January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Nature Biased News Coverage of 3-Person IVF

NatureNews is a science news outlet so I’ve been wondering what the heck the deal is with their strongly biased news coverage of the mitochondrial transfer 3-person IVF technology debate.

By way of context, I like NatureNews and am a regular reader, but their coverage of the mitochondrial transfer debate has been completely one-sided and inaccurate. Their two so-called news pieces on this have been extraordinarily biased in favor of the UK going ahead with the technology.

naturenews mitochondrial transfer

Let’s take the first one entitled, “Scientists cheer vote to allow three-person embryos”.

The headline is misleading and biased. The story also has an unmistakable slant to it.

There are in fact plenty of scientists who have grave concerns about this technology being used in the near future. That’s pretty far removed from “cheering”.

Why no balance in this piece? No quotes from opponents of the technology and only glowing words from proponents?

The only even tiniest caveat was the following single sentence, “The opposition was more disparate — although no less vocal — and it included clergy representatives from the Church of England and the Catholic Church, secular advocacy groups, as well as some researchers.”

This piece was not up to the usual balanced science reporting that I have come to expect from NatureNews.

The second piece that went up on NatureNews on this topic a week later was unfortunately just as biased or more so.

NatureNews Mito Transfer, 3-person IVF
NatureNews Mito Transfer, 3-person IVF news piece.

This second piece was entitled, “World Hails UK vote on three-person embryos”.

Seriously, NatureNews?

Talk about hyperbolic and inaccurate.

Now we not only have scientists cheering, but the entire world is hailing this development?

Everybody do the Macarena for three-person IVF!

Why would NatureNews be such a blatant cheerleader in its news articles for a controversial technology?

I for one have no problem if NatureNews is such a fan of 3-person IVF, but limit the expression of that personal sentiment to editorials and when it comes to news, provide accurate, balanced coverage. Ironically, the non-scientific mainstream media including some UK tabloidish outlets have generally done a better job than NatureNews of presenting balanced coverage of this complicated issue, which is pretty sad.

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