Isn’t It Ironic…Don’t You Think: A Response. 

Dear Sarah Knapton, Science Editor of The Telegraph,

Commendable though it is, your diligence to reporting on M.E, so persistent that you report two completely conflicting arguments in the space of 8 months for the existence or non-existence of the condition, I really must protest. Character is defined by the resilience we demonstrate when standing by our own convictions. 

As a journalist, I do understand that sometimes we have to put personal bias aside and simply report the facts. This much is true. However only remains true until one uses a headline which directly insights deliberate sensationalism and public outcry.

I, of course, am speaking about your recent article in which you boldly prostrate a watered down extract of a study of ME from The University of Oxford as a breakthrough in curing the condition as a whole. The study itself doesn’t actually conclude that exercise and positive thinking is the be-all-and-end-all for those suffering from CFS. It was actually a follow up with less than 75% of returning subjects of which a certain amount found that Exercise and CBT played a significant role in improving circumstances for those suffering with ME to the point of near recovery. 

I’m not one to- wait, yes I am. I love to split hairs. The simple fact of the matter is that what you demonstrate in your article is poor journalism. It rests in a sort of alternative universe…or you, possibly, have suffered some sort of prefrontal lobotomy some time between February and October where you no longer believe that changes in the immune system provide robust evidence of people’s unwavering suffering from the illness. You now come from the perspective that we are all a bunch of lazy, manic depressives that just need a pedal bike and a 12 week course in mindfulness. 

I’ve had both (my bike was blue…with a bell!) and that didn’t stop me from developing my first flare. And it doesn’t stop the flares now. Interestingly enough you do mention this as a sort of neat little full stop at the end. As if that writes of your blatant u-turn of an opinion. 

No one likes a two-faced bitch, Ms Knapton. As a journalist, you already have the ready-made bad reputation, that comes part-and-parcel with the profession, to overcome…why deliberately make things worse for yourself by in-sighting the anger of approximately 250,000 readily pissed off and infuriated sufferers of a near medical mystery, with limited hope of cure or recovery, with a blunt and disrespectful subhead which clearly lies about the intent of an influential study:

Oxford University has found ME is not actually a chronic illness.

Bollocks to that; And bollocks to you.

The study clearly states that there is no evidence that those attending CBT or GET would worsen which doesn’t mean they would not, it just means that the evidence was not obtained. There were no significant differences in the deterioration of a level of wellness between those who had CBT and GET, in comparison to those who sought alternative medical care. That does, in fact, show that both avenues of achievement obtain results by not worsening symptoms. There were no significant differences in the level of wellness obtained only that some whom had received CBT and GET suffered less flares in the long term…over a two year period. And any ME sufferer will permit you the secret of the CFS inner sanctum…two years is but a drop in the bucket when you can spend as long riding a physical and mental high before finding yourself back at the bottom of the pit for three years following some viral infection or other. It sounds bleak, yes.  But thankfully, and contrary to this facet of your multiple personality, the University of Oxford has been working hard to lift our spirits.

The study, in fact, is a means of exploring effective methods of controlling symptoms of ME and improving the lives of those whom suffer from it; not, as your subheading suggests, finding some miracle cure in fresh air, pumping iron and installing a ray of sunshine in my rear end. 

Next time you want to fly in the face of your own opinion, I would suggest putting your editorial skills to good use and choosing a less defamatory headline…and probably using a pseudonym so as not to come across as a sanctimonious twat. 



 UoP study

 Feb News Report

Oct News Report


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