MEA catch-up on aftermath of ME ‘death threats’ stories, 2 August 2011

August 2, 2011

We shall be adding to this list, and flagging up some news reports as separate items.

Quentin Cruse, who has ME, talks to Radio Five Live Breakfast, 29 July 2011

BBC Radio 4, 29 July 2011, from 7.09am

Tom Fielden: extended interview with Professor Simon Wessely on the Today programme

BBC Radio 4 programme 29 July 2011, from 8.10am

‘Vicious campaign' against ME researchers – BBC Radio 4 Today programme podcast: duration 16 minutes: 7 days remaining to listen again.

Tom Fielden, Today programme science correspondent, on the BBC News website: ‘Torrent of abuse' hindering ME research

BBC Radio 5Live: Victoria Derbyshire interviews Dr Esther Crawley

Starts 5 minutes and 50 seconds into the programme.

Daily Telegraph online, 29 July 2011

Public, 29 July 2011

Daily Mail Online, 29 July 2011

The Morning Star, 29 July 2011

Yahoo News, 29 July 2011

The Irish Independent, 29 July 2011

The Economist, Science and Technology ‘Babbage' blog, 30 July 2011

Bristol Evening Post, 30 July 2011

‘BBC turns the air blue at 8.10am', Sunday Express lead story, 31 July 2011

‘Shoot the medical messenger – see if that will cure you': Rod Liddle's comment piece in The Sunday Times, 31 July 2011.

Professor Colin Blakemore in ‘The Times', 2 August 2011

Johannesburg ‘Sunday Times', with a lurid and unnecessary picture of a soldier looking into the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.

11 thoughts on “MEA catch-up on aftermath of ME ‘death threats’ stories, 2 August 2011”

  1. Why is this all happening today? If it is a long running dynamic between those with ME and those researching it, why is it being covered widely today of all days?

    1. Billie

      The BBC has had its eye on this story for some time – even since the Nigel Hawkes story on the same subject a few weeks ago in the BMJ.

      It’s just been a question of finding a relatively quiet news day to tell it….


      1. And HGRVs have nothing to do with it?

        Some might think there is a desire to alienate the community so that no further biomedical research could ever take place. Some might even think they have succeeded in tricking everyone with a stream of sloppy studies.

  2. So far we have seen no evidence to back up the allegations made by Prof. Wessely, Dr Crawley and Dr McClure. If these ‘threats’ have been reported to the police, that should be fairly easy to do.

    It’s not that we don’t want them to research into their idea of ME, it’s just that they have had virtually all the public research funds for the past many years. Fair’s fair and now it is time to buy the biomedical research. The Wessely school has had their share already.

    1. Not only have they had more than their share of funding Jace, they’ve achieved precisely nothing to help patients with it.

      What they have done is to undermine real science with their unique brand of pseudoscience, creating confusion and deliberate obfuscation where non would otherwise exist.

      The product od their so called “research” has therefore been worse than useless.

  3. I have been asking the same question, Billie. It seems like blatant, gratuitous, headline-grabbing to me. Why are these media outlets not paying the same attention to the publication in the ‘Journal of Internal Medicine’ of the International Consensus Criteria for ME, for example? Have any of the journalists above followed any of the rapid responses on BMJ thread. I doubt it. They just want the salacious ‘gossip’ about threats and intimidation. It’s beyond a joke.

    1. Another option that some might believe is that this has been done to gain sympathy in case HGRVs spring back up.

  4. If bullying is the abuse of power by the powerful to the powerless, I feel bullied today.

  5. I just listened to Quentin Cruse’s excellent interview. Interesting to know Coxsackie B4 was leaving people in Aberystwyth with ME in 80s. I only knew about west of Scotland outbreak.

  6. I’ve had ME for 9 years & during this time have found explaining this illness to family, friends, neighbours & above all my children, to be quite a challenge. Especially on the ‘fog’ days, when the words I know I need to be saying quite literally dissolve in my head. And now the rhetoric of the last 3 days. Numb with disbelief.
    It’s out there now in the ‘public consciousness’ just like ‘yuppie flu’ in the 80’s. When the journalists move on to their next fix of sensationalism, it’s those living with ME, as a patient, carer, family, who will come up against this rhetoric, day in, day out.

    I feel truly shaken by the last few days; thank you for being here MEA, a place for calm support. Shelter from the storm.

    Will the apologies come? I think we might have a long wait; but if there’s one thing ME patients know all about, it’s waiting…

  7. Yes, thankyou MEA for all you do in the face of what seems to be a never-ending torrent of abuse and misinformation. As a person with ME since the mid-80’s, I can truly say things have never felt so bad in terms of the “image” that is being portrayed of ME to the public. It has, surely, to be part of a very thorough and co-ordinated attempt to soften up the public for huge cuts in the economy. Consider how the private health insurance industry is going to benefit from the decimation of state sickness benefits.

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