Fact Checking? UK Paper Simply Takes The Word Of Guy Who Claims WiFi Allergy

from the proof-please? dept

For years, we've been hearing stories from various people insisting that WiFi makes them ill. The only problem? There is absolutely no evidence to support this at all. Double blind tests with people have shown that the people who claim that WiFi makes them ill are no better at figuring out whether or not there's WiFi in a room. A more recent, and rather thorough, test showed that while those who claim "electromagnetic sensitivity" are having cognitive and neurobiological reactions, it's got absolutely nothing to do with electromagnetic waves. That is, the presence (or absence) of electromagnetic generating objects made no difference on the person.

And yet... reporters just seem to love the story about people being allergic to WiFi. The latest is in the Daily Mail over in the UK, which has an entire article all about a guy who lives in "agony" because of all the WiFi around. Not once does the reporter look into the evidence of the "allergy" but does claim that 2% of the population suffer from this. The guy travels around with a WiFi detector to protect him... but it's not protecting him from whatever is causing his problems (as the study found). You would think that a reporter would actually check the facts on such things, right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    scote, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    "The guy travels around with a WiFi detector to protect him"

    Which is to say he travels around with his enabling device that tells him when to feel sick...

     

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    Jaws4theRevenge, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

    Putting any journalistic qualifications on your C.V. would probably make you less likely to get a job there. It's one step up from toilet paper with interesting facts written on it. Except those facts are both interesting and factual so...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:40am

      Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

      yeah, i was going to point out that this is the daily mail. mike, you know they're a tabloid right? next to the wifi allergy articles, they talk about alien landings, wolf-boy, fish-girl, and nosferatu's predictions which have all diligently written exactly how the current government official will be the anti-christ.

       

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        Jaws4theRevenge, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:11am

        Re: Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

        Well, no, I wouldn't describe the Daily Mail as being that outlandish. It runs your everyday celebrity trash with occasional features like the man who is chased by seagulls everyday before work. That is a real feature they ran some years ago.

         

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          Petréa Mitchell, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

          I'd suggest the National Enquirer as an approximate US equivalent, and this posting as approximately equivalent to being surprised when the Enquirer takes astrology seriously.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

        I wouldnt be surprised of the Daily Mail getting its predictions from a fictional vampire.

         

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        Nasch, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

        next to the wifi allergy articles, they talk about alien landings, wolf-boy, fish-girl, and nosferatu's predictions

        Yeah, that's Nostradamus, not Nosferatu.

         

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      Simon (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:45am

      Re: Seriously, it's the Daily Mail

      As soon as I saw the TechDirt headline, I knew this was going to be a Daily Fail story....

       

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    John Strickland, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Take a Claritin and STFU.

    Just because a portion of the population is allergic to something doesn't make it newsworthy. I am allergic to pollen. It doesn't mean I advocate burning all the flowers down, or putting barriers around every flower and then putting up signs around gardens warning people.

    Radio has been around for close to a century. I am sure that if EM sensitivity were real we would heard bitching about it long before now.

     

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      Jason, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

      Re: Take a Claritin and STFU.

      Actually the local news stations in my home town all report on pollen count on a daily basis as part of the weather report, but no we don't burn the flowers either.

       

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    BullJustin (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    Solution

    Why doesn't this guy just build a Faraday cage for his head and be done with it?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Fact Checking?

    Fact Checking is not in the job description of Serious Journalists. That's why they employ Fact Checkers.

    Or did. Before they were all fired. Still, not their department.

     

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    lavi d (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Well...

    The reporter's newspaper probably doesn't have the funds necessary to check facts because it's being destroyed by the internet.

    Sheesh, you should know that by now.

     

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    DJ (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Still....

    This is right down the line of everyone who bought one of those cell phone reflectors a few years ago, thinking that they were being protected from harmful radio waves going through their head.....

    All it takes is on "respected Journalist" (please note the quote marks) to read this story on the web somewhere and decide to run it in the Times or some-such "respected" place. Suddently you have people everywhere thinking this BS is true.

     

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      scote, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 11:40am

      Re: Still....

      "All it takes is on "respected Journalist" (please note the quote marks) to read this story on the web somewhere and decide to run it in the Times or some-such "respected" place. Suddently you have people everywhere thinking this BS is true."

      I don't think it even takes that much. All it takes is a compelling anecdote. Humans prefer compelling stories to scientific data. But the newspaper's irresponsible, credulous reporting surely makes the situation worse, by spreading the story further and wider.

       

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    fogbugzd, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Reliable source

    Even if this is in a disreputable publication, it is now eligible to be used as a source for any politician who wants to grab headlines by regulating WiFi.

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Journalism and Facts

    Oxymorons (a tribute to George Carlin):

    Military Intelligence
    Jumbo shrimp
    Factual Journalism

    Any article in any paper that I have read, where I had personal knowledge of the event and/or the facts, were mostly incorrect and presented in a manner to support a particular view. It is as if the first criteria to becoming a journalist is to not know anything and the second to be highly opinionated.

    Is this person related to the guy who says the mafia has bugged his home/car/mother's house and is trying to force him to be a super model in New York?

    Lithium anyone?

     

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    Kazi, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    I bet he uses a microwave or a wireless phone!

     

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    trollificus (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    "Journalists every day are faced with the choice of laboriously checking the validity of what they are told or just putting it in the paper. Both approaches pay the same."
    ~More or less accurate Scott Adams quote

    Also, good points above about the incestuous "sourcing" practices of the MSM. Not surprising from media that can't or doesn't bother to differentiate between advocacy group press releases and scientific stuides.

     

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    monkyyy (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:38pm

    well i get sick form being away form tech

    why?

    cause i aint from the pre-internet era
    tell these people to stop liven in the past

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 1:57am

    FYI; The Daily Mail is not considered to be a quality newspaper in the UK.

     

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    Larry, Sep 7th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    There's as much evidence for man-made global warming as there is for wifi allergy. But that doesn't stop the media harping on about it, does it.

    The Daily Mail is NOT a tabloid, and it's about the only paper which reports the truth in the UK.

     

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    Mary, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 12:09am

    WiFi Allergy BS or Is It WiFi Radiation Sickness??????

    What is proof? Is proof that WiFi is safe because the FCC (U.S. Federal Communications Commission) says so? What would proof look like to you? This is a gray area of science and 'safe' can look and feel different to everyone, even to the FCC. It was so hard for them to define what safe was they just avoided it all together. They just waived all of the safety testing requirements by invoking the magic 'low power exclusion' clause. What does that mean? You are the guinea pig! Just ask all of those that got radiation sickness at the US Embassy in Moscow what the ’low power exclusion' clause meant to them. The Soviets used Cold War tactics of choronic low intensity modulated microwave bombardment at .01 microwatts/cm2 when they were directing low but steady doses of electromagnetic radiation into the embassy's offices and they were able to take out our US diplomats lives legally! What's the difference between that and WiFi hot spots I wonder? It's all 'safe' right? Let's do a reality test. If the FCC doesn't want to take the time to safety test this stuff, why not after they know what happened at the US Embassy? Maybe you should ask them that question and see what they say.

     

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    WiFiAllergy, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    take the wi-fi challenge

    I challenge any of you who doubt the existence of electromagnetic sensitivity to try the following:

    Strap a wi-fi device to your head - 150 milliwatts ought to do the trick. Set it up to do constant uploads and downloads, and keep it strapped to your head for 30 days.

    Don't protest to me that signal strength declines in an inverse square. You are telling us it is safe technology - so it must be as safe from an inch away as it is from two feet away. Afterall, if the energy of the 2.5GHz particles can't harm you, then they can't harm you - right?

    If you manage to keep it going for 30 days, congratulations - you are right and I am crazy. If, on the other hand you refuse to take the challenge, or can't handle it for the full 30 days, then i am right and you are full of crap.

     

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    diala, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 11:02pm

    I want a piano lessons for love story

     

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