Science Media Centre
The Science Media Centre (or SMC) is an organisation formed in 2000 to encourage more accurate reporting of science in the media. When notable scientific papers are published, the Science Media Centre will often publish a page of "expert opinion" which journalists will then commonly re-purpose in their published work. The Science Media Centre has published a number of expert opinions on ME/CFS.
Controversy[edit | edit source]
"Militant" patient[edit | edit source]
The Science Media Centre has played a role in placing articles with the angle that a small group of "abusive" ME patients are driving researchers, namely psychiatrists studying cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy, from the field. This story has been repeated in the UK media for nearly a decade, chiefly via reporting by Kate Kelland (Reuters), Tom Feilden (BBC), and Rod Liddle (Sunday Times).
The SMC claims to have been the source of Feilden's original 2011 reporting on threats and harassment to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome researchers. Feilden won an award from the UK Press Gazette for this reporting, and was nominated by the SMC. Prof. Simon Wessely of Kings College London, a colleague of PACE trial co-author and Oxford University professor, Michael Sharpe, was the source and subject Feilden's story, and is on the SMC board of trustees. Kelland is featured in the Science Media Centre's promotional materials.
|March||19||2019||Kate Kelland||"Online activists are silencing us, scientists say"||Reuters|
|March||18||2019||Tom Feilden||BBC Radio 4 Today|
|March||17||2019||Rod Liddle||"Always fatigued — yet they never tire of claiming their malady really is a virus"||The Sunday Times|
|October||17||2018||Kate Kelland||"Science journal to withdraw chronic fatigue review amid patient activist complaints"||Reuters|
|November||7||2015||Rod Liddle||"The ME lobby is just a symptom of our stupidity about mental illness"||The Spectator|
|July||29||2011||Tom Feilden||"'Torrent of abuse' hindering ME research"||BBC Radio 4 Today|
|July||27||2011||Rod Liddle||"Shoot the medical messenger – see if that'll cure you"||The Sunday Times|
Other criticism[edit | edit source]
The Science Media Centre has been criticized for being a "lobby group".
Patients with ME/CFS have criticised the Science Media Centre for focusing its output on psychological and psychiatric expert opinions on ME/CFS and the fact that they house the disease within their Mental Health section.
It was found upon investigation that the Science Media Centre were behind the media publicity blitz in 2011 of allegations of harassment of researchers by patients during the year when the PACE trial results were published and criticised. 
Notable people[edit | edit source]
- Fiona Fox (Chief Executive)
- Edward Sykes (Senior Press Manager & Head of Mental Health and Neuroscience)
- Simon Wessely (Board of Trustees)
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- The Media and ME - Margaret Williams
- Trial by Error: The Science Media Centre's Desperate Attempts to Defend PACE - David Tuller
- Wikipedia - Science Media Centre
See also[edit | edit source]
- Sense About Science
- PACE trial
- UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative
- The Wessely school
- Intimidation and bullying of PACE trial critics
- Simon Wessely
- Kate Kelland
- Rod Liddle
- Tom Feilden
References[edit | edit source]
- Search results for (cfs/me)
- "Review of the first three years of the mental health research function at the Science Media Centre" (PDF).
- Topple, Steve (Mar 18, 2019). "The media is waging a coordinated war against chronically ill and disabled people". Mr Topple. Retrieved Mar 21, 2019.
- "governance | Science Media Centre". Retrieved Mar 21, 2019.
- "a short film about the SMC | Science Media Centre". Retrieved Mar 21, 2019.
- "Views from the front line | Essays on the Science Media Center" (PDF).
- McKie, Robin (Jun 2, 2002). "Lobby group 'led GM thriller critics'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Voices from the Shadows. "Reflections on "Voices from the Shadows"". voicesfromtheshadowsfilm.co.uk. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Williams, Margaret. "The Media and ME". Invest in ME Research. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- SciDev.Net. "UK's Science Media Centre lambasted for pushing corporate science". SciDev.Net. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- "Science media centers & the press, part 1". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Coyne, James C. (Jan 31, 2016). "Further insights into war against data sharing: Science Media Centre's letter writing campaign to UK Parliament". Quick Thoughts. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- The Role of the Science Media Centre and the Insurance Industry in ME/CFS: the facts behind the fiction
- Science Media Centre (Mar 2013). "Supporting experts targeted by extremists" (PDF). web.archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on Apr 18, 2016. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Science Media Centre (Oct 2011). "Threats of Persecution | SMC Anniversary Brochure" (PDF). web.archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on Jan 6, 2014. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Tuller, David (Aug 2, 2017). "Trial by Error: The Science Media Centre's Desperate Efforts to Defend PACE". Virology blog. Retrieved Feb 28, 2019.
- Peters, John (Oct 20, 2017). "A Response to Fiona Fox". johnthejack. Retrieved Oct 15, 2018.
- "staff | Science Media Centre". www.sciencemediacentre.org. Retrieved Oct 15, 2018.
- "governance | Science Media Centre". www.sciencemediacentre.org. Retrieved Oct 15, 2018.
graded exercise therapy (GET) - A gradual increase in exercise or activity, according to a pre-defined plan. Focuses on overcoming the patient's alleged unhelpful illness beliefs that exertion can exacerbate symptoms, rather than on reversing physical deconditioning. Considered controversial, and possibly harmful, in the treatment or management of ME. One of the treatment arms of the controversial PACE trial.
Oxford University - a prestigious university located in Oxford, England renowned for its teaching and research in health and medicine