The Media and its Reporting of ME
Many have described, far better than I, the numerous indignities inflicted on your typical ME sufferer by the modern media. Whether relating to their inability to name it correctly, ME, CFS, Yuppie Flu, Chronic Fatigue, subtle hint journalists the latter two don’t exist as medically defined conditions, or the various treatments/cures we have hoisted upon us. Personally I’ve lost count of the number of friends and relatives who think my neurological condition would be cured instantaneously were I only to take more cold baths or eat vomit-inducing quantities of raw vegetables. The term ‘chronic fatigue’ rankles especially, as it is a symptom of numerous illnesses from glandular fever to cancer yet its use in the media is solely as a synonym for ME.
My primary complaint regarding the media is their inability to engage even the semblance of critical thinking when it comes to some of the psychiatrists who have been the bane of ME sufferers since at least 1969. This is by no means unique to ME, MS patients had to endure decades of abuse from the medical/psychiatric profession due to their suffering from ‘hysterical paralysis’. Your average medic rarely misses an opportunity to abuse a patient, especially if they are young and female, as evidenced by the likes of Sophia Mirza and Karina Hansen, the latter currently being tortured in Denmark with the acquiescence of the Danish authorities.
To reach the main object of this post, a few years ago a certain psychiatrist came out with the, on the face of it absurd, comment that he felt safer when working in Afghanistan than he does in the UK, so under threat does he feel from the ME community when occupying our sceptred isle. In my opinion, that has to be one of the most facile and nonsensical comments uttered by a psychiatrist since that profession arose. Naively, very naively as it turns out, I expected the media to rip such a statement to shreds. More fool me. In fact they reported his facile statement in a credulous and unchallenging fashion, as though it were a perfectly reasonable comment and concentrated their wrath on the ME community for supposedly threatening the ‘poor and defenceless’ psychiatric establishment. The majority of ME sufferers are extremely ill, with no power or voice to challenge such libellous and slanderous bilge, originating from a well-connected establishment figure.
Let me put this simply, the psychiatrist’s comments represented an outrageous slur on both the inhabitants of Afghanistan, who have to endure the atrocities perpetrated in their part of the world, and the British troops who served there, facing untold dangers daily. The fact the media reported his comments verbatim without any critique was astonishing and perplexing. Perhaps they could have made a comparison between the numbers of psychiatrists ‘treating’ ME patients killed in the UK in the last ten years compared to British troops killed in Afghanistan. Let me make this clear, NO psychiatrist in the UK has been physically harmed by a member of the ME community, though many members of the community have been harmed by the psychiatric profession.
However august the figure making comments like those mentioned above, they are still nonsense and the British public have the right to expect the media to report them as such, not act as though they’ve been universally lobotomised by parroting such inane and idiotic guff.