A Low Blow? (Correspondence)
Rifkin, Jeremy, The American Prospect
I AM WRITING TO INFORM you that there are a number of intentional misrepresentations in the article you published entitled "Sins of Petition" [May 6].
First, the subtitle of your article is "How the left got tricked into opposing cloned embryo research," yet there is no evidence presented in the article to substantiate that claim. The letter and petition are quite clear that we were asking for support of a Senate anti-cloning bill that would prohibit both therapeutic and full birth cloning. The documents both fully explain--in easy to understand English--why we oppose therapeutic as well as full birth cloning. The documents also make clear that the Senate bill would make therapeutic and full birth cloning illegal. Moreover, follow-up correspondence was sent to all 67 signatories--again, fully explaining the position they had agreed to. To this day, not a single one of the 67 signatories has informed me or my office that they would like their name removed from the petition. In short, while people have every right to change their mind on an issue, your magazine has no right to print an article saying that "the left got tricked" into opposing cloned embryo research. By doing so, you are maligning the integrity and honesty of the sponsors of the letter and acting irresponsibly. Your magazine had a legal responsibility to check the accuracy of your writer, Mr. Chris Mooney, by soliciting copies of the documents he alludes to in his article. You did not do so.
Secondly, you quote Ms. Judy Norsigian as saying she now regrets having "signed on" to the letter. Again, this is a misrepresentation of the facts. Ms. Norsigian actually helped draft the anti-cloning letter and petition and was one of the sponsors who sent the letter to the 67 progressive leaders to secure their endorsement. By omitting this relevant fact, you leave the impression that Ms. Norsigian was somehow "tricked" into an error of bad judgment. …