I made the mistake of watching a few minutes of 60 Minutes last night. The story that caught my attention was called, “China’s push to control Americans’ health care future,” which was a hit piece focused on a Chinese biotech firm most people have never heard of and the companies that collect your DNA (Ancestry and 23andMe) and then sell these databases to medical research firms.
They found two paranoid, fame-seeking, ex-government hacks to talk about how terrible it is that the Chinese have a plan to become the world leader in genetic research. The segment kept pounding on the idea that it will be terrible if China has access to your most personal data: your DNA. They found another “expert” trying to convince us that our individual data has monetary value, and that we should be compensated for its use. They did their best to discredit the only message of value in the entire piece: if you want to lead the world in anything, you need to invest the resources to do so.
I don’t have the space to list the vast number of incorrect conclusions drawn here. They took a few unrelated facts and crafted an outrageous narrative designed to scare the hell out of people who will not take the time to educate themselves or do their own research. What a waste of an opportunity to educate the public on data, data privacy, technology, the state of the art in genetic research, and the type of investment required to be a world leader in any technology in the 21st century.
Scaring people may get you ratings, but this piece was pure xenophobic fear-mongering. Shame on you, 60 Minutes. You can now count yourselves as an amplifier of false narratives.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.