Ronald Reagan’s Death Exploited to Push Embryonic Stem Cell Research

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ronald Reagan’s Death Exploited to Push Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 8, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A leading media watchdog group says journalists covering the death of former president Ronald Reagan are exploiting his passing in order to promote embryonic stem cell research.

According to a report from the Media Research Center, news agencies are using Reagan’s death to fuel a rift between President George W. Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

"Serious people have serious disagreements about the balancing of the hope stem cell research holds for curing Alzheimer’s versus the misuse of human life, but to leading media figures it presents just another way to bash Bush," says MRC’s Brent Baker.

On Sunday, Washington Post television reviewer Tom Shales complained about how "Bush has refused to reconsider his opposition" to providing taxpayer funding for any new embryonic stem cell research, and ridiculed how "Bush thinks he hears Jesus giving him orders."

In August 2001, President Bush put forward an administrative policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

Although, as a pro-life president, Ronald Reagan would have had a similar policy, Nancy Reagan has joined the stem cell research lobby in pushing for public funds for the research that destroys unborn children in their earliest days.

Meanwhile, NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw scolded members of the Senate, who recently wrote a letter to Bush asking him to reserve his policy. Brokaw said the letter, written a day before Ronald Reagan’s death, should have invoked his name.

"The Senators made the request last Friday," Brokaw noted, "the day before President Reagan died. And there was no mention of him in their letter."

On "The View," an ABC morning talk show, reporter Barbara Walters assumed Nancy Reagan’s position on the issue is correct and added that "she’s going to change the lives of millions of people" by fighting for public money for the destructive research.

"This is a woman who was not pro-choice and after her husband became ill with Alzheimer’s she realized what stem cell research could do," Walters added.

However, Nancy Reagan caused headaches for pro-life leaders who appreciated Ronald Reagan’s pro-life policies — because she backed legal abortion.

Finally, CBS Evening News on Monday night devoted an entire segment to Nancy Reagan’s embryonic stem cell advocacy.

"Ronald Reagan eloquently told the nation he had Alzheimer’s Disease a decade before his death. Today, in a letter, 58 U.S. Senators added their voices to that of Nancy Reagan, appealing for controversial stem cell research to try to find a cure for the disease," anchor Dan Rather said in introducing the segment.

CBS reporter Sandra Hughes, opened, "Out of her isolation, she found her cause: fighting for a cure. Recently, that’s meant supporting stem cell research, putting her at odds with her own party. She started out quietly writing letters to the White House and other anti-abortion conservatives who oppose federal funding. And last month, for the first time, she stepped out publicly to support stem cell research."

That so many media outlets are pushing embryonic stem cell research on the heels of the death of a strongly pro-life president is offensive to pro-life advocates.

"Leading journalists are exploiting Ronald Reagan’s death to push for wider embryonic stem cell research as they emphasize how President George W. Bush is out of step with Nancy Reagan on the issue," MRC’s Baker concluded.

Related web sites:
Media Research Center –