NPR: Raised ME/CFS Awareness on Labor Day; Advocates Had Bones to Pick

On September 5 (Labor Day), National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” ran some segments on ME/CFS that raised public awareness – though listeners’ comments find fault with both. You can read the script of each, plus comments, or listen online.

One 4-minute segment, “Medical Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Returns,” includes patient and physician comments on the XMRV controversy – suggesting that regardless of the outcome it did raise awareness of ME/CFS.

Another 4-minute segment, “Cracking the Conundrum of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” includes comments by proponents of the two different schools of thought on ME/CFS. (It’s a behavioral problem; or it’s a physical illness with research demonstrating many irregularities in the brain, immune system, and energy metabolism.) As listeners commented, this discussion does not, however, note that different sets of diagnostic criteria have been used to identify study cohorts.

A companion segment that first ran in January – “Learning to Live a Full Life with Chronic Illness” – is by ME/CFS patient Toni Bernhard, author of  How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. Toni describes the debility and struggle she’s experienced, and how positive thinking did not change her illness, but did help her live with the limitations it imposes.

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One thought on “NPR: Raised ME/CFS Awareness on Labor Day; Advocates Had Bones to Pick”

  1. Kelly Latta says:

    Simply as a statement of record this was good journalism. There are two opposing viewpoints and the reporter found a qualified source for both. That is what journalistic protocols require in the United States. In another country different standards might not require that all viewpoints be told.

    Although there may be much to disagree with regarding Dr. Barsky’s statements in the one piece he is the one making the statements not the reporter. The reporter’s opinion is not in the piece because that would make it an editorial not news.

    Now NPR did make a factual error on one of the transcripts by referring to XMRV as bacteria when it is actually a virus. Not the same thing. Dr. Berne and Dr. Komaroff’s profession titles are also incorrect in the same transcript. The reporter most likely did not do the transcripts.

    But, overall NPR did a good job.

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