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Mail Online poll controversy

Saturday 16 January 2010

Mail Online PollsThe UK's Mail Online had a poll that asked the question: "Do you think ME is a genuine illness?".

The poll disappeared after only a few days.

The ME Association reports:

Daily Mail explain why they pulled their poll on whether ME is a genuine illness

Thursday, 14 January 2010 16:04

The Daily Mail have apologised for their controversial website poll 'Do you think ME is a genuine illness?'. The poll – originally put up to accompany the paper's coverage of the XMRV debate – was pulled from the website after a huge outcry from many people with ME/CFS and a sustained email campaign from several Facebook pages.

In an email signed by assistant editor Charles Garside, the Daily Mail wrote:

"First of all, let me apologise sincerely for any offence that may have been caused.

"The poll to which you refer was posted by a junior member of staff of Mail Online in response to a story which questioned once again the causes of ME.

"As I am sure you are aware, there is still a great deal to learn about what lies behind the condition. However, I entirely accept that this is completely different from suggesting that the condition itself is not real, regardless of the cause.

"I am pleased to report that once the clumsy nature of the poll was drawn to more senior staff's attention it was immediately removed from the website.

"The Mail - both the paper and online - prides itself on its coverage of medical matters and has devoted much resource over the years into covering the search of the causes and a cure for ME. Rest assured that we will continue to do this and that its sufferers continue to enjoy our full sympathy and support.

"We do appreciate all feedback - whether positive or negative - and I am particularly grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to draw this to our attention."

Thank you to Neil Riley and Suzy Chapman who both showed us copies of this email.

That article originally appeared here.

It remains to be seen how much of The Daily Mail's explanation will be believed by the public.

(We've observed in the past that whenever an error has occurred at a newspaper, it's invariably – and conveniently – the fault of an always unnamed "junior member of staff".)



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