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Here is an email I received from the president of our local lyme chapter (Montgomery County, PA). It's regarding the PBS showing of "Under Our Skin". There is an email to contact to fight for showings of this documentary in your area station (PBS World http:www.worldcompass.org/contact).

 

 

First of all, I must say that this might seem a bit hysterical. In fact I am still in shock. I can only say, that another layer of my naivete has been smashed.

 

This week I was contacted by a reporter who had previously interviewed me and featured some stories on Lyme patients. He had been contacted recently by an infectious disease doctor representing the IDSA who wanted to "clear up some inaccuracies" in the Under Our Skin film that is, or I should was, scheduled to show on PBS Y-Info on June 2-3rd in our region. The reporter picked up the phone and called me.

 

We were aware that, about 6 weeks ago, infectious disease (IDSA member) doctors started calling PBS stations asking them not to show the film, they also wrote letters (and Open Eye Pictures as well as I have copies of these letters), they used several different messages to accomplish this. One station folded to the pressure in Minnesota, but it appeared the scheduled showings across the nation stood.

 

Until this week. I checked the schedule for the film after talking to the reporter, and couldn't find it, so I called Open Eye Pictures. I got Andy Wilson, the film's Producer, and learned some unbelievable news:

The IDSA has gotten to the top of the PBS chain - PBS World - and convinced them that the film should be pulled. Andy learned this because he received a phone call, and they were informed that due to a technicality the film would not be shown, and they ended their contract. The technicality was the labeling of one of the speakers who should also have been identified as a co-producer of the film. PBS has specific requirements on labeling of speakers, etc., and when a film is undergoing review to show on PBS, there are often things that get picked up that need to be edited before it is ready to go. This is pretty standard - so it seemed that it should be a small matter, in fact they had previously picked up one other matter, which was updated very easily. This time, there was no discussion, they were just not showing the film period, it was clear there was no discussion.

PBS World and PBS Y-Info have cancelled the showing of Under Our Skin!

Let's be very clear - this film is a documentary film that accurately portrays the lives of 8 patients over the course of 4 years as Lyme patients. It is not a science education film; it is a documentary film. It tells it's scientific story through interviews with experts from both sides of the medical debate and does not put words in their mouths. These are their words, and the IDSA speakers all had the full benefit of their PR and Communications experts and coaches in their preparation prior to the filming. These are their words and their point of view that are accurately portrayed as is the counter view point. This is a documentary film revealing the diverse points of view as a backdrop to the real story, the patients journey as Lyme patients.

The good news? Our local PBS station has decided to go ahead and show the film on Channel 12 - see below email I received after a phone call with the same information.

Our YInfo channel is a national format programmed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) under the brand, WORLD. WHYY has no control over the programming decisions made by WORLD. Although Under Our Skin was originally scheduled to be broadcast by WORLD and carried on our YInfo channel, WORLD has decided to remove the documentary from their schedule at this time.

You can learn more about the WORLD format at: http://www.worldcompass.org/content/about and they can be contacted at: http://www.worldcompass.org/contact

 

Due to the positive response from our viewers regarding Under Our Skin, the program has been moved to our primary TV channel, WHYY TV12 (Over the air on 12.1, Comcast 12, 240 and 812, FiOS 512). However, because of this change, there will be only one showing. Under Our Skin is scheduled for: Sunday, June 19 at 3pm

 

Therefore, PLEASE CONTACT BOTH PBS - BELOW IS THE CHANNEL 12 MANAGER. The scheduled screening is at 3pm on a Sunday. I was clearly told that it is not 100% confirmed and may still be on shaky ground so make sure you let this program manager know how glad you are that they are showing the film, and ask them to 1) show it more than once and include at least one prime time (evening), better yet, 2) ask them to show the FULL version of the firm instead of the compressed version.

Christine Dempsey is our Vice President and Chief Content Officer. She can be reached at: cdempsey@whyy.org

cc: Brendan Regan, talkback@whyy.org (member services)

And contact PBS World http://www.worldcompass.org/contact to let them know what you think of this interference and suppression of a story that should be told. Such interference by a medical society in public broadcasting decisions is incredible -- especially when they had every opportunity to provide their expertise and did so in this film. This is a documentary film that truthfully depicts the stories of 8 patients - these stories need to be told -- and depicts the different medical viewpoints through interviews, and through what each scientist and medical expert actually says.

 

I would appreciate hearing from you all so I know someone is "talking back" on this issue. Thank you! - Julia

 

Julia F. Wagner

President of MontCoLyme (Montgomery County (PA) Lyme Information and Support Group)MontCoLyme@aol.com

MontCoLyme - 211 Main Street, North Wales, Pa

 

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included here and through this group is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. This group does not provide professional medical advice.

 

Chair, LymeAction PA, a state-wide coalition, www.lymeactionpa.com

c) 267-254-8605

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WOW!

 

Luckily our local PBS already played it on 5/17, it was scheduled anyway. It was on a station that DISH does not carry but Cable did. I hope a lot of people watched it.

 

I will look into supporting the cause and complaining about this for other stations (or for any replays in my area).

 

Susan

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Thanks for letting us know. I was wondering why they wouldn't air it here. What a load of junk! I'm so tired of the politics involved with this disease. Why are they so afraid?

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Netflix is now showing this as an instant play movie!

 

We are still in the process of recuperating from watching the movie last night. It was so well done! We are feeling so sad today for all of the people with lyme disease who are not able to find treatment and for all of the people with illnesses such as PITANDS, MS, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, etc...... who may have lyme and never find out that lyme may be at the root of their disease.

 

Elizabeth

Edited by KeithandElizabeth

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I recommend trying to find a way to watch this film. I plan to donate a copy to our local library. At our recent llmd appointment, there was a picture of a beautiful young woman on the doctor's desk. I made a comment about her, and was told it was the girl in the film who was paralyzed and had to be carried around by her father. She was treated and eventually went on to graduate with high honors and is doing extremely well!

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You can also either rent or buy it from ITunes.

I think the rental is $4.99. And, if I remember correctly, the 'Home use" version to buy is about $28.

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I emailed them to find out if it were true and why they were pulling it. Here's the response I got.

 

 

Hi,

WGBH has revised its decision to include the film “Under our Skin” on the WORLD channel. The decision is based on our own, internal editorial concerns that surfaced on closer review of the film.

 

WGBH takes no position on the subject of the film or the issues it discusses. We do recognize there are those who feel strongly about the topic, and we regret any concerns caused by our scheduling change.

 

Meanwhile, please visit our facebook page to share your concerns with our community: http://bit.ly/WorldCompass

 

Thanks,

Team WORLD

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Here is a message I received in return of the message above:

 

In a message dated 6/1/2011 1:39:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, JuliaFWagner@aol.com writes:

Thank you Thank you - -many of you have written and called PBS -- the reaction it provoked was a phone call to Open Eye Pictures explaining that the IDSA had not called them. They now said they read the "Yale Panel" review of the film, and that this was the basis for their canceling the film on PBS World, YInfo.

 

The timing is such that this explanation came after they had already informed Andy Wilson that the film was canceled due to a technicality, and, after all of you started emailing and calling PBS. While Open Eye Pictures has accepted that that is their reason, it still demonstrates inappropriate vetting of the press release. The "Yale Panel" (http://publichealth.yale.edu/news/news/2011/lyme.aspx) was made up of 3 of the Lyme Disease Guideline Panel members only, and is reflective of only one point of view. This opinion was issued as a Yale press release. PBS should have vetted the release and evaluated it against the counter viewpoints, particularly given the content of the film and the findings about these very same Guideline Panel members (re: conflicts of interest findings, ignoring divergent science).

 

Yale appears to be allowing their "brand" to be used by this sham "panel" to promote a point of view for purposes of shutting down public information, which we would think would be contrary to the values of a premier academic institution.

 

Channel 12, WHYY, in Southeast PA is holding strong in showing the film -- it is a Sunday afternoon 3pm - which is after all, kind of prime time. I am not aware yet of any additional screenings.

 

Thank you for acting, Julia Wagner, MontCoLyme and LymeActionPA

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I called my local PBS station today. Supposedly, they are airing it tomorrow at 7:30 am. BUT it is not listed anywhere on their website schedule nor is it showing up on my cable networks programming schedule either. So even if they are airing it, no one will know it is on!!

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