‘Dangerous, Wildly Inaccurate’ List of NIH Researchers Under Scrutiny Threatens Science, New York Times Columnist Says
A list of almost 200 researchers who receive funding from NIH "is being used by the [Traditional Values Coalition] and its government allies in attempts to discredit the researchers and challenge or revoke their federal grants," New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes. The list -- which was compiled by TVC, a group that says it represents more than 43,000 churches nationwide -- is "sloppy, dangerous and wildly inaccurate," Herbert says, adding that it was "put together by people who are freaked out by the content of the studies and unconcerned about their value" (Herbert, New York Times, 11/3). In an apparent mix-up, a congressional staff member several weeks ago sent NIH the TVC-compiled list instead of a shorter list of 10 NIH research grants that conservative House members have questioned for several months. After receiving the list, NIH officials notified and informed more than 150 researchers studying AIDS, sexuality and high-risk behaviors that lawmakers are closely examining their research (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/28). "For a right-wing coalition to be hung up on these matters is one thing," Herbert says. However, he adds, "Science has to suffer when the know-nothings come traipsing through the laboratories, infecting the research with their religious beliefs and political ideologies." Herbert concludes that the public officials who obtained the "sinister" list could have ignored it, but "[i]nstead, the list is circulating, like an insidious disease, and some scientists are worried that they are not immune" (New York Times, 11/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.