Stem Cell Deep Throats: Anonymous Sources for this Blog

I get contacted by a growing number of people on a weekly basis wanting to communicate about stem cells.

I think it is largely because of this blog and my educational outreach efforts.

Mostly these folks have questions for me.

Other times they cold contact me to provide me with information that does not address any question I have posed, but nonetheless the information is important for clarifying certain events or issues in the stem cell field.

I realize that parties that give me information about events or entities in the stem cell field may well have agendas of their own that are complicated or conflicted…maybe even at odds with my own values. I definitely take that into account in how I decide to use (or not use) information for the blog.

It is also possible that at times I am given misinformation, information that is only partially true, or facts taken out of context.

Again, I am a realist so I do not take anything that I am told as fact without documentation.

I also avoid posting on a particular issue on this blog unless I have multiple sources.

I generally also will not post unsubstantiated material from a source who won’t even reveal their identities to me. There is a big difference between someone wanting to not be identified publicly versus refusing to identify themselves to me and still expecting me to post on material they send. Think of the Deep Throat source in Watergate.

The majority of the information that I am given never “sees the light of day” to be posted because of various concerns I have even though much of it is probably accurate.

When I do post material, ideally I like to name sources, but often times the sources request that I do not do so.

Their reasons can be quite legitimate.

The most common reason they give is that they fear retaliation.

Other times sources have an existing relationship (friendship, business partner, etc) with a party involved and they fear that being named could jeopardize that. They feel compelled to get information out there, but do not want to end their relationship with a party involved.

Certain sources are directly involved with the clinic itself so you can imagine they do not want their names used.

In some cases, it is a prominent figure who requests anonymity as a source, which I can understand. Some sources are patients, whose privacy I greatly respect and is something that I would never knowingly jeopardize.

For some blog posts, avoiding naming the source is not enough. I can’t even name the stem cell business involved, but have to use more general terms. Why? Even naming a specific stem cell clinic could in some cases put sources in jeopardy.

Admittedly, I myself believe that blog posts or articles with the sources named are more concrete. As a result, I realize that by not naming a source in a given post it may make some readers less inclined to fully believe what they read. I understand that. However, there are times that I cannot name a source, but I believe the material to be accurate and important to the stem cell field so I post it.

One thought on “Stem Cell Deep Throats: Anonymous Sources for this Blog

  1. Pingback: Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog – Stem Cell Deep Throats: Anonymous Sources for this Blog | Stu's Stem Cell Blog

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