Science Propoganda for the Media: The Case of ME


us / ˌprɑp·əˈɡæn·də / information or ideas that are spread by an organized group or government to influence people’s opinions, esp. by not giving all the facts or by secretly emphasizing only one way of looking at the facts (Definition of propaganda from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press).

How does one detect propoganda?

Which stories in the mainstream media can be trusted, and which, mistrusted? How much of the content in the media is trustworthy information and how much is “secretly emphasizing only one way of looking at the facts”?  There can be no general answer to this question. One can only answer it in relation to a specific topic about which one has one’s own trusted information sources. Here I discuss the case of ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), a topic that I have been investigating for the past seven years. The answer that I have reluctantly come to is this: the vast majority of the content of mainstream media meets the definition of propoganda. It is secretly biased at the source, like the water from a polluted lake. The information is deliberately biased to present a particular point of view. The source of this polluted information about ME is the Science Media Centre, as previously discussed here and here.

What is concerning here is that the SMR is funded by many top-flight universities,  Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College London.  Press releases issued by them are turned into Public Relations messages to give a particular, partial point of view about ME.  What is that point of view?

The Point of View Researchers in Leading Universities Want You To Believe

In a nutshell, the POV that the science propoganda centre gives out to the mainstream media is as follows:

  1. ME is not a proper illness, it is all in the mind (AITM).
  2. ME is not ME, it is CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome.
  3. CFS is not a proper illness either, it is simply fatigue and/or old fashioned hysteria.
  4. CFS is more common in women because women are more hysterical than men.
  5. CFS is a type of malingering by people who, essentially, refuse to work.
  6. These are ‘bludgers’ gaining benefits from the ‘Nanny State’.
  7. The imaginary ‘illness’ is caused by inactivity (laziness) in people who stay in bed too long.
  8. The ‘illness’ is also caused or made worse by negative or ‘unhelpful’ thinking.
  9. These inactive, negative people focus too much attention on their bodies, which makes them feel worse.
  10. The only way to treat these people is to give them a short, sharp shock of exercise (called GET) and a course on positive thinking (called CBT).
  11. The trials the researchers have done, well controlled trials like the ‘PACE’ trial at that, prove the above list of propoganda points is true.
  12. The leading researchers, psychiatrists, work for insurance companies who stop the pensions of people who have these long-term illnesses. These conflicts of interest are kept hush-hush in the propoganda, for obvious reasons.

Concrete Examples

Expert Reactions concerning CFS, the PACE trial, the SMILE trial on the Science Media Centre Website. The Science Media Centre describes itself as: “an independent press office helping to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines.” (

NOVEMBER 10, 2020 expert reaction to NICE draft guideline on diagnosis and management of ME/CFS Prof Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Oxford, said: “As the NICE report says, it is paramount that patients are listened to and their symptoms and concerns taken seriously. [!] It is also essential that evidence-based rehabilitative treatments (graded activity/exercise and cognitive behaviour therapy) are given only to those patients who want them and then given in a personalized expert fashion in partnership with them.[!] It is to be hoped that these new guidelines improve the quality of delivery of these treatments. It is also to be hoped that the strongly stated concerns about the effect of badly delivered treatments [badly delivered, or just bad? this is spin and a distraction] do not make it even harder for patients to access the well delivered, evidence-based treatments.” Prof Trudie Chalder, Professor of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, said: “Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET ) are evidence-based treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in that they facilitate reductions in fatigue [measured by the Chalder Fatigue Scale, with all its flaws] and improve people’s quality of life if delivered by a qualified therapist. Previous reviews of the science provide the evidence [which the NICE (2020) report finds to be of low or very low quality]. Our clinics are full of patients who are very keen to receive these evidence-based treatments …

Other examples:

There are dozens of other examples in Appendix III of my article here.


Published by dfmarks


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