The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Mass media "global village idiot": Flat Earth News by Nick Davies

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Sasha, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I've long been baffled as to how our media (particularly our UK media) have failed people with ME for the last 25 years. Where has the investigative journalism been? Why does the media seem to have no memory ("New study finally shows ME is real!" every six months)? Why can't the psychiatrists' deadlock on the media be broken?

    I'm hoping to find some answers in "Flat Earth News" by Nick Davies. He's a reporter turned gamekeeper, so to speak.

    Not sure if this is the best subforum for this thread but for our attempts to influence the media to have any effect, we have to know how they work...
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Hi Sasha. I'm sure others can answer your question better than me, but I have a few clues on this subject which I've mentioned here before, so I'll have a go...

    I think a large part of the answer, nowadays, lies with the role of the Science Media Centre, discussed in a long thread here:
    http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/showth...ce-Media-Centre-RCP-and-press-silence-on-XMRV

    Posts at #29, #33, and especially #40 look into the goals and ideology behind those now running the SMC. In summary: the SMC tells the media what to think about Science, because Science is too complicated for them to make up their own minds...and in our case that means they all get the assessment of what's important and what's not straight from Wessely and Weiss...

    There's a longer history, though, of well-organised suppression of any information that could be damaging to the combined interests of government, medical establishment, and industry. Hopefully this week I'll finish my analysis of the "S Files" - the MRC's archive of documents sealed under the Official Secrets Act. But to sum up what I learned from exploring this archive: all the topics covered can best be summarised, IMO, as subject matter which could prove damaging to public trust in medicine, science and industry, and subject matter which could expose the authorities to legal liability. For example, the archives contain documentation of health impacts on mine workers and steel workers, details of vaccine trials, early information about 'Compression Sickness' suffered by workers in the Blackwall Tunnel, huge amounts of information about radiation levels (especially Strontium-90 and Iodine-116), details of undisclosed radiation leaks (including one in the centre of London) and much, much more. These themes of suppressing information harmful to the authorities' interests and to scientific, medical, and industrial interests, clearly have a long history...but in the modern context the Science Media Centre is a key tool for influencing the media in accordance with this agenda.

    I watched a few "XMRV Professors" YouTube videos last night (highly recommended), about the PACE trial protocol. One of them highlighted the PACE Trial's 'media strategy' to monitor and counter any negative information about PACE. One example was a letter to the Independent, responding quickly to criticism of the trial published as a letter in that paper previously. Another notable point was the stated strategy of dealing with critical or 'hateful' letters: do not respond to them, but pass them on to be filed for future reference...

    Further information on 'The Lobby' in general from Martin J. Walker:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/8401751/C...n-Goldacre-Quackbusting-and-Corporate-Science
    http://www.satori-5.co.uk/downloads/dlf_168.pdf

    The Lobby is very well organised and professional in its media management. If you've ever come across the professional world of image management and media management, press strategy etc, in any other context, then you should realise that the people employing these techniques do not tend to question them nor do they tend to see them for what they really are: anti-democratic techniques to distort the freedom of the press and guarantee the manipulation of information in the interests of those with the most power and money. But they are vastly more organised, professional and powerful than the patients, and what they call a 'Media Strategy' in reality translates to censorship and control of the media and suppression of the freedom of the press.
     
  3. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Hi Mark - that's scary stuff - I will follow those links. Radiation leak in London! Yikes.

    I think the question still stands, though: why aren't journalists doing their jobs? Science journalists have scientific training and should have the ability to question what they're being told, particularly about a simple study such as PACE. It has a simple design, no complex biological stuff to understand and the problems with it are simple. The controversy around ME is well known, journalists receive press releases from ME charities putting our case, and journalists covering any ME story incorrectly will get a postbag from patients putting them straight. So any science journalist with half a brain, I would have thought, would be digging a bit deeper into some of what gets put out. You don't have to dig very far into something like the PACE trial (the patient selection criteria!!!) to see a huge scandal involving wasted millions of government money. You don't even have to dig at all when patients are writing into the papers and ramming the critique up your nose.

    There are journalists who have recovered from ME to the extent that they are able to work again and there must be plenty who have family members or close friends with the illness. What are they doing?

    I can understand a bunch of sociopathic lobbyists doing their thing. I just can't understand what has happened to journalism that journalists don't go for exposing a juicy, scary, newspaper-selling scandal when it's staring them in the face.
     

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