Surprise, Surprise: WiFi Scaremongering Marred By Shoddy Reporting, Bad Science And Conflicts Of Interest
from the hatchet-job dept
There's been a lot of noise being made in the UK about the supposed dangers WiFi presents. It's been clear for some time that these stories are little more than scaremongering, but Glenn Fleishman points out just how bad the reporting was on this latest BBC show about the dangers of WiFi. As he notes, the work by the show's producers and reporters was pretty shoddy: the show was largely based on the claims of the head of a group that extols the harm of electromagnetic radiation, though it never pointed out the guy's clear profit motive, as a seller of protective headgear, anti-radiation paint, and other tinfoil beanie-esque products. A columnist for The Guardian goes into further detail about the bad science the program used, noting that even the elementary schoolers the show wanted to film could see problems with it. What makes the whole thing slightly more amusing is that other people from the BBC have been trashing the show's report, and it's pretty clear that somebody there realized that it was going to cause some problems, since the form letter sent as a response to claims about it was written before the show even aired. As Ben Goldacre, The Guardian's Bad Science columnist points out, the show's shoddy reporting has ensured that the debate is focused on the show itself and its correspondents' poor work, rather than the actual issues at hand. But does the BBC, or any other media outlet running these scare stories really care, as long as people are talking?