BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare

November 30th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity | 16 Comments »

You will remember Panorama’s WiFi program very clearly. Even the children in the school where they tried to film it spotted the problems with their methodology, and they were promptly booted out by a science teacher. I for one found those two little details truly mood enhancing, and you can read the full story here – because here is where you read it first (all the various entries related to the show are listed here). Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Kenyon from BBC Panorama Responds on Wi-Fi Scare

May 25th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories | 31 Comments »

I’ve just been sent this by the BBC publicity office, it is a response from Paul Kenyon, the presenter of the show, and very nice chap too.

He is talking about the posts here and here. Read the rest of this entry »

Amusing Leaked Letter – BBC Panorama Wi-Fi – now updated with further response from BBC

May 23rd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 44 Comments »

This has fallen into my hands. It is – I am informed – the letter that the BBC complaints people are planning to send to people if they complain about the ludicrous Panorama Wi-Fi show from Monday, featuring Alasdair Philips and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

I thought it might amuse you to know that it has apparently been written before you managed to write to them. Do please let us all know if you receive anything eerily similar yourself…

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BBC Panorama on WiFi – Updated with response from Panorama presenter Paul Kenyon

May 22nd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 61 Comments »

You have to skip through 2 minutes of Eastenders to get to it…

.

“Discuss”.
Read the rest of this entry »

Self-indulgent retrospective – 2007

December 28th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 22 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday December 29 2007

Nobody listens to a word I say: I’ve been saying it for so long now that I think I’d be sorry if they did. Scaremongering season kicked off with the Panorama WiFi special. Among its many crimes against sense, this program featured “independent testing” by – oh, hang on – a campaigner against WiFi, who also sells his own brand of special protective equipment to those frightened about WiFi. The BBC have since upheld complaints. Immediately after the show was broadcast, the Independent were promoting elaborate quack devices to protect against WiFi: these will take off in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

Essex electrosensitivity study results…

July 25th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 162 Comments »

… and they’re negative. Subjects were unable to distinguish whether the signal was present or absent. It is truly fantastic that for almost the first time ever the discussion around electrosensitivity is actually addressing the evidence, rather than anecdote. Cue a barrage of abuse from the electrosensitive lobby.

I’ll be updating as responses from lobbyi$ts and news coverage comes in, do please post links and text below and I will link to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated with lobby feedback – A thought experiment for the electrosensitivity lobby

July 24th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 29 Comments »

The electrosensitivity lobby are famously selective about the evidence they quote. They simply ignore the large body of data finding that electrosensitivity symptoms are not worsened by e-m waves, and they selectively quote only data which supports their hypothesis, in a pattern which can be seen throughout the internet.

I fear this may mislead their readers, and so here is a modest proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

Cherry Picking and the Professional Association of Teachers

June 20th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 56 Comments »

It’s a small thing, but if Wi-Fi and reality editing interest you, then here is a quick letter I just pinged off. Before you accuse me of being a little too interested, I can write veeeery quickly, and this kind of phenomenon really does fascinate me. Read the rest of this entry »

BMJ Column – Why don’t journalists mention the data?

June 15th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity | 28 Comments »

BMJ 2007;334:1249 (16 June)
doi:10.1136/bmj.39245.510718.59
Observations
Media watch
Why don’t journalists mention the data?

Have stories about “electrosensitivity” simply been lifted from those promoting this new diagnosis?

Sometimes, as a doctor who also writes in the newspapers, a dark thought comes across me: wouldn’t it be so refreshing -secretly, wouldn’t it feel so free – to leave the medical thing behind, and just make stuff up, say what I want, spin any story that pleases me, or any story that sells, and gaily ignore the evidence?

Read the rest of this entry »

Electrosensitives: the new cash cow of the woo industry

June 2nd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, independent, patrick holford, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories | 125 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday June 2, 2007
The Guardian

The Independent has put its green columnist Julia Stephenson on to Panorama’s Wi-Fi scare story: a charming green party candidate and beef heiress living in Chelsea on a trust fund, who believes her symptoms of tiredness and headache are caused by electromagnetic radiation from phones and Wi-Fi.
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