A report on coverage of CFIDS in the mainstream
DePaul prevalence study. Promotion of DePaul Univer-sity's
continues to produce coverage of CFIDS in major publications such as the Chicago Tribune ("The
reality behind chronic fatigue," 1/26/00), and Minority Nurse magazine (Winter 00 issue), as
well as numerous radio interviews with lead author Dr. Leonard Jason.
CPR team responds to negative coverage. CPR team members
educate William Chalmers, author of an article in the January 9 issue of The San Francisco Chronicle,
"Contemporary Madness." In an attempt at humor, Chalmers listed modern maladies and a possible cure for
each, including "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Ennui that millions of yuppies are said to suffer from. Cure:
Group therapy with Attention Deficit Disorder sufferers and visiting Starbucks three times a day."
CDC scandal--again. A flurry of media activity occurred
in February as
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) again came under fire. A cover story in The Washington Post
on Feburary 2, which was aggressively pursued by the Association, exposed more widespread abuses and financial
mismanagement resulting in funds being diverted from CFIDS and other research programs. The fallout was
covered by many major media outlets--including The Atlanta Journal and Constitution and Associated
New York Times coverage of fatigue in Japan. On
February 21, a
New York Times article announced that one-third of Japan's working population suffers from chronic
fatigue. Both The CFIDS Association and The New Jersey Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Association wrote letters
to the editor pointing out the need to distinguish chronic fatigue from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Lifetime Live segment. On April 24 at noon, the Lifetime
aired a segment on CFIDS that helped create awareness of what it is like to live with the illness.
The segment featured Jane Stockman, a patient from New Jersey, and brief comment from Dr. Richard Podell
of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The Association's President & CEO, Kim Kenney, was also
Behind the media coverage
Ever wondered how a broadcast news story such as the Lifetime
Live segment comes about? Following is a brief timeline to give you a sense of the urgency and intensive
Late March: Lifetime contacts The CFIDS Association
their possible coverage of CFIDS on Lifetime Live, the network’s weekday news show. Association begins
the education process through extensive talks with the producers and providing up-to-date background information.
Early April: Lifetime accepts Association’s
topic is "newsworthy" and asks for help locating individuals to interview.
Mid-April: Jane Stockman and Dr. Richard Podell
Association sensitizes producers to the special interview needs of PWCs and obtains the questions ahead
of time to help Jane prepare. Members are informed of coverage through a C-act/CPR e-mail alert.
April 21: Association President & CEO Kim
Kenney is accepted
as "in studio guest"--her interview is taped instead of going live, as segment is pre-empted by developments
in the Elian Gonzalez custody case. The Association convinces Lifetime to run segment on the next air
date and informs members of change.
April 24: Segment airs. Hosts are "on-message"
in talking about
CFIDS as real and severely underdiagnosed. Kim Kenney emphasizes debilitating nature of fatigue and research
and treatment advances.
April 27: Following complaints from the Association
PWCs, Lifetime Live corrects article on CFIDS posted on their web site before the show’s airing.