October 21, 2021

In Wednesday’s newsletter, I wrote how CNN’s John King revealed on air that he has multiple sclerosis. King joined CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday to talk about his illness, and said he had not planned on announcing it on air, but felt the need to when talking about the importance of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19. He noted that no one knows if the person next to them in the grocery store is immunocompromised.

King was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 13 years ago, but first felt the effects as far back as the 1990s. Before Tuesday, only a dozen people close to him were aware of his diagnosis. He said it was a “mistake” to keep it so secret because maybe he would have been able to help those also living with MS.

“It’s a challenge, it sucks,” King said. “Every day it’s with me in some nagging way. Some days it’s with me in more profound, challenging ways. You fall down. You can’t pick things up.”

But, he considers himself lucky because his MS has progressed very slowly and his condition is less severe than many others.

King revealed that last November’s election week was one of his worst weeks. “I was having a lot of trouble functioning,” King said.

That’s remarkable considering King’s tireless work during election week was deservedly praised by media observers.

I encourage you to watch the interview. It’s about 12 minutes long, and all of it is important and compelling.

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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