In new book, Coulter 'cribs' stem cell list from right-to-life group
Published:Wednesday June 14, 2006
In an attempt to counter a New York Times article, conservative pundit Ann Coulter appears to have inserted a list that was originally compiled by an anti-abortion group almost word-for-word into her new book, RAW STORY has found.
The seventh chapter of Godless: The Church of Liberalism is devoted to "the left's war on science," which - according to Coulter - includes lying about "the science that is working" so as "to elevate the science that has produced nothing."
"In the August 24, 2004, New York Times, science writer Gina Kolata claimed that no one had succeeded in using adult stem cells 'to treat diseases,'" writes Coulter.
To prove the Times science writer wrong, Coulter then provides a "short list" of sixteen "successful treatments achieved by adult stem cell research."
But fifteen of Coulter's examples (listed at the end of this story) are nearly identical to items in a longer list of seventeen compiled by the Illinois Right To Life website, that has been available since at least September of 2003.
"Repair heart attack damage (using the patient’s own blood stem cells)," says the Illinois Right To Life Committee Website.
"Repairing heart attack damage with the patient’s own blood stem cells," writes Coulter.
"Restore bone marrow in cancer patients (using stem cells from umbilical cord blood)," says the Website.
"Restoring bone marrow in cancer patients using stem cells from umbilical cord blood," Coulter writes.
(Note: At the bottom of this page, the fifteen of sixteen items that Coulter used in Godless are printed side-by-side with the ones from the Illinois Right to Life Committee Website)
For these fifteen items, Coulter appears to do little more than remove the parentheses and slightly change a word or two, such as "using" into "with."
The anti-abortion website doesn't provide any sources for its list of examples of "successful experimental treatments [that] have been achieved using ethical sources of stem cells."
The former executive director for the Illinois Right to Life Committee wrote a letter to The New York Times in 2001 that attacked stem cell research on embryos as "immoral."
"The study indicating that cells from aborted babies do not cure Parkinson's disease is welcome news for the right-to-life movement," wrote Matt C. Abbott. "But even if the treatment had been successful, such 'medicine' would still be gravely immoral, for one cannot commit an evil so that good may come from it."
In addition, a page at the Illinois Right to Life Committee website links to articles that Coulter has written against abortion.
In an endnote, Coulter indicates that the information on her list was taken from the work of fellow Townhall contributor and author Michael Fumento, and provides a link to a page of his website devoted to articles he wrote on "understanding stem cells."
A RAW STORY examination of the numerous articles by Fumento linked at the address provided by Coulter found no comparable list. Articles by Fumento that did contain lists of adult stem cell "breakthroughs" (articles from 2001, and 2004,) employed far different language.
However, the first item on Coulter's list - which isn't mentioned at the Illinios Right to Life website - does appear to be derived from the opening lines of an article written by Fumento last October.
"ASCs are now rebuilding human livers," Fumento wrote. "Until now, the only hope for persons with irreversible liver failure from such diseases as cirrhosis, which kills about 27,000 Americans yearly, was transplantation."
"Rebuilding livers wracked by otherwise irreversible cirrhosis," wrote Coulter.
So far, at least one book reviewer has lauded Coulter for the list she "puts together."
"Coulter puts together an impressive list of successful achievements using adult stem cells, including repairing spinal cord injuries, treating sickle-cell anemia, restoring bone marrow in cancer patients, restoring eye sight and repairing weakened heart muscles," wrote Lisa De Pasquale for the conservative website, Human Events Online.
Adult vs. embryonic stem cells
Many stem cell researchers and scientists are unconvinced that adult stem cells will be able to produce the same results as those taken from embryos, since many adult tissues don't appear to contain any stem cells.
"Most scientists don't believe that the stem cells found in the adult will have the repertoire of developmental capabilities that we see in an embryonic stem cell," says Judith Gasson of UCLA´s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In May of 2005, a stem cell researcher wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal which attacked conservatives for relying on "dubious but convenient data for the sake of advancing their cause."
"In fact, there is little credible evidence to suggest adult stem cells have the same therapeutic potential as embryonic stem cells," wrote Dr. David A. Shaywitz. "Conservatives often speak of the need to abide by difficult principle; acknowledging the limitations of adult stem cell research would seem like a good place to start."
The current ban on using embryonic cells may be setting back science for years, according to many scientists.
"It's possible for him to continue his work using only adult stem cells, but it would take about 20 years to complete the experiments he could conduct in one year using fetal stem cells," wrote Monique Beeler for San Francisco's Inside Bay Area in a recent article (link) about Dr. Theo Palmer, a stem cell researcher at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Prior plagiarism allegations
Last week, a blogger known as The Rude Pundit accused Coulter of "possible plagiarism" after identifying lines from the first chapter of Coulter's book that were "strangely similiar" to sources not cited in the endnotes.
In one example, Coulter wrote: "The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River in Maine, was halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant previously believed to be extinct."
"Here's the Portland Press Herald, from the year 2000, in its list of the 'Maine Stories of the Century': 'The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River, is halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant believed to be extinct," offered The Rude Pundit.
Nearly a year ago, The Rude Pundit caught Coulter apparently lifting passages from various texts "without attribution" for a column on controversial examples of "speech that has been funded in whole or in part by taxpayers." Shortly after, a RAW STORY investigation turned up even more examples from that same column.
Many of the bulleted items in Coulter's 2005 column were part and parcel of a long propaganda campaign waged by the Reverend Donald Wildmon's American Family Association and other conservative religious groups to end public funding of the arts. In fact, many of Coulter's examples were originally included in a 1990 AFA advertisement published in USA Today and The Washington Times bashing the National Endowment for the Arts.
Gossip Columnist Jeannette Walls noted The Rude Pundit's allegations of plagiarism in her column Sunday at the MSNBC website but was unable to get Coulter's side of the story.
"Coulter’s publisher and agent didn’t return The Scoop’s calls for comment," wrote Walls.
Following are the fifteen items from Coulter's list (Chapter 7, Page 197) side-by-side with those that appear at the Illinois Right To Life Committee's website:
Illinois Right To Life: Spinal cord injury repair (using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions)
Coulter: Repairing spinal cord injuries by using stem cells from nasal and sinus regions.
Illinois Right To Life: Complete reversal of juvenile diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells
Coulter: Completely reversing Type 1 diabetes in mice using adult spleen cells
Illinois Right To Life: Crohn’s Disease put into remission (using patient’s blood stem cells)
Coulter: Putting Crohn's disease into remission with the patient's own blood stem cells
Illinois Right To Life: Lupus put into remission (using stem cells from patient’s bloodstream)
Coulter: Putting lupus into remission using stem cells from the patient's bloodstream
Illinois Right To Life: Repair heart muscle in cases of congestive heart failure (using stem cells from bone marrow)
Coulter: Repairing the heart muscles in patients with congestive heart failure using adult stem cells from bone marrow.
Illinois Right To Life: Repair heart attack damage (using the patient’s own blood stem cells)
Coulter: Repairing heart attack damage with the patient’s own blood stem cells
Illinois Right To Life: Restore bone marrow in cancer patients (using stem cells from umbilical cord blood)
Coulter: Restoring bone marrow in cancer patients using stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
Illinois Right To Life: Restore weak heart muscles (using immature skeletal muscle cells)
Coulter: Restoring weak heart muscles using immature skeletal muscle cells
Illinois Right To Life: Put leukemia into remission (using umbilical cord blood)
Coulter: Putting leukemia into remission using umbilical cord blood
Illinois Right To Life: Heal bone fractures (using bone marrow cells)
Coulter: Healing bone fractures with bone marrow cells.
Illinois Right To Life: Restore a blind man’s sight (using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant & a cornea transplant)
Coulter: Restoring sight in blind people using an ocular surface stem-cell transplant and a cornea transplant
Illinois Right To Life: Treat urinary incontinence (using under arm muscle stem cells)
Coulter: Treating urinary incontinence using stem cells from underarm muscle
Illinois Right To Life: Reverse severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) (using genetically modified adult stem cells)
Coulter: Reversing severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) with genetically modified adult cells.
Illinois Right To Life: Restore blood circulation in legs (using bone marrow stem cells)
Coulter: Restoring blood circulation in legs with bone marrow stem cells.
Illinois Right To Life: Treat sickle-cell anemia (using stem cells from unbilical cord blood)
Coulter: Treating sickle-cell anemia using stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
(NOTE: RAW STORY has uncovered similiar examples from Coulter's latest book and will be reporting on them shortly)
(An additional article containing The Rude Pundit's latest accusations can be read at this link)