You would think it was the war in Iraq, or the Israeli-Lebanese conflict. The amount of news coverage being given, sometimes seemingly unquestioningly, to a questionable condition some call âMorgellons Diseaseâ? is staggering.
Just in June and July, the âMorgellons Research Foundationâ? boasts on its website of appearances on ABC, NBC, CNN, and on local stations in Tulsa, South Bend, San Diego, San Antonio, New York and Salt Lake City. The ABC Good Morning America show and NBC Today each featured stories on Morgellons last Friday at almost the exact same time.
Also just in the last two months, print coverage of Morgellons has appeared in Time magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dallas Observer, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The âMorgellons Research Foundationâ? lists these signs of the âdiseaseâ?:
1. Skin lesions with intense itching.
2. Crawling sensations, both within and on the skin surface.
3. Significant fatigue.
4. Cognitive difficulties described by patients as “brain fog”.
5. Behavioral effects are common in many patients. Many have been or will be diagnosed as Attention
Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or Obsessive-Compulsive
6.âFibersâ? are reported in and on skin lesions. They are generally described by patients as white, but
clinicians also report seeing blue, green, red, and black fibers, that fluoresce when viewed under
Yet what suddenly made this such a hot story?
Many stories quote or cite just one researcher from the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences & College of Osteopathic Medicine.
But stories donât seem to discuss who named this a disease.
Journalists donât seem to push for much evidence.
And the journalists seem to have short memories, forgetting past, very similar stories.
They also donât seem to mind that they are being manipulated: breast cancer, prostate cancer or heart disease arenât even getting this kind of attention. And what do they really know about the people making the claims?
But someone is pushing all the right media manipulation buttons â“ something that is increasingly easier to do these days.
One skeptical website, though, may be publishing more than the advocates. See Morgellons Watch, a site dedicated to examining the claims made regarding this phenomenon. The siteâs host writes: âI believe that much of the current media coverage of Morgellons is inaccurate and sensationalist. This is misleading sick people into thinking they may have a terrible disease, when the evidence does not indicate that such a disease actually exists. People have very real physical symptoms, but those symptoms have many possible causes, which have very real treatments. Misdirecting people into a wild goose chase, after a disease that probably does not exist, is wrong.â?