and New Jersey have introduced similar proposals. Tainted Cell Lines Kerrys predictions about tainted cell lines were confirmed within three months. In January 2005, researchers at the University of California at San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported that all federally approved human embryonic stem cell lines were tainted with a foreign molecule from mice. This could mean that any potential stem cell therapies tested in humans could fail because the human body would reject the stem cells as foreign (Martin, Muotri et al. 2005). One of the papers authors, Dr. Ajit Varki, believes that this poses a dire problem for U.S. researchers, who depend primarily on federal funding to support their work. If none of these funding issues and legal issues and ethical and moral issues existed, then it would make sense to start over, he said (Kaplan 2005, p. 1). His comment suggests that the government should rekindle the debate over whether the existing federal policy on funding embryonic stem cell research is sufficient or whether the United States is missing a key opportunity. Despite growing doubt over the efficacy of the federally approved cell lines, President Bush reaffirmed his position in his State of the Union Address on Feb. 2, 2005: I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and

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19 sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical (Bush 2005). Thus, it seems unlikely under the current administration that any new policies will be developed on the federal funding of embryonic stem cells. Science and the Public Scientific Literacy The term science literacy originally was coined by Waterman (1960) and represents the publics understanding of science. Science literacy goes beyond the ability to define key scientific terms; it extends to understanding how science actually works and how science can influence our daily lives. Historically, Americans have not been able to satisfactorily explain what it means to study something scientifically (Withey 1959; Miller 1987). It is believed that individuals who are scientifically literate will be able to tell good science from bad science and to weigh the competing claims in science discussions (Bodmer 1985). Understanding the whys and hows behind science is growing increasingly important. We live in a world of increasing technological and scientific complexity in our daily lives. The public needs to understand science in order to cope adequately (Waterman 1960). However, it is not enough to know science, for example basic facts such as the speed of light or the density of water. The public needs a thorough understanding of science concepts and the methodology behind scientific research. LaFollette (1995) wrote that effective modern citizenship demands a higher level of knowing about science (p. 235). Additionally, the degree to which everyday Americans understand science can affect our nations research agenda. Over the years, it has been demonstrated that the

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20 degree of public understanding of science largely influences government support and policy. Some authors have argued that support of scientific programs depends less on a programs own merits than on public attention and understanding. Thus, the publics science literacy in turn influences scientific progress. The National Science Boards Science and Engineering Indicators survey is seen as the most consistent indicator of science literacy. The first survey was conducted in 1979 and it has been conducted about every two years afterward with the most recent results reported in 2002. Less than 15% of those surveyed felt well informed about science and technology issues, while 30% felt poorly informed (National Science Board 2002). Public Perception of Science Analysis of the NSB survey data revealed that the American public possesses two competing attitude constructs (Miller et al., 1997; Nisbet et al. 2002). The first construct shows that Americans are uncertain about science and technology, citing concerns about the pace of change and a sense that science and technology pose conflicts with traditional values or belief systems (Nisbet et al, p. 588). The second construct reflects that Americans believe in the promise of science and technology, and believe research can yield useful results and products for society and provide future benefits to society (Miller et al, 1997; Nisbet et. al., p. 588). Later studies revealed the same diagnosis, stating that an inverse relationship exists between knowledge and doubt of new scientific technologies (Miller and Kimmel 2001). Despite the contentious debate over stem cells, the American public seems to favor the research, both embryonic and adult. Two polls conducted during the 2004 election showed a majority support for embryonic stem cell research among registered voters. Time wrote that 69% of the 1,131 adults surveyed were in favor of using discarded

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21 embryos for stem cell research, and that 50% felt that federal money should be used (Time 2004). A Newsweek poll looked at the topic from a more general perspective and found that 50% of the registered voters surveyed said they were for stem cell research. One key element that has been repeated in the discussion of embryonic stem cells is the source of the stem cells. Advocates say that leftover embryos from fertility clinics pose a great opportunity. A study conducted in Sweden showed that couples who were pursuing infertility treatment were overwhelmingly (92%) in favor of donating their excess embryos for stem cell research rather than simply discarding them. Although the culture and values are obviously different in Sweden than in the United States, this seems like an encouraging result for those in support of embryonic stem cell research. A similar study could be conducted here in the United States to gauge whether support would be as strong. Science and the Media Media Coverage of Science Issues The public can learn about science from a number of sources including science classes, science museums, and interpersonal sources, but the most impressive source is the media (Nelkin 1995; Nisbet et al. 2002). Newspapers cover more science stories than any other form of media communication (Rensberger 1997). Not surprisingly then, newspapers have been shown to be the publics primary source of science, technology and health information, if not their sole source of information and continuing education about science (Rensberger 1997, p. 8). Nelkin (1995) elegantly describes the importance of print media in communicating science to the public: Science writers, in effect, are brokers, framing social reality for their readers and shaping the public consciousness about science-related events. Their selection of news about science and technology sets the agenda for public policy. Their

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22 representation of science news lays the foundation for personal attitudes and public actions. They are often our only source of information about the scientific and technical choices that significantly affect our work, our health, and our lives (p. 161). The media can help the public become aware of pressing social issues via its agenda-setting role. Although many scholars have written about agenda setting, its roots trace back to the oft-cited 1973 paper by McCombs and Shaw. The authors introduced the idea that the medias decision to cover an issue affects the publics perception of the salience of that issue (McCombs and Shaw 1973). The media no doubt helped the public become aware of stem cell research. Since the majority of Americans would never so much as pick up an issue of Science, they would have had no way of knowing about Thomsons breakthrough had it not been featured by the mass media. It is clear that the media serve a crucial role in telling the public which science issues are important to think about. However, the extent to which the media influence the publics opinions about specific scientific topics is less definite. Researchers have found an inverse correlation between newspaper use and reservations about science (Nisbet et al. 2002). That is, individuals who read the newspaper are more likely to feel favorably about scientific issues. Most daily newspapers and all elite newspapers already include a certain amount of science-focused coverage. In fact, newspapers carry more science news than more than any other mass communication media (Rensberger 1997). However, researchers have differing opinions on the extent of media effects on public opinion. Regardless of the extent to which newspapers sway peoples opinions about science topics, it is clear that newspapers remain the publics dominant source for science information. Thus, it is worthwhile to examine media coverage of science topics in order

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23 to fully understand what information the public is receiving about particular scientific issues. Media Coverage of Biotechnology Issues Media scholars have looked at how the print media have framed a number of scientific topics including environmental issues, genetically modified foods, nuclear energy, etc. However, this study will focus solely on the framing of stem cell research. Much of the elite print medias initial coverage of stem cell research attentively focused on the potential risks of stem cell research, namely the destruction of human embryos. Stem cell research is certainly not the first risky scientific topic covered by the press, nor is risk a new concept to our society: Risks to health, safety and the environment abound in the world and people cope as best they can. But before action can be taken to control, reduce or eliminate risks, decisions must be made about which risks are important and which risks can be safely ignored (Covello and Johnson 1987, p. vii). Risk has been a common element in media coverage of other biotechnology issues, as has uncertainty (Bartels 2002; Priest 2001). Priest makes three assumptions regarding media coverage of scientific debates: Scientific futures are uncertain, the public has a legitimate stake in defining public policy for science, and this role is better filled by an educated than an ignorant citizenry (Priest 2001, 100-101).

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24 In the genetically modified food debate, the media helped influence the publics general acceptance of genetically modified foods through its coverage of the issue. Although the media did include elements of the publics skepticism over genetically modified foods, the media gave greater attention to positive messages from stakeholders in favor of genetically modified foods: By overrepresenting the large-institution point of view and the ostensibly monolithic character of U.S. public opinion, media accounts probably helped to suppress the visibility of what dissent existed (Priest 2001, p. 61). Another key element in the medias coverage of genetic technology has been its comparison of international policies. Journalists have focused on U.S policy versus those of other nations like Italy, Israel, India, and Great Britain (Ten Eyck and Williment 2003). The concern has been that if other countries develop more permissive regulatory policies, then scientists may emigrate from the United States to pursue their work in those countries. Journalists have echoed this concern in their coverage of stem cell research, citing that current U.S. policies may lead to a potential brain drain to nations such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, India or Singapore (Brush 2005: Regaldo, McGinley and Lueck 2001; and USA Today 2003). This brain drain facet only complicates the stem cell debate in the eyes of readers. In multifaceted debates such as this, the media can help the public come to decisions by providing information about an issue. Information may include context and background on the issue, as well as viewpoints of various stakeholders. In the instance of stem cell research, involved groups have included the scientific community, federal government, political groups, patient advocacy groups, and religious groups. The most revealing look at how print media have portrayed stem cell research was conducted by Nisbet, Brossard and Kroepsch (2003). This study relied on the mass media

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25 theories of agenda building and frame building (i.e. agenda setting and framing) to study how the media have influenced the debate over stem cell research. Using quantitative methodology, the authors found that the stem cell debate relied on familiar storytelling themes and dramatic elements that helped push is to the top of the media agenda during the summer of 2001 (p. 44). Coverage focused mainly on the competing interests inherent in the debate, namely tradition versus progress: If on one side of the debate was the image of a mad scientist experimenting on human embryos, on the other side was a notion of a religious zealot impeding scientific and social progress (Nisbet et al. 2003, p. 44). With competing viewpoints clamoring to be heard, the important questions to be asked are, Whose voice rises above all others? and, How will this affect public opinion and policymaking? The frequency with which stakeholders are quoted and which voices dominate are a key element in framing. Framing Framing Overview Sociologist Erving Goffman is credited with coining the term framing (Goffman, 1974). It is important to note that the concept of framing has not always been clear in the literature. Indeed, Entmans well-known paper refers to framing as a scattered conceptualization (Entman 1993, p. 51). In a more recent publication, Scheufele (1999) noted that the term framing has been used repeatedly to label similar but distinctly different approaches (p.103). Hertog and McLeod note that although framing analysis has been accepted as a useful research tool for several decades, it is far from being an exact science. A wide array of theoretical approaches and methods are utilized and the field has yet to settle on a core theory or even a basic set of propositions, nor has a widely accepted methodological approach emerged (Hertog and McLeod 2001, p. 139).

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26 Researchers should take care to describe where their methods and approaches fit within framings four-cell typology: media versus audience frames and frames as independent versus dependent variables (Scheufele 1999, p.108). This study is concerned with media frames as a dependent variable, namely how journalists use frames and what frames dominate coverage of stem cell research. It should also be noted that framing and frame theory are not equitable in the eyes of many researchers, and that a distinction can be made between the two terms (Roefs 1998). This study is concerned primarily with the use of framing as a research tool. Although the exploration of frame theory is valid, this study will not venture into such territory. According to Goffman (1974), framing explains how readers use existing mental frameworks and expectations to make sense of everyday social situations. This sense-making element is critical, as frames can help shape a readers thoughts about a given issue. This concept is echoed by Bridges and Nelson (2000), who wrote, the way an issue is presented the frame especially through the media, can affect public perceptions of the issue (p. 100). Reese (2001) further characterized frames by stating that they are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world (p.140). Salience is a key element in framing. Entman (1993) is widely respected for his contributions regarding salience in framing research: To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described (p. 56).

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27 Frames reduce issues to the familiar, and they can help the public to understand new and otherwise complex issues by capitalizing on widely accepted dogmas and shared perspectives. This can be especially useful in coverage of biotechnology issues, where readers may get bogged down in technical language. By reducing the story to recognizable elements, journalists can help readers to understand the issue. Hertog and McLeod (2001) characterized the importance of frames and framing in social process, especially in defining and channeling social controversy (p. 139). Framing methods can be distilled to such basic elements as the language that journalists use to describe events (Edelman 1988). Indeed, the use of baby versus fetus signals a very different approach to the topic of abortion (Hertog and McLeod 2001). We are a culture that relies heavily on language. Yet complex scientific issues pose a great challenge to the public, who often cannot comprehend the associated terminology. Framing can help bring the reader onto a common playing field: All communication is dependent upon shared meaning among communicators. The speaker and the audience must approach words, icons, ideas, gestures, and so on in an identical fashion in order to communicate. The greater the difference in their individual understanding of symbols, the less able they are to communicate (Hertog and McLeod 2001, p. 141). However, this quest to establish shared meaning can cause a story to change from a catchy tune to a broken record. Journalists tend to revert to familiar stories and themes when framing science stories (Bennett 2001). Nisbet et al. (2003) described this scenario in greater detail: When an event or new issue taps familiar themes from previous dramatic stories, journalists turn to these previously used story lines to recast actors and events in familiar relationships around the emerging issue (p. 43). For example, the stem cell debate has been framed in similar ways to the debates over abortion and in vitro fertilization, since all three have been framed as hinging on the

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28 moral question of when life begins. Framing of the stem cell debate also has echoed the debate over genetic engineering, where voices have questioned whether scientists are playing God (Charo 2001). The framing of news stories also is influenced by the journalists choice of sources. In fact, source selection can be seen as one of the most important dimensions of framing (Zoch and VanSlyke Turk 1998, p. 762). Shoemaker and Reese further iterate this point: Sources have a tremendous effect on mass media content, because journalists cant include in their news reports what they dont know(sources) may also influence the news in subtle ways by providing the context within which all other information is evaluatedand by monopolizing the journalists time so that they dont have an opportunity to seek out sources with alternative views (Shoemaker and Reese, 1991, p. 150). Sources Although journalists strive for neutrality in their work, studies have shown that journalists tend to favor certain types of sources. In some cases, journalists will forgo sources whose opinions on an issue contrast with their own (Powers and Fico 1991). Research has overwhelmingly shown that journalists favor certain elite sources, including police, government officials and scientists. Journalists often tap elite sources because they are easily identifiable and accessible, tend to be articulate, can provide a large amount of information with little effort (on both the sources and journalists part), and are typically seen by readers as valid and reliable (Zoch and VanSlyke Turk 1998). In scientific debates, the extent to which readers trust sources is critical: reputation is the crucial currency in scientific debate (Durant 1993, p. 136). The concept of source validity is also important because if readers trust a source then they may believe what a source says to be true. In short, what

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29 sources say about an issue can elicit attitude and belief changes among readers (Slater and Rouner 1996). Specifically, direct quotes can have a strong influence on reader opinion about an issue. Gibson and Zillman have reported that readers exposed to a given opinion via a direct quote were likely to echo that opinion and that readers give greater weight to information contained in direct quotes than in paraphrased quotes (Gibson and Zillman 1993; Gibson and Zillman 1998). This evidence makes it important to examine direct quotes within framing studies such as this one. After considering these facts, it is then not surprising that journalists favor elite sources, as the practice can provide them with a way to easily inform and potentially influence readers. Hovlands work from the 1950s supports journalists inclination to use elite sources by demonstrating that that the main elements influencing source credibility among readers trace to the sources trustworthiness and expertise (Hovland and Weiss 1951). However, journalists reliance on elite sources, especially those in government, medicine, and law, can present a top-heavy view of society. This practice can give scientists a great deal of control over representations of uncertainty (Dunwoody 1999, p. 63). Also, by opting to quote expert sources rather than do their own background research and investigative reporting, journalists may be depriving readers of key information on a topic. (Ericson, Baranek, and Chan 1989; Wilkie 1996). Journalists use of elite sources can influence the framing and agenda setting of specific issues (Gans 1979; Nisbet et al. 2003). For example, Andsager and Smiley (1998) stated that (t)he news media tend to rely on frames that the most influential policy actors provide, which will often render large institutions the most influential

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30 policy actors (p. 183). Journalists reliance on elite sources can have a strong influence on policy because when the resonance process is complete, one frame comes to dominate debate, and decision makers set public policy to conform to it (Miller and Reichert 2001, p. 113). Research Questions One primary research question was asked: how have the elite newspapers covered embryonic stem cell research? According to Creswell (1998), beginning with a single problem for the researcher to explore is a critical directive of qualitative research. From there, sub-questions can evolve. Secondary questions looked at sublevels of this main question: with what frequency are key stakeholders cited; to what degree are issues regarding embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells differentiated; how frequently is the process of human cloning cited alongside stem cell research, and is it differentiated as a separate issue or lumped together; and how frequently are stem cell policies of other nations mentioned or compared to U.S. policy?

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CHAPTER 3 METHODS Mixed Methods Two broad approaches to academic research traditionally are recognized qualitative and quantitative. The two methodologies differ in many ways, but the issue goes deeper than to count or not to count (Trumbo 2004, p. 418). Quantitative research operates mainly from the standpoint of taking an existing theory or hypothesis and testing it. Although quantitative research methods are used in the bulk of published academic research, qualitative research is no less valuable: Qualitative research shares good company with the most rigorous quantitative research, and it should not be viewed as an easy substitute for a statistical or quantitative study (Creswell 1998). Qualitative research is a process of making large claims from small matters (Carey 1975). Qualitative researchers seek to preserve and analyze content, rather than subject it to mathematical or other formal transformations (Lindlof and Taylor 2002, p. 18). In effect, qualitative research takes a macro view, describing the nuances and fine details of an issue in an attempt to understand fully what is going on. Qualitative textual analysis seeks to elucidate the meaning behind media messages and can reveal subtle thematic shifts (Newman 1998). In short, quantitative researchers work with a few variables and many cases, whereas qualitative researchers work with a few cases and many variables (Creswell 1998). Qualitative and quantitative methodologies have long existed as two distinct methodologies, although neither one is recognized as better than the other (Newman 31

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32 1998). Despite their inherent differences, the two approaches can be quite complementary (Carpenter 1998). In designing studies, researchers should not adopt an either-or mindset. Because each approach offers its own advantages to the researcher, a combinatorial approach can be quite useful and can be more useful than either approach would be on its own (Carpenter 1998). Perhaps not surprisingly, a third genre dubbed mixed methods is gaining increased acceptance, and researchers in a variety of social sciences are touting the benefits of this relatively new approach (Todd et al 2004; Tashakkorie and Teddlie 2003). Following this trend and seeking to draw on the advantages of the two traditional methodologies, this study relied on a mixed-method design. From a quantitative standpoint, the study sought to understand the frequency with which journalists used key terms and concepts. In an attempt to paint a more detailed picture, qualitative methods were employed to explore and further characterize elite print media coverage of embryonic stem cell research. This component of the study followed Creswells guidelines: 1) begin with a research question that seeks to explore what is going on; 2) focus on a topic that needs to be explored; and 3) present a detailed view of the topic (Creswell 1998). Methodology This study examined the way in which issues surrounding stem cell research have been portrayed in two elite newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post. The study focused on a critical time span in the history of stem cell research, encompassing the first major policy decisions for this nascent field.

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33 Newspapers Newspapers were selected over other media because they are the publics dominant source for science knowledge (Blum and Knudson 1997). The New York Times and The Washington Post were examined since they both are clarion trendsetters in the national media scene (Nelkin 1995). Additionally, they are regarded as key publications for national policymakers (Gans 1979). The issue of stem cell research is one that has national and even international importance, so The New York Times was selected for its reputation, breadth and overall depth of readership. Additionally, The New York Times is well known for providing ample coverage of science and technology issues via its weekly Science Times section. The Washington Post was selected for its reputation and prestige, as well as for its attention to political and legislative issues. As the predominant paper in Washington, D.C., policymakers are apt to read it and to be influenced in how they respond to current issues. Time Frame The coverage time frame was August 25, 2000, through September 19, 2001. The start date coincided with the Clinton administrations reevaluation of the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The study end date extended one month past the Bush administrations August 19, 2001, announcement that it would permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research conducted on stem cell lines already in existence. This month-long period following the announcement allowed inclusion of articles that discussed the controversy over the limited number of existing ES cell lines, their relative viability and the subsequent determination that adult stem cells might not hold the promise once believed.

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34 Article Selection The Lexis-Nexis Academic online database was used to identify articles via a guided news search. First, general news was selected under the news category drop-down menu. Second, major papers was selected under the news source drop-down menu, and The New York Times and The Washington Post were selected via the source list to limit results to those two papers. Third, the database was screened by entering the term stem cell (with quotation marks) in the search term box and selecting headline, lead paragraph(s), terms from the drop-down menu. News stories, feature stories, and opinions/editorials were all included in this study because the researcher felt these types of articles would be most likely to include detailed coverage of stem cell research issues. General letters to the editor were not included. Also, the researcher excluded the printed text of George W. Bushs televised speech from August 10, 2001, which ran in both The Washington Post and The New York Times, on the premise that it was originally a speech and not a written piece. Articles of fewer than 500 words were excluded, because the researcher felt these articles typically are straight research briefs that lack further explanation or context. The researcher also excluded pieces that exceeded 500 words but that were merely an assemblage of several short briefs (e.g. The Washington Posts Findings, Today in Congress, and Washington in Brief columns). The researcher opted to use stories of greater than 500 words because she felt that these pieces devote adequate space to cover the critical elements of this murky topic and, thus, ample room to employ frames. These selection criteria echo those used in other framing studies (Schmid 2004).

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35 Data Collection and Analysis Individual articles were the unit of analysis. Each was coded using a standard coding worksheet and set of coding guidelines (Appendices A and B). In addition to gathering basic identifying information about each article (headline, byline, date, section and page, etc.), the coding sheet examined a number of other items: (1) utilization of key terminology; (2) sources of direct quotations; (3) definition and characterization of stem cell research; (4) presentation of ethical issues surrounding stem cell research; (5) delineation of differences between adult and embryonic stem cells; (6) references to human cloning; and (7) references to other nations, namely their stances on stem cell research or the threat that the United State might be left behind. Data from the coding sheets was entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to streamline analysis. To answer the primary research question and determine the frames used, the researcher read through all articles that met the selection criteria. By looking at specific articles individually, the researcher was then able to employ an inductive approach to elucidate general trends among the articles. Variables that influenced frame evolution included terminology, sources, overall tone, and placement of various attributes within the story. The researcher has both formal educational training and professional experience in scientific fields. As such, she understands the technical aspects of the stem cell issue and has followed it in the popular press since its inception. In order to answer the secondary research questions, the researcher tallied all related data fields and calculated basic percentages. Comparisons were made between articles that ran in The New York Times and The Washington Post to elucidate any additional trends.

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36 Validity and Reliability Validity typically represents the truth value of observations, and whether or not researchers have presented factual, confirmable and reliable data (Lindlof and Taylor 2002). Validity refers to the congruence between what a given data set measures and what it intends to measure (Newman 1998). Reliability is a related term and has to do with the consistency of observation and whether the coding sheet, in this case, will generate the same results each time it is applied to the same article (Lindlof and Taylor 2002, p. 238). One way to establish reliability and validity in qualitative research is to utilize a co-coder (Lindlof and Taylor 2002). A second coder was trained and familiarized with the coding sheet and coded a random sample of 20% of the articles which were selected using a random number generator. This coder had completed all coursework for a masters degree in mass communication, having studied both framing theory and qualitative research. Both coders analyzed the data independently and, following coding, they compared frames. The coders agreed on the dominant frames and, in the case of discrepancies, discussed the issue until a conclusion was made. An intercoder reliability of 86.67% was established using a basic intercoder reliability formula: total stories minus irreconcilable frames, divided by total stories.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Frames Used Using the aforementioned criteria, 98 articles were retrieved from The New York Times and 73 articles were retrieved from The Washington Post. The researcher identified a number of frames that permeated the elite print medias coverage of stem cell research. The researcher dubbed these the battle/debate, economic, excess embryos, playing God, promise, and uncertainty frames. Any other frames were coded under an other category. It should be noted that several frames were closely related. For example, uncertainty and battle/debate both hinged on the unknown outcomes of the stem cell research discussion, though the latter frame took a stronger stance using suggestive terms connoting aggressive moves by shareholder groups to resolve the uncertainty. However, each story had a tipping point that ultimately pushed it into one category or another. Table 1. Primary frames sorted by publication The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n= 98 (%) Total articles n=171 (%) Uncertainty 31 (42.5) 38 (38.8) 69 (40.4) Battle/Debate 22 (30.1) 33 (33.7) 55 (32.2) Promise 7 (9.6) 15 (15.3) 22 (12.9) Playing God 3 (4.1) 2 (2.0) 5 (2.9) Economic 3 (4.1) 1 (1.0) 4 (2.3) Excess embryos 1 (1.4) 1 (1.0) 2 (1.2) Other 6 (8.2) 8 (8.2) 14 (8.2) 37

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38 Table 2. Primary frames sorted by article type N ews, n=134 (%) Feature, n=3 (%) Editorial/Opinion, n=34 (%) Uncertainty 58 (43.3) 0 (0.0) 11 (32.4) Battle/Debate 42 (31.3) 0 (0.0) 13(38.2) Promise 15 (11.2) 0 (0.0) 7 (20.6) Playing God 4 (3.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (2.9) Economic 4 (3.0) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) Excess embryos 2 (1.5) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) Other 9 (6.7) 3 (100.0) 2 (5.9) The Uncertainty Frame The most widely used frame was the uncertainty frame, appearing in 42.5% of The Washington Post articles, 38.8% of The New York Times articles and 40.4% of overall articles. Websters dictionary lists such synonyms for uncertainty as doubt, dubiety, skepticism, and mistrust. Certainly all of these nuances permeated the newspapers coverage of stem cell research as the debate over this new technology surged forward. The uncertainty frame dominated early coverage within the studys time frame and centered on the difficulty in sorting out the moral and ethical concerns over stem cell research. Journalists using this frame cited conservative groups opposed to stem cell research. Quotations from these groups argued for preserving the sanctity of human life and protesting the destruction or creation of human embryos for research purposes. In part, this is because many members of these groups believe that life begins at conception. Since the derivation of stem cells requires the destruction of an embryo, opponents equate this with the taking of a human life. However supporters were quoted contesting that: when it comes to biology, words like destruction, creation, embryo and even life and death are ambiguous. Scientists understand this ambiguity to be a reflection of the complexity of living things. Meanwhile, both advocates and opponents of stem cell research are using that ambiguity to their best advantage (Silver 2001).

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39 Quotes from supporters also countered that frozen embryos are little more than microscopic balls of cells. Quotes from supporters acknowledged that the cells represent potential for human life but with the caveat that many other factors are required to turn the potential life into reality. Supporters were cited arguing that without implantation in a mothers womb, the embryos never stand a chance at maturing into a true human life. Supporters also believe that the true beginnings of life dont come with fertilization: Besides, it is not so clear that an individual life begins at fertilization. The beginnings of the nervous system do not appear until 14 days after fertilization. The early embryo can split, leading to the birth of twins, so that individuality, it could be argued, begins some days after fertilization (Wade 2001a). Adding to the confusion inherent in the uncertainty frame were journalists repeated citations of conservative Republicans crossing party lines. Senators Orrin Hatch and Strom Thurmond both support embryonic stem cell research. As such, journalists have pegged them as running counter to their party ideals, acting in opposition to their well-documented anti-abortion views and thus aligning themselves with liberal groups in support of stem cell research. Later coverage featuring the uncertainty frame highlighted concern over Bushs decision. Frank Bruni, of The New York Times wrote, his speech was like a Rorschach leaving Bush future wiggle room (Bruni 2001). Authors expressed repeated skepticism on whether the 64 existing cell lines would provide enough latitude to maximize the potential of stem cell research. While the president and his staff argued that the 60-odd cell lines were sufficient to do important science, proponents of stem cell research were quotes as saying Bushs vision is shown to be too narrow. Supporters of embryonic stem cell research felt that by restricting funding to a set number of cell lines, Bushs

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40 policies would inevitably hold back scientists from making progress and that the United States would lag behind other nations. On the other side of the fence, conservative groups were also unhappy with Bushs decision. They felt that Bush had strayed too far from his partys pro-life values, and called for Bush to reconsider and issue a complete ban on all embryonic stem cell research. The Battle/Debate Frame The battle/debate frame was the second most prevalent frame, appearing in 30.1% of The Washington Post articles, 33.7% of The New York Times articles and 32.2% of overall articles Although this frame held certain similarities to the uncertainty frame, the battle/debate frame relied on stronger, aggressive-sounding terminology. Initial use of this frame showed journalists pitting the supporters against the opponents in an all-out battle to draw support to their side of the cause: Sensing an opening during Bushs period of indecision, several members of Congress have written bills, scheduled hearings, demanded White House meetings and taken to the airwaves to reassert themselves in the battle over cells smaller than the head of a pin (Connolly 2001b). Other key phrases that writers used included spark debate, eye to eye, fired back, straddle the line, legislators feuded, political parties are maneuvering, two agendas collide, fertile battleground, skirmishes and fight is not over. Another key element in the battle/debate frame was journalists repeated mention of how President Bushs divided administration was grappling with the agony, conundrum, and quandary of the national debate. This led some writers to suggest that Bushs credibilityis open to question. Some writers saw Bushs consideration of whether to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research as a political litmus

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41 test. During his campaign, Bush vowed to protect the sanctity of human life and reinforce pro-life values. Therefore, conservatives wondered why Bush was taking so long to declare what they hoped would be a moratorium on embryonic stem cell research. This cat and mouse game led to skepticism on part of the elite print media and perhaps the public. Journalists speculated about the delay, suggesting that it was simply spin, an effort to justify a decision already made (Cohen 2001a). Other journalists expressed that Bush was struggling with how best to appease his various supporters. Some sources quoted in this frame felt Bush was struggling to maintain political advantage and avoid political fallout, and therefore opted for a plan that would offend the least number of people and would help safeguard his political standing for his future re-election campaign. For example, one source described Bushs decision it as a cop-out, but thats his new presidency, going the middle of the road (Fountain 2001). Another contributor felt Bush defused a political time bomb that could have caused deep fissures in the relationships with conservatives and moderates in his own party (Berke 2001). The Promise Frame Journalists also used an alternate frame, the promise frame, which emphasized the promise of stem cell research. Writers using this frame relied heavily on sources from within the scientific and academic communities. The quotes from scientists and ethicists expressed that although there are strong moral and ethical considerations, the ends of stem cell research justify the means. Journalists repeatedly quoted these sources as believing that legions of ailing Americans one day could benefit from the potential therapies generated from stem cell research. Writers reiterated this point through the use of common-ground stories, namely from politicians and such well-known individuals as

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42 Nancy Reagan, Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox. These quotes humanized the issue by offering personal examples of families touched by devastating diseases. Journalists using this frame incorporated a number of specific phrases into their coverage: promise of miracle cures; nascent but promising field; fountain of youth; magical power; limitless potential; dazzling array (of new treatments); stem-cell revolution; so versatile; potential to cure disease and relieve suffering; and breakthrough therapies and cures. Rather than imply that the tissue necessary for this research was obtained from a controversial source (i.e. a fetus), writers used such phrases as: microscopic ball of cells; activated embryo; and blastocyst. Articles using the promise frame often broached the subject of when life begins but did not center on the issue. No doubt, the question over when human life truly begins is laced with uncertainty. Rather than dwell on the uncertainty behind this age-old question, writers using the promise frame touched only briefly on questions about lifes origin. The writers maintained that our inability to answer these questions definitively should not stand in the way of the research possibilities. One Washington Post article cited that the idea that an embryo has a soul is a matter of religious faith, not science, and implied that this question should not stand in the way of federal funding (Silver 2001). Writers using this frame maintained that a key distinction exists between the origin of a human being, an embryological question, and the origin of a human person, a philosophical question (Irving 1999). Indeed, no court has ever suggested that they (embryos) have human rights and it would be unethical to protect them at a sick persons expense (Weiss 2001a).

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43 The Playing God Frame Certain elements of uncertainty crept into the playing God frame, as well. However, writers using this frame stepped beyond the basic waffling of whether we should move forward with embryonic stem cell research, instead arguing that we must be sure not overstep our ethical boundaries and play God. This frame, perhaps not surprisingly, was more prevalent in articles citing conservative groups and opponents of stem cell research. Groups cited in the articles included: abortion rights opponents, conservative Republican members of Congress, the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Articles also cited opponents who argued that a tragic coarsening of consciences makes it permissible to kill so long as we intend to bring good from it. These groups were quoted as believing that our stem cell research policies should reiterate the basic principle of medicine, to do no harm. Journalists cited opponents of stem cell research as maintaining that it is morally and ethically wrong to use human embryonic tissue for research. Writers who employed the playing God described stem cells as nascent and innocent human life that must be protected, adding that the sacrifice of these unborn embryos and tiny human beings only devalues and violates human life. For example, Family Research Council president Kenneth Connor wrote that no commercial gain or scientific benefit can justify the slaughter of the innocent (Connor 2001). A few articles using this frame (mainly editorials) incorporated an element of fear through the use of specific terminology. For example, one Washington Post editorial referenced the human experimentation conducted at Auschwitz and then suggested that stem cell research could lead to scientists playing God, using cloning to provide spare human parts. Another article using this frame warned of fetal farming, suggesting that

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44 the overwhelming demand for embryos would result in for-profit businesses to breed new embryos for research. The Excess Embryos Frame The excess embryos frame was in many ways complementary to the promise frame. Journalists centered the excess embryos frame on the overproduction of embryos for infertility treatments. They cited fertility experts who express that many embryos generated for IVF are defective and can never be viable for reproductive purposes. Authors also noted that couples undergoing IVF typically end up with more embryos than are needed. This frame emphasizes that stem cell research would be able to utilize these embryos, saving them from certain destruction and unnecessary waste. This frames terminology centered on embryos, describing them in a number of ways: excess, surplus, spare, leftover, not needed, in excess of clinical need, or would otherwise be thrown away. The Economic Frame The economic frame played up the potential financial payoffs that will result from advances in stem cell research. Key terminology used in this frame included slew of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists ready to swing [the door] wide open, commercial potential, long-term growth, economically attractive, business issues, and investors. Sources Quoted An important attribute in determining frames is the sources that are quoted within articles. The researcher wanted to know with what frequency the elite newspapers quoted key players in the stem cell research debate and relied on Nisbet et al 2003 to characterize source allegiances.

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45 Table 3. Sources directly quoted within articles The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) Scientists, administrators, and science policy analysts 49 (19.3) 83 (84.7) 132 (19.6) Pro-ES cell research groups 40 (15.7) 79 (80.6) 119 (17.7) Bush administration 36 (14.2) 53 (54.1) 89 (13.2) Religious groups 23 (9.1) 38 (38.8) 61 (9.1) Ethicists 20 (7.9) 39 (39.8) 59 (8.8) Republican pro-ES cell research 19 (7.5) 36 (36.7) 55 (8.2) Anti-ES cell research groups 16 (6.3) 30 (30.6) 46 (6.8) Republican anti-ES cell research 18 (7.1) 17 (17.3) 35 (5.2) Democratic pro-ES cell research 18 (7.1) 16 (16.3) 34 (5.0) Celebrities 0 (0.0) 3 (3.1) 3 (0.4) Democratic anti-ES cell research 1 (0.4) 0 (0.0) 1 (0.1) Other 14 (5.5) 25 (25.5) 39 (5.8) Total sources 254 419 653 Scientists, Administrators and Science Policy Analysts The most oft-cited source group was that of scientists, administrators and science policy analysts, making up 19.3% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 84.7% in The New York Times, and 19.6% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Group members included stem cell research scientists like James Thomson. The group also included administrators and science policy analysts affiliated with universities, hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists were included regardless of whether they held a medical degree or a doctorate of philosophy, and whether they worked in academia or for the National Institutes of Health. Scientists working in any commercial ventures were lumped into the Pro-ES stem cell research groups, as they stood to benefit financially from any

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46 advancement in stem cell technology. Most of the time, these scientists were academic researchers who had spun off a for-profit company that they themselves headed. Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups Pro-embryonic stem cell groups were the second most-cited groups, comprising 15.7% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 80.6% in The New York Times, and 17.7% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Sources in this category included any groups who stand to profit, either financially or through potential medical cures, from advances in embryonic stem cell research. Groups included the Coalition to Advance Medical Research, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (including managing director Carl Gulbrandsen), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Parkinsons Foundation, biotechnology companies (like Geron) or their officers, and financial analysts who favor embryonic stem cell research. Bush Administration The next source group was the Bush administration, which accounted for 14.2% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 54.1% in The New York Times, and 13.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This group included George W. Bush himself; advisors, aides or spokespeople for George W. Bush; cabinet members like Tommy Thompson, director of the agency of Health and Human Services; and Karl Rove, top political adviser. Religious Groups Religious groups were the next category, making up 9.1% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 38.8% in The New York Times, and 9.1% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Members of this group included the Catholic Church,

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47 Pope John Paul II, the Vatican, National Council of Catholic Bishops (including Richard Doerflinger), and conservative Protestant groups. Ethicists The next most-frequent category was ethicists. This group made up 7.9 % of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 39.8% in The New York Times, and 8.8% of the total sources quoted in both papers and included R. Alta Charo, Leon Kass, and James Childress. The category also included any other ethicists, including those identified as sitting on advisory boards for biotechnology companies (as opposed to including them in the pro-embryonic stem cell groups category with other biotechnology interests.) Republican Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Sources from the Republican pro-embryonic stem cell research category comprised 7.5% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 36.7% in The New York Times, and 5.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This category included Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch, Strom Thurmond, Bill Frist, Connie Mack, John McCain, Jim Ramstad, Nancy Johnson, and Susan Collins, as well as any state-level GOP supporters opposed to ES cell research. Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Groups Another source category was called anti-embryonic stem cell groups, which accounted for 6.3% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 30.6% in The New York Times, and 6.8% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Group members included the National Right to Life League, American Life League, and Family Research Council organizations, as well as their officers and representatives.

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48 Republican Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research The Republican anti-embryonic stem cell research source category accounted for 7.1% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 17.3% in The New York Times, and 5.2% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Sources included Congressional members Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts, Sam Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon, and Tom Delay. The category also included any state-level congressional members who were mentioned in coverage. Democratic Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Democratic pro-embryonic stem cell research sources made up 7.1% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 16.3% in The New York Times, and 5.0% of the total sources quoted in both papers. This group included Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Nita Lowey, Richard Gephardt, Henry Waxman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Jim McDermott, as well as any state-level Democratic supporters. Celebrities Another category was celebrities, although members of this group made up only 3.1% of sources within New York Times articles and 0.4% of the total sources quoted in both papers. Celebrities were not quoted in any Washington Post articles. Well-known public figures who support ES cell research including Michael J. Fox, Nancy Reagan and Christopher Reeve are included in this group. Democratic Anti-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Nisbet et al (2003) also named a Democratic anti-embryonic stem cell research group, which they listed as including Ronnie Shows, Nick Rahall, Bart Stupak, Jim Barcia, Dale Kildee, Christopher John, Solomon Ortiz, Mike McIntyre, David Phelps,

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49 and Ike Skelton. However, only one Democratic opponent appeared among all articles examined, within a single Washington Post article (0.4% of quotes within Washington Post articles and 0.1% of quotes within all articles). Other Sources Several sources could not be classified into the above categories and were tallied in an other category. These sources included political advisers whose stance on ES-cell research was not articulated, any members of the Clinton administration, and literary or historical figures like Aldous Huxley and Thomas Jefferson (the latter were mainly quoted in editorials). These other sources totaled 5.5% of independent sources quoted in The Washington Post, 25.5% in The New York Times, and 5.8% of the overall sources in both papers. Definition and Characterization of Stem Cell Research The researcher also was interested in how stem cell research was defined and explained, including how the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research were characterized. The researcher believes that if people are to understand the central issues of the debate, then they must have at least a basic appreciation for the technology and terminology. Specifically, the researcher looked first at whether each article attempted to define stem cell research in any way. For example, some articles gave a basic explanation like stem cells are the basic building blocks of the body with no further explanation anywhere in the article. Other articles gave a more technical, in-depth descriptions that included details on the sources of stem cells, how they are isolated and grown, and their potential usefulness. For example:

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50 hematopoietic stem cells are the source in the bone marrow from which a constant stream of red and white blood cells is produced throughout a persons life. Like embryonic stem cells, they can renew themselves indefinitely, but their potential is restricted to making just the cells of the blood system (Wade 2001a). Just over half (50.7%) of the articles in The Washington Post gave a basic definition of stem cell research, 11% percent gave an in-depth definition, and 38.0% offered no definition at all. In The New York Times, 37.8% of the articles gave a basic definition, 22.4% percent gave an in-depth definition, and 40.0% offered no definition at all. Table 4. Definition and characterization of stem cell research The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) Basic 37 (50.7) 37 (37.8) 74 (43.2) In-depth 8 (11.0) 22 (22.4) 30 (17.5) None 28 (38.0) 39 (40.0) 67 (39.2) On a secondary level, the researcher looked at whether the articles highlighted any of the ethical/moral implications of stem cell research. More specifically, the researcher looked at whether the article touched on two key points: (1) that embryos must be destroyed, sacrificed, or killed in order to extract embryonic stem cells; and (2) that in vitro fertility treatments are result in discarded, excess, or spare embryos that are not needed, in excess of clinical need, or would otherwise be thrown away. A majority of articles in both papers highlighted the ethical implications, with The Washington Post ringing in at 68.5% and The New York Times at 66.3%. Specifically, 71.2% of Washington Post articles and 67.3% of New York Times articles mentioned embryo destruction, while 60.2% of Washington Post articles and 55.1% of New York Times articles referred to surplus IVF embryos.

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51 Table 5. Ethical/moral implications The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) Overall implications 50 (68.49) 65 (66.3) 115 (67.3) Embryo destruction 52 (71.2) 66 (67.3) 118 (69.0) IVF surplus embryos 44 (60.2) 54 (55.1) 99 (57.9) Finally, on a tertiary level, the researcher looked at whether articles made specific reference to adult or embryonic stem cells (as opposed to simply using the generic term stem cells) and whether articles made a direct comparison of these two main cell types, detailing their respective uses, strengths and weaknesses. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson was quoted in one Washington Post article about this issue: There has never been the research done comparing adult [umbilical] cord blood and embryonic stem cells to determine what are the qualities, what are the abilities of these stem cells (Weiss 2001c). Other articles made explicit comparisons: While considered inferior by many scientists, adults [sic] cells may turn out to be as useful as those obtained from embryos without posing the problem of having to destroy embryos to get them, [ethicists] argued (Connolly 2001a). The most detailed delineation between adult and embryonic stem cells came from a New York Times reporter who crafted a 3,555-word piece titled Teaching the body to heal itself; Work on cells signals fosters talk of a new medicine. Embryonic stem cells are created in the very early embryo; from them, all the bodies tissues and organs are generated. Once the body is formed, the embryonic stem cells disappear, leaving behind a few descendants to keep the body in good repair through its lifetime. These descendants, often called adult stem cells, apparently lack the embryonic stem cells power of generating any and all of the bodys tissues. Nor can they renew themselves indefinitely, as can embryonic stem cells grown in glassware (Wade 2000).

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52 In all, 35.6% of Washington Post articles mentioned used the term adult stem cells, 72.6% used the term embryonic stem cells, and 28.8% made a direct comparison between the two. The numbers were similar among New York Times articles with 34.7% using the term adult stem cells, 81.6% using the term embryonic stem cells, and 24.5% comparing the two. Table 6. Adult versus embryonic stem cell research The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) Adult stem cells 26 (35.6) 34 (34.7) 60 (35.1) Embryonic stem cells 53 (72.6) 80 (81.6) 133 (77.8) Adult vs. embryonic stem cells 21 (28.8) 24 (24.5) 45 (26.3) Cloning The researcher wanted to know how frequently cloning was cited. The researcher felt it was important to examine whether articles this issue since the use of the term cloning can cause confusion among some readers, who may not realize the differences inherent between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Just under a quarter of the articles mentioned cloning (21.9% of Washington Post articles, 24.5% of New York Times articles, and 23.4% of all articles). Table 7. References to human cloning The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) 16 (21.9) 24 (21.9) 40 (23.4) Some articles cited specific concern over reproductive cloning, i.e. creating exact replicas of existing humans, noting that the majority of scientists oppose such technology. Other articles featured concerns, but in a more general sense. For example, one New York

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53 Times editorial opposed cloning because it threatens to destroy what is genuinely unique about each human being (Wolfe 2001). Some reporters also quoted Bush as being opposed to cloning in its generic sense, while others clarified that this meant Bush opposed human cloning for any purpose, including research, and he urged researchers to explore the potential of stem cells derived from adults (Wolfe 2001; Goldstein 2001). Additional articles took great care to explain the differences between reproductive and therapeutic cloning. For example, therapeutic cloning is when an embryo would be created from a patients cells to make life-saving tissue (McNeil 2001). Some went into even further detail on therapeutic cloning: The purpose of such cloning is not to create a baby but to use a patients own cells to create embryos from which stem cells can be obtained. Such cells would grow into tissue matching that of the patient, so the patients immune system would not reject transplants (Pollack 2001). United States versus Other Nations Finally, the researcher wanted to know how frequently articles mentioned stances taken by other nations or alluded to the threat of the United States being left behind. The researcher felt it was important to look for discussion of a possible brain drain, because such an event could mean that the United States would fall behind other nations and lose its hard-earned reputation as a scientific bellwether. In total, 8.2% of Washington Post articles, 11.2% of New York Times articles and 9.9% of all articles from both papers touched on this point. The majority of articles that gave at least a cursory description of international stem cell policies did so at or near the end of articles.

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54 Table 8. References to other nations The Washington Post, n=73 (%) The New York Times, n=98 (%) Total articles, n=171 (%) 6 (8.2) 11 (11.2) 17 (9.9) Certain articles merely noted what was going on in other nations, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions as to what this might mean for the United States: Among nations, only Britain has set up a legal mechanism that allows the creation of new embryos for research, with strict rules governing the kinds of experiments that are eligible. To date, none have been used to create stem cells (Weiss 2001b). Other articles commented that Swedens political climate is benign for stem cell research and that India has no religious, cultural, political or social barriers to this research. Some editorials lauded stances taken by other nations. For example, Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics Netscape, Healtheon (now WebMD) and myCFO, penned a New York Times editorial presenting his reasons for withholding the reamaining $60 million of his outstanding $150 million pledge to Stanford University to create a center for biomedical engineering and science at Stanford. He noted that the United Kingdom has chosen to regulate nonreproductive cloning, a move which he deemed more rational than the United States policy to ban it outright (Clark 2001). Still other articles cited that the United States policy may put it at a disadvantage. For example, one of Americas top stem cell researchers, Roger Pedersen, was fleeing to England in order to escape an unfriendly climate in the United States and to maximize [his] potential. One news articles lead reiterated this point: An unexpected new order of powers has emerged, at least in the field of human embryonic stem cell research. The roster, say scientists who back the research, is evidence of the inventiveness of the newcomers but also shows how much the usual

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55 powerhouses of biomedical research in the United States and Europe have been held back by political and ethical debate (Wade 2001b). However, this article also includes the caveat that some nations arent maximizing their potential either. For example, British biologists developed the technique for growing embryonic stem cells from mouse embryos, the underpinning of the methods that other have used with human cells, but they have yet to derive human embryonic stem cells. One Washington Post article offered the most in-depth look at the international ramifications. The headline proclaimed India plans to fill void in stem cell research; Scientists say restrictions in U.S. may give them advantage in development (Lakshmi 2001). The author elaborated, stating that India had not established policies governing stem cell research, which left the door wide open for interested researchers. The author quoted one source saying that Bushs announcement of the limited U.S. policy opened a new pot of gold for India science and business. The author cited that public debate in India had been minimal, in part because most Indians are not aware of the research or its controversial nature but also because of the nations differing values; Our society is liberal in areas of scientific work. We will not face any opposition, said one Indian biologist. The author closed the article with the caveat that although India allows scientists greater latitude, the nation is not likely to surpass other leading scientific nations; The work here is still in its infancy and futuristic experimentsare a low priority in a country in which millions of people have no access to basic health care, the author wrote. The author of a Washington Post editorial also reassured that despite the positions

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56 of other nations, the United States does not risk being left behind: If the United States doesnt lead, the rest of the world is not going to do much either (Cohen 2001b).

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads the newspaper on a regular basis that the issue of stem cell research has been and continues to be a pivotal and hotly contested topic. The technologys touted promise means that it could shift the way we treat disease, moving us into an era of regenerative medicine. Of course, we also know that not everyone endorses this new technology. The way in which the elite media have covered the debate can give us an interesting glimpse into the evolution of this pressing public policy issue. Frame Analysis Frame use shifted over time. In many earlier articles, journalists utilized the promise frame, likely as a direct result of the newly available federal funds for stem cell research. Journalists then shifted to using the battle/debate and uncertainty as a conservative, pro-life Republican president prepared to take office. Journalists highlighted Bushs extended debate over whether or not to allow federal funding, which equated to prolonged reliance of the battle/debate and uncertainty frames. It was at this point that coverage began to use the playing God frame, as opponents of ES cell research voiced their opposition of ES cell research funding. Newspaper coverage following Bushs decision was also dominated by the uncertainty frame. In numerous articles, writers debated whether Bushs allowances would be enough. Concerns were mentioned about whether adult stem cells held the same promise as ES cells. Others 57

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58 writers questioned if the 64 existing cell lines eligible for federal funding would prove viable and readily available to scientists. Use of Uncertainty and Battle/Debate As described in the results section, authors favored uncertainty as a primary frame, evidenced by the fact that this frame appeared most frequently (40.4% of all articles.) Journalists relied most heavily on the uncertainty frame in hard news coverage (43.3% of all news stories), indicating that stem cell research can be seen as an emergent science. Susanna Hornig Priest described emergent science as science whose truth has not yet been settled by consensus, either scientific or public (Priest 1999, p. 97). She stated that emergent science is almost always dubbed newsworthy. The repeated appearance of stem cell research on the front pages certainly confirms this. As was mentioned in the results section, the uncertainty frame evolved over time. In later coverage, journalists included quotes from pro-ES cell groups that questioned whether Bushs policy would allow scientists enough leeway. The quotes expressed doubt over whether the 60-odd cell lines that Bush approved would provide scientists enough latitude. Perhaps journalists opted for those quotes because they were hearing many voices argue that sufficient is not the same as excellent. After all, is sufficient performance enough to truly succeed in a cutting-edge field? In this country, we strive for superlative, not average, performance, both in our independent lives and at a national level. The latter is especially true when it comes to science and technology. A glance back at the space race reminds us of this. The uncertainty frame related closely to the battle/debate frame, which was the second most prevalent frame and accounted for 32.2% of all articles. As is the case in many battles, it was unclear which side might emerge victorious in the stem cell debate.

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59 Ultimately, journalists portrayed Bush as choosing a middle ground where the warring parties could meet. It could be said that Bushs compassionate conservatism had morphed into a new breed, that of calculated conservatism. Coverage reflected that Bushs announcement to supply federal funds for limited embryonic stem cell research quelled the debate temporarily as both sides sought to understand what Bushs policy would mean for their cause. However in the long run, coverage focused on the fact that Bushs policy only intensified the uncertainty and renewed the battle. Journalists featured stakeholders on both sides who continued to push for revised policies and thus prolonged the debate. It is perhaps not surprising that journalists writing about stem cell research tended to rely most heavily on frames of uncertainty and battle/debate. Indeed, studies show that the rate of scientific uncertainty in the media is increasing (Friedman, Dunwoody, and Rogers 1999). Friedman has argued that experts on each side of an issue introduce elements of uncertainty in an effort to sway public opinion. However rather than skirt murky issues, the Association for Health Care Journalists code of ethics urges science writers to clearly define and communicate areas of doubt and uncertainty. This seems the best tact when covering stem cell research, since the subtle nuances must be understood fully before one can form a truly educated opinion on the issue. It is likely that the writers of the various articles wanted to show readers that two distinct sides of the issue existed. So often, we hear that media writers are taught to write fair and balanced coverage. By citing ideologies on both sides of the stem cell debate, writers fulfilled this media ideal, at least to a certain extent. While it is important that the media provide balanced, accurate and complete information on a subject, declaring

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60 support or opposition for complex issues can help clarify ongoing debate and bring potential resolution. Hertog and McLeod (2001) refer to this as the resolution phase. However, it should be noted that although articles featured both sides of the debate, coverage was by no means equal; certain themes and voices appeared repeatedly. For example, one voice that seemed to appear more frequently than all other conservative sources was that of Richard Doerflinger. Like other religious leaders, he clamored that we should not move forward with this technology since we cannot be certain we are not destroying nascent human lives. This is not the first time this tact has been used in public debate. Many of the central arguments that conservatives were quoted using in this debate hearken to those used to protest abortion. Hertog and McLeod (2001) suggest that frames are often recycled from one media topic to another. Indeed, controversies over science and technology persist, and the same issues keep reoccurring in changing forms (Nelkin 1995). On a basic level, journalistic coverage suggests that many conservatives view stem cell research as a pro-life issue. However, certain otherwise pro-life conservatives have come out in support of embryonic stem cell research and have been featured prominently in the media. In fact, journalists quoted these sources as saying that supporting embryonic stem cell research is indeed in-line with pro-life fundamentals, as the technology could ultimately result in disease therapies benefiting millions of Americans. The idea that one could sit on either side of the fence on the stem cell issue and still be pro-life is perhaps not as surprising as it may sound. In fact, it can be a useful tool in public debate: social groups may exhibit different ideologies and yet apply the same frame to a particular topic (Hertog and McLeod 2001, p.144).

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61 Overwhelmingly, though, the elite medias coverage of stem cell research tended to be positive. Staff writers took care to highlight both sides of the debate, although they tended to feature sources in favor of embryonic stem cell research more frequently than those who opposed it. Journalists might touch on the controversies over stem cell research, but the language they used tended to play up the promise more than the potential pitfalls. It is difficult to say whether this pattern can be seen as good or bad. In some ways, journalists proclivity to play up the positive could be seen as critical to advancing public discussion of the issue and resulting policy. Use of Other Frames Authors used a number of other frames, including the playing God and promise frames, both of which included quotations from polar sources. In playing God stories, writers favored conservative sources such as the Catholic Church and abortion rights opponents while in promise stories, writers quoted more liberal sources such as academics and patient advocacy groups. As was mentioned in the results section, journalists using the promise frame often relied on personal testimonials, which may help build rapport with readers since just about everyone has a family member or friend who might benefit from the potential therapies expected to emerge from in stem cell research. Writers using the promise frame tended to discuss the arguments behind when life begins, whereas those using the playing God frame often skirted the issue and simply maintained that all life, no matter how microscopic, was sacred. It is possible that writers using the promise frame were attempting to downplay the moral elements of the technology by dealing head on with the issue of when life truly begins: if the controversy could be abated then perhaps support for the issue would intensify.

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62 Stakeholder Analysis Stakeholders in support of embryonic stem cell research were quoted by journalists with greater frequency than stakeholders who oppose embryonic stem cell research (82 anti-ES sources vs. 208 pro-ES sources among 171 total articles). This may, in part, be due to the fact that public opinion research polls showed that a majority of Americans actually supported stem cell research. The media articles may simply have been reflecting the dominant opinion on the topic. Scientists and science policy analysts made up a large chunk of all sources quoted by writers (132 science sources among 171 total articles). This is perhaps not surprising. Firstly, stem cell research is an emergent science, as described by Priest. This means that a majority of the American public does not understand the subtle nuances of the technology or terminology. Thus, it behooves reporters to rely on scientific sources to help fill in the blanks and explain the burgeoning new field to novice readers. Secondly, the literature shows that journalists tend to favor elite sources like scientists when crafting stories. Journalists relied on certain other stakeholders repeatedly throughout coverage. For example, Richard Doerflinger of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops was quoted a number of times, perhaps because his group has been very vocal in its opposition to embryonic stem cell research. In fact, the Catholic Church was cited more frequently than any other religious group in its opposition to embryonic stem cell research. Also cited frequently were Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch and Strom Thurmond. These otherwise-conservative Republicans were lobbying in support of embryonic stem cell research, an apparent affront to party lines. This multi-layered controversy made them attractive sources for journalists. Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells Oftentimes, journalists used the generic term stem cell research in news articles, which can be seen as exceedingly problematic. This umbrella term does not give the reader critical contextual information about the source of the stem cells. Stakeholders on

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63 both sides of the stem cell issue have been frustrated by the medias use of this all-inclusive term. Many conservative groups, for example, support adult stem cell research but oppose embryonic stem cell research. Does this mean they are for stem cell research or against it? It all depends on what kind of stem cell research one is talking about. Meanwhile, pro-research groups often believe that one must be pro-ES cell research in order to be considered in favor of stem cell research. No apparent difference existed between how each newspaper delineated adult stem cell research from embryonic stem cell research. It is somewhat surprising that the delineation rate was so low. As described in the background section, large differences exist between embryonic and adult stem cells, namely in source and potential for research. This lack of delineation could lead to greater confusion of the issues among readers. Cloning and Stem Cell Research The Washington Post referenced human cloning in 21.9% of its articles (16 of 73 articles) while The New York Times referenced it in 24.5% of its articles (24 of 98 articles). In most articles that cited human cloning, journalists made a brief attempt to differentiate it from stem cell research. However, this could have been done in a much more exacting manner in a greater number of articles. By specifying that stem cell research and human cloning are entirely separate, journalists could have staved off some of the controversy over stem cell research funding. For example, many supporters of stem cell research argue that the process of creating stem cells (sometimes known as therapeutic cloning) is not the same thing as creating human beings (also known as reproductive cloning). However, if no clear distinction between these technologies is

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64 made, readers may assume that all stem cell research means that scientists are acting out science-fiction fantasies and reproducing human beings. United StatesGlobal Leader or Lagging Behind? Writers for The Washington Post referenced other nations in 8.2% of articles (6 of 73 articles) while New York Times writers referenced them in 11.22% of articles (11 of 98 articles). Overall, it did not seem that writers from either paper were overly concerned with how the efforts in the United States might stack up to those of other countries. This is somewhat disturbing, for a number of reasons: Other countries around the world will pay a great deal of attention to what the United States does in its domestic law. If an international consensus on the regulation of certain biotechnologies is ever to take shape, it is unlikely to come about in the absence of American action at the domestic level (Fukuyama 2002, p.11). So by not acting decisively, the United States may slow scientific progress across the globe. Of course, other outcomes are possible. For many years, the United States has prided itself on being at the cutting edge of scientific research. Some supporters of stem cell research fear that if our policies lag behind those of other nations then the United States will simple get left behind as other nations forge ahead. Along these lines, some scientists and analysts fear that a conservative stem cell research policy could lead to a brain drain, where talented stem cell researchers would leave the United States for foreign shores where they could conduct their researcher unfettered by restrictive policies. Conclusions Although this study may appear dated to some readers (the dataset stretches back nearly five years), it is anything but old news. At the time this analysis was completed (Summer 2005), stem cell research continued to be a dominant topic in the current news.

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65 The initial debates over stem cell research and Bushs policy were truncated by the events of September 11 th. Rightfully so, the nation found it had more important issues to consider than federal policies governing the funding of embryonic stem cell research. However given time, the media agenda has evolved to again include stem cell research as a prominent feature. Overall, the topic of stem cell research framing in the elite newspapers carries great importance. As mentioned earlier, stem cell research has the potential to transform the medical field entirely. Despite the previously discussed ethical risks surrounding the advance of stem cell research, it is equally important to consider what will occur if we do no move forward in this area. This idea has been echoed by Chris MacDonald, an ethicist at Dalhousie University, who said, In the field of biotechnology, nothing short of inaction can guarantee that we wont make decisions that end up seeming, in retrospect, to have been mistakes (MacDonald 2001). Overbearing policy will greatly hinder scientific progress, preventing therapies and cures for a vast array of medical conditions and diseases from ever being realized. In the meantime, scientists in other countries will be hard at work making these specific discoveries. In her 2002 study of stem cell policies in the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Canada, Zimmerman found this: The United States is in the curious position of having been in the forefront of human embryonic stem cell research, yet now having the most restrictive regulatory regime of the four countries surveyed (Zimmerman 2002, p. 78). At first blush, this seems benign. The discoveries can always be applied within the U.S. However, it likely would take longer for potential therapies to be implemented; therapies developed outside the U.S. often trigger greater skepticism and a longer review

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66 process by the FDA. In all, it is important to study the specific framing of this issue as it has the power to influence the subsequent public policy decisions made in this country. The bottom line is that the uncertainty surrounding stem cell research has made it challenging to establish lasting policies. The trouble is that science progresses at a rate far faster than the policies that should guide it. In the words of Bertrand Russell, The central problem of our age is how to act decisively in the absence of certainty. Perhaps the media, by conveying the central elements of the debate, can help to resolve this promising but controversial issue. Limitations and Future Research This study attempted a comprehensive look at how elite papers have framed stem cell research. However, the study was not without its limitations. While the study looked in-depth at what key terms were used and what sources were quotes, it did not consider the placement of these various attributes within the story. For example, journalism schools teach journalists to follow the inverted pyramid format, placing the most critical elements of a story near the top and the less important elements later on. Thus, a source quoted in the first three paragraphs would carry more weight than a quote buried at the end. In relation to sources, the study looked only at sources given direct quotes within articles. A complete picture would include an examination of paraphrased quotes, as well as shareholder groups that were mentioned but not quoted. Therefore, future studies might seek to identify which sources were paraphrased versus directly quoted, as well as the placement of key attributes within individual stories. Another limitation revolved around the examination of cloning in coverage. If a story mentioned cloning in any way, the researcher noted this. However, the researcher did not delineate between quotes from conservatives afraid of potential baby factories

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67 and supporters who lobbied for therapeutic cloning. Future studies would do better to establish clearer measurement tools for this question. Another limitation of this study was that it merely took a snapshot of existing coverage and lacked the ability to confirm any possible effects of this coverage. A reader-effects study would be useful here. Subjects could be asked to read various articles featuring stem cell research, completing preand post-test analyses that would gauge their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on selected stem-cell issues. The details of this study aside, the topic no doubt lends itself to further exploration. Examining articles of 100 to 500 words could be insightful since many Americans tend to get their news from shorter stories. However, these same stories would offer less space for detailing this complex issue. It would be interesting to see if authors were able to distill critical elements into a succinct synopsis. It also might be useful to study the framing of elite newspapers in other regions of the U.S. (Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.), rather than just the East Coast. Because the papers examined in this study tended to frame the topic in a more progressive and liberal manner, a study of newspapers in more traditionally conservative climates like the Midwest and the South could yield different results. And finally, in countries such as England and Sweden, the governments already have tackled the thorny issues surrounding stem cell research and have introduced regulatory measures and legislation. An alternate perspective could be achieved by studying elite newspapers in other countries.

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APPENDIX A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET 1. Newspaper: 2. Date: 3. Day: 4. Headline: 5. Authors name and affiliation: Staff Guest/Freelance Wire Syndicate 6. Part of series? (0) No (1) Yes 7. Word count: 8. Section and page: 9. Geographic level: Local State National Intl. 10. Type of item: News Feature Opinion Other 11. Graphic element(s)? List caption and/or description: 12. Lead 13. Main topic of story: 14. Secondary topic(s): 15. Key term(s) used in the article: 16. Sources used in story for direct quotation(s): REP Anti-ES REP pro-ES DEM o pp onent DEM su pp orte r President and Cabinet Govt body Pro-ES Scientists & anal y sts Religious g rou p s Anti-ES Ethicists Other 17. Does the article define stem cell research at all?: (0) No (1) Yes 18. If yes was selected in the previous question, was the research defined (1) on a basic level; or (2) on a more detailed level? 19. Does the article outline potential implications (e.g. moral or ethical)?: (0) No (1) Yes 20. Does the article mention the destruction of embryos in any way?: (0) No (1) Yes 68

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69 21. Does the article mention discarded or excess embryos from in vitro fertility treatments?: (0) No (1) Yes 22. Does the article refer to the potential of stem cell research to yield treatment for specific disease(s)? (0) No (1) Yes If yes, list which ones: 23. Does the article use the term human cloning or allude to this procedure? (0) No (1) Yes 24. Does the article use the term adult stem cells or stem cells derived from adult cells? (0) No (1) Yes 25. Does the article use the term embryonic stem cells or stem cells derived from human embryos? (0) No (1) Yes 26. Does the article delineate between embryonic and adult stem cells research? (0) No (1) Yes 27. Does the article mention stances taken by other nations and/or mention the threat that the U.S. may be left behind? (0) No (1) Yes _____________________________ Frame analysis Primary frame: Secondary frame(s):

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APPENDIX B INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE CODING SHEET 1. Record the name of the newspaper. You may use the abbreviations NYT for The New York Times and WP for The Washington Post. 2. List the date of the article in standard format: MM/DD/YYYY. 3. List the day of the week on which the article ran using the following abbreviations: Sunday (U); Monday (M); Tuesday (T); Wednesday (W); Thursday (R); Friday (F); and Saturday (A). 4. List the headline, exactly as it appears. Be sure to include any unique capitalization or punctuation. 5. List the authors name, as listed in the byline. Identify the authors affiliation (staff, guest/freelance, wire, or syndicate). If no affiliation is listed, assume that the writer is a staff writer. 6. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes to indicate whether this article was part of a series. If yes, then indicate which part of the series and then list the series editors name. 7. List the word count, if available. 8. List the section and page number where the article ran. List the section letter (i.e. A, B, C, etc.) and/or the section name (Financial, World, etc.), depending on what is available. Examples: A-1; Financial-1. 9. Circle whether this was a local, state, national or international piece. The scope should be determined by looking at the main focus of the piece, as well as the sources quoted within the piece. A local piece will include sources primarily from the local area (mayor, citizens, etc.) and will emphasize the effect of the story at the city or county level. A state piece may include quotes from the governor, members of the state house or senate, or other state-level officials. Both national and international pieces will likely include quotes from the president and/or his cabinet, as well as members of the House and Senate. International pieces will likely include sources from other countries (e.g. scientists) or may simply discuss the implications of stem cell research on an international level. 10. Circle whether this was a news, feature, opinion, or other type of piece. 70

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71 11. Note graphic elements using the following abbreviations: (0) none; (1) photograph; (2) graph; (3) illustration; (4) pull quote; or (5) other (explain). List caption and/or describe. 12. Often, the lead is the first paragraph, although it can be delayed and appear later as a nut graph within the first several paragraphs. Just record the paragraph that best captures the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story. 13. After reading the entire story, identify the main topic of story. Examples include a new scientific discovery or a discussion of possible public policy decisions. 14. Identify secondary topic(s), if applicable. For example, articles with a main topic of scientific discovery may have economic impact as a secondary topic. 15. Identify key terms that are used in the article. Look for words that connote any additional meaning or are emotionally charged. For example, the words blastocyst and embryo can both describe the same life stage but carry very different connotations. Along with blastocyst, note any other scientific terms like hematopoetic. Along with embryo, note any other charged words like pro-life or anti-life. Other key terms might include the predicted outcomes of the technology, i.e. the promise or peril of stem cell research. 16. Identify the number of unique sources used in direct quotations using the following allegiances, which are drawn from Nisbet et al 2003: GOP Opponents Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, J.C. Watts, Sam Brownback, Jay Dickey, Dave Weldon, Tom Delay, and other GOP members. May also include state-level as opposed to national-level senators or representatives. GOP supporters Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch, Strom Thurmond, Bill Frist, Connie Mack, John McCain, Jim Ramstad, Nancy Johnson, Susan Collins and other GOP supporters. May also include state-level as opposed to national-level senators or representatives. Democratic opponents Ronnie Shows, Nick Rahall, Bart Stupak, Jim Barcia, Dale Kildee, Christopher John, Solomon Ortiz, Mike McIntyre, David Phelps, or Ike Skelton. May also include state-level as opposed to national-level senators or representatives. Democratic supporters Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Nita Lowey, Richard Gephardt, Henry Waxman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jim McDermott and other Democratic supporters. May also include state-level as opposd to national-level senators or representatives. President and his cabinet George W. Bush himself; advisors, aides or spokespeople for George W. Bush; cabinet members like Tommy Thompson,

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72 director of the agency of Health and Human Services; and Karl Rove, top political adviser. Pro-embryonic stem cell research groups or individuals Groups who stand to profit, either financially or through potential medical cures. This category includes the Coalition to Advance Medical Research, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (including managing director Carl Gulbrandsen), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Parkinsons Foundation, biotechnology companies (like Geron) or their officers, and financial analysts who favor embryonicstem cell research. Celebrities Well-known public figures who support ES cell research including Michael J. Fox, Nancy Reagan and Christopher Reeve. Scientists and analysts James Thomson and other scientists. Also includes administrators and science policy analysts who are affiliated with universities, hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Institutes of Health or the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists should be included regardless of whether they hold an M.D. or Ph.D. or whether they work in academia or for the National Institutes of Health. Religious groups Catholic Church, Pope, Vatican, National Council of Catholic Bishops (including Richard Doerflinger), and conservative Protestant groups. Anti-embryonic stem cell research groups National Right to Life League, American Life League, or Family Research Council. Ethicists R. Alta Charo, Leon Kass, James Childress, or other bioethicists. Any ethicists who sit on advisory boards for biotechnology companies should be counted in this category, as opposed to being counted inthe pro-embryonic stem cell category. Other Political advisers whose stance on ES-cell research is not articulated. Members of the Clinton administration. Also may include literary or historical figures like Aldous Huxley, Thomas Jefferson, or figures from history or works of literature. Simply put a hatch mark for each new source that is introduced. For example, if Tommy Thompson, director of Health and Human Services, is quoted more than once in an article (either directly quoted or paraphrased), include only one hatch mark in the Bush administration box. If multiple sources of equal rank are quoted directly, give each source a hatch mark. For example, if Senators Strom Thurmond, Connie Mack and Arlen Specter are all quoted within the same article, place three hatch marks in the box where marked Republican pro-ES cell research.

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73 Any statement attributed to a person or group and nestled between quotation marks should be counted as a direct quote regardless of length. For example, direct quotes limited to brief phrases of two to five words still should be considered direct quotes. 17. List whether the article defines stem cell research in any way. The article may use technical language and take a paragraph or more to explain the technology, or the article may include just a short, lay-language definition that is one sentence or less. In either of these scenarios, circle (1) Yes. 18. If the answer to the previous question was yes, then categorize the definition of stem cell research. If the explanation was brief and on a basic level, circle (1) Basic. For example, if the article states that stem cells are the basic building blocks of the body and gives no further explanation, circle (1) Basic. If the article offers a more detailed, in-depth description of how stem cells are harvested, cloned, grown, etc. then circle (2) Detailed. For example: hematopoietic stem cells are the source in the bone marrow from which a constant stream of red and white blood cells is produced throughout a persons life. Like embryonic stem cells, they can renew themselves indefinitely, but their potential is restricted to making just the cells of the blood system (Wade 2001). 19. Determine whether the article outlines the ethical or moral implications in any way (use the following two questions to help you make this determination). Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. 20. Note whether the article mentions that embryos must be destroyed in order to extract embryonic stem cells. Other terminology may include: sacrificing, killing, or taking a human life. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. 21. Note whether the article mentions that embryos leftover from in vitro fertility treatments are often discarded. Other terminology may refer to these embryos in a number of ways: excess, surplus, spare, not needed, in excess of clinical need, or would otherwise be thrown away. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. 22. Indicate whether the article refers to the potential of stem cell research to yield treatment for specific disease(s). Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. If yes, then indicate which diseases. 23. Does the article mention human cloning or allude to this procedure? (0) No (1) Yes 24. Does the article use the term adult stem cells or stem cells derived from adult cells? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. 25. Does the article use the term embryonic stem cells or stem cells derived from human embryos? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes.

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74 26. Indicate whether the article delineates between embryonic and adult stem cell research in any way. For example, does it clarify how the cells differ in origin or in application? Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. 27. Indicate whether the article mentions policy or stances on stem cell research taken by other nations and/or the threat that the U.S. may be left behind. Circle (0) No or (1) Yes. _____________________________ Frame Analysis: After reading through the article, determine what primary frame was used. Often this can be reduced to a short catch-phrase (e.g., horse race) although you may use longer phrases or descriptive words if necessary. In order to determine the frame used, you will need to take into account the main topic of the story and key terminology. Also consider which sources are quoted and where in the story the sources are featured. Some stories may feature a secondary frame. If so, please record this.

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78 Hertog, J., and D. McLeod. 2001. A multiperspectival approach to framing analysis: A field guide. In Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World, edited by S. Reese, O. Gandy and A. Grant. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Hovland, D. and W. Weiss. 1951. The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly 15: 635-50. Hwang, W. S., Y. J. Ryu, et al. 2004. Evidence of a pluripotent human embryonic stem cell line derived from a cloned blastocyst. Science 303: 1669-1674. Irving, D. 1999. When do human beings begin. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 19 (3-4):22-46. Iyengar, S. 1991. Is anyone responsible? How television frames political issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kaplan, K. 2005. Study says all stem cell lines tainted. Los Angeles Times: Jan. 24. Kass, L.R. 2003. Biotechnology: a house divided / a reply. Public Interest 150: 38-62. Kolata, G. 1995. Crucial advance made in blood cell research. The New York Times, Jan. 26. LaFollette, M. 1995. Editorial -wielding history like a hammer. Science Communication. 16: 235-241. Lakshmi, Rama. 2001. India plans to fill void in stem cell research; Scientists say restrictions in U.S. may give them advantage in development. The Washington Post: Aug. 28. Lindlof, B.C. and T.R. Taylor. 2002. Qualitative Communication Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. MacDonald, C. 2001. Stem cells: A pluripotent challenge. BioScan 13(4): 7-8. Martin, M.J., A. Muotri, F. Gage and A. Varki. 2005. Human embryonic stem cells express an immunogenic nonhuman sialic acid. Nature Medicine. Advance online publication, Jan. 30: 1-5. McCombs, M. and D.L. Shaw. 1973. The agenda-setting function of the mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly. 36(2): 176-187. McNeil, D. G. 2001. In a tiny room in Sweden, a large trove of stem cells. The New York Times: Aug. 29. Miller, J. D. 1987. Scientific literacy in the United States. In Communicating Science to the Public. Editede by D. Evered and M. O'Connor. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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79 Miller, J.D. and L. Kimmel. 2001. Biomedical Communications: Purposes, Audiences, and Strategies. New York: Academic Press. Miller, J.D., R. Pardo, and F. Niwa. 1997. Public Perceptions of Science and Technology: A Comparative Study of the European Union, the United States, Japan and Canada. Chicago: Chicago Academy of Sciences. Miller, M., and B. Reichert. 2001. The spiral of opportunity and frame resonance: Mapping the issue cycle in news and public discourse. In Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World, edited by S. Reese, O. Gandy and A. Grant. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. National Public Radio. 2001. Talk of the Nation/Science Friday. Ira Flatow, moderator: March 2. National Science Board. 2002. Science and Engineering Indicators 2002. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Nelkin, D. 1995. Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. Nisbet, M.C. 2004. Public opinion about stem cell research and human cloning. Public Opinion Quarterly. 68(1): 131-154. Nisbet, M.C., D. Brossard and A. Kroepsch. 2003. Framing science: the stem cell controversy in an age of press/politics. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics. 8(2): 36-70. Nisbet, M.C., D.A. Scheufele, et al. 2002. Knowledge, reservations or promise? A media effects model for public perceptions of science and technology. Communication Research. 29(5): 584-608. Office of the Press Secretary. 2004. Remarks by President Bush and Senator Kerry in second 2004 presidential debate. St. Louis, MO: Oct. 9. Pianin, E. 2001. House speaker reveals opposition to stem cell research. The Washington Post July 30. Pollack, A. 2001. The promise in selling stem cells. The New York Times: Aug. 26. Powers, A. and F. Fico. 1994. Influences on use of sources at large U.S. newspapers. Newspaper Research Journal 15: 87-97. Priest, S.H. 1999. Popular beliefs, media, and biotechnology. In Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science, edited by S. Friedman, S. Dunwoody and C. Rogers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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80 Priest, S.H. 2001. A Grain of Truth: The Media, the Public, and Biotechnology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Reese, S. 2003. Prologue--Framing public life: a bridging model for media research. 2001. In Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World edited by S. Reese, O. Gandy and A. Grant. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Regaldo, A., L. McGinley and S. Lueck. 2001. Top researcher of stem cells to move abroad. Wall Street Journal: July 16. Rensberger, B. 1997. Covering science for newspapers. A Field Guide for Science Writers. D. Blum and M. Knudson. New York: Oxford University Press. Roefs, W. 1998. From framing to frame theory: a research method turns theoretical concept. Conference proceedings of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication: Baltimore, MD. Rogers, C.L. 1999. The importance of understanding audiences. Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science. S.M. Friedman, S. Dunwoody and C. L. Rogers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Scheufele, D.A. 1999. Framing as a theory of media effects. Journal of Communication. 49(1): 103-122. Schmid, L.A. 2004. Newspaper Framing of Postpartum Depression: Impact of the Andrea Yates Case. Unpublished master's thesis. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. Shaw, D. 2000. Medical miracles or misguided media? Los Angeles Times. Feb. 13. Shoemaker, P.J. and S.D. Reese. 1991. Mediating the Message: Theories of Influences on Mass Media Content. New York: Longman. Silver, L.M. 2001. Watch what you are calling an embryo; and other subtleties that define the debate. The Washington Post: Aug. 19. Slater, M.D. and D. Rouner. 1996. How message evaluation and source attributes may influence credibility assessment and belief change. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 73(4): 974-991. Stanley, A. 2001. Bush's travels: visit to John Paul; Bush hears Pope condemn research in human embryos. The New York Times: July 24. Stolberg, C.G. 2001. New stem cell issues. The Washington Post: Sept. 3. Tashakkori, A. and C. Teddlie. 2003. Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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81 Ten Eyck, T. A. and M. Williment. 2003. The national media and things genetic: Coverage in The New York Times (1971-2001) and The Washington Post (1977-2001). Science Communication 25(2): 129-152. Thomson, J.A., J. Itskovitz-Eldor, S.S. Shapiro, M.A. Waknitz, J.J. Swiergiel, V.S. Marshall and J.M. Jones. 1998. Embryonic stem cell lines derived from human blastocysts. Science 282 (5391): 1145-1147. Time. 2004. The passions behind social issues. 164(17): 36-37. Todd, Z., B. Newlich, S. McKeown, and D. Clarke. 2004. Mixing methods in psychology: The integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in theory of practice. New York: Francis and Routledge. Toner, R. 2001. Bush caught in the middle on research on stem cells. The New York Times: Feb. 18. Trumbo, C. 2004. Research methods in mass communication research: A census of eight journals 1990-2000. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. 81(2): 417-436. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2001. Letter to Congress on public funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research. July 10. Retrieved online on March 14, 2005. http://www.nccbuscc.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/stemcell71001.htm USA Today. 2003. USA's stem-cell scientists fear a research "brain drain." May 12. Varmus, H. 2000. The challenge of making laws on the shifting terrain of science. Selected proceedings of Genes and Society: Impact of New Technologies on Law, Medicine and Policy. Special supplement 28(4): 46-53. Wade, N. 2000. Teaching the body to heal itself; Work on cells' signals fosters talk of a new medicine. The New York Times: Nov. 7. Wade, N. 2001a Grappling with the ethics of stem cell research. The New York Times: July 24. Wade, N. 2001b. List of stem cell researchers shows hands had been tied. The New York Times: Aug. 28. Walker, D. K. 1997. Saving cord blood a tough call for parents. Chicago Sun-Times: Oct. 19. Waterman, A.T. 1960. National Science Foundation: A ten-year resume. Science. 131: 1341-1354.

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82 Weiss, R. 2001a. Bush backs broad ban on human cloning; prohibition would cover embryos for research. The Washington Post: June 21. Weiss, R. 2001b. Scientists use embryos made only for research. The Washington Post: July 11. Weiss, R. 2001c. Promising more--and less; Scientists see growth in field, lament limits. The Washington Post: Aug. 10. Wilkie, T. 1996. Sources in science: Who can we trust? Lancet 347: 1308-11. Withey, S.B. 1959. Public opinion about science and the scientist. Public Opinion Quarterly. 23: 382-388. Wolfe, A. 2001. Bush's gift to America's extremists. The New York Times: Aug. 19. Zimmerman, S.V. 2003. Does the State Have Any Business in the Laboratories of the Nation? The Regulation of Scientific Research. Unpublished master's thesis. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto. Zoch, L.M. and VanSlyke Turk, J. 1999. Women making news: Gender as a variable in source selection. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. 75(4): 762-775.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH As a young girl I spent countless hours exploring science: catching crayfish in the creek near my house, questioning why orb spiders weave patterns into their webs, and chasing lightning bugs on warm summer nights. I have always been fascinated with what makes life tick -the hows and whys behind the smallest things. This curiosity led me to a number of different pursuits. I majored in biology at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. I worked in genetic research at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at the University of Florida. Over the years, I realized that my gift is not in doing science, but in learning about science and sharing its wonders with others. I revel in the challenge of taking highly technical, complex scientific information and presenting it in a way that people like my grandparents will actually understand. I enjoy removing the jargon and mumbo-jumbo to show people the real "wow" of science. This passion led me to pursue a masters degree in science/health communication. I now stand at a new crossroads, unsure of where things might lead. No doubt, I wish to continue along the same veins, sharing science with those who might not otherwise taste its richness. However, I am undecided about which direction to pursue. I am confident that my educational and life experiences, along with the loving support of my friends and family, will help lead me to the next stage of my career. 83