Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
5G Got me Fired (medium.com)
410 points by adamrezich 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments

>This is a cautionary tale. Anyone writing for any publisher in today’s commercial market, where the managed advertorial and native ad seems to be the only way to make money, needs to be cautious. More importantly today’s readers need to be a little more than cautious when believing anything. Native advertising is a most insidious concept and should be rejected by every publisher. Instead it is welcomed by the broadcasting networks and most of the major newspapers including the New York Times. Are the writers saying nice things or are they paid to say nice things?

I think we quickly need changes in the way we handle native advertising. It is hugely problematic and basically predatory.

I believe that there are ways to genuinely advertise if the advertisement is openly disclosed and the ad is informative, but native advertising is essentially just a sophisticated and insidious form of manipulation. It turns readers into non-consenting consumers and the purpose of journalism from informing truthfully to a sales pitch. I have trouble imagining that many people think this is tolerable if we'd be debating it openly and brought it to the forefront of the news (which ironically is not going to happen).

"The power of advertisers over television programming stems from the simple fact that they buy and pay for the programs-they are the "patrons" who provide the media subsidy. As such, the media compete for their patronage, developing specialized staff to solicit advertisers and necessarily having to explain how their programs serve advertisers’ needs. The choices of these patrons greatly affect the welfare of the media, and the patrons become what William Evan calls "normative reference organizations," whose requirements and demands the media must accommodate if they are to succeed." - Noam Chomsky , Manufacture of Consent.

This makes me think that, besides the fact that Elon Musk seems to constantly has his foot in his mouth nowadays, this may be partly why Tesla has been getting so much negative press coverage (particularly headlines, which are usually written by editors, not the journalists who seem more objective to me). Tesla doesn't advertise. Everyone else in the industry does, bankrolling the press.

I know the press will deny this motive, but how can it not be a factor, even slightly?

Maybe Tesla receives negative press coverage for its poor workmanship, constant delays, near-unrepairability, bad labor conditions, union-busting, the CEO lying to investors, the CEO being unstable, precarious financial state, unfulfilled promises, reckless deadly computer-assisted driving sold as if it were self-driving, lack of independent competent management, a valuation highly dependent upon retaining a single executive, a valuation wildly overinflated by any objective measure, nonsensical acquisition of a failing home solar company run by a family member of the CEO, nonsensical and distracting forays into products unrelated to building and selling cars, it goes on...

This is not to mention the constant good press it receives.

It blows my mind how many Tesla apologists/fanboys are in this thread. Liking Elon Musk and thinking Tesla is heading for bankruptcy are not mutually exclusive. I think he's generally a force for good in the tech industry and greater world, but I've been pretty grim on TLSA for almost 3 years now. They are overvalued, under delivering, and Elon has seemed to be in the midst of a manic breakdown pretty much since his breakup with Amber Heard.

For what its worth, I'd probably lose my mind too if I was dating Amber Heard and we broke up. Godspeed, hope he recovers soon.

I would also add that some side-projects linked directly or indieectly with Musk and/or Tesla also contribute to the erosion of goodwill we're witnessing. For instance, the boring company is marketed as if they've made this gigantic breakthrough in tunneling that no one else in humanity has ever come up while they're actually just a company that bought a commercial tunneler, and hyperloop is marketed as if they're the first guys ever to look at the problem of transporting people very fast through tunnels while they're actally demonstrating they're even completely unaware of some pretty basic constraints and very fundamental problems that need to be solved prior to increasing train speed. Therefore, it's hard not to look at these ventures as if they're real-world eeenactments of the simpsons' monorail episode, and if Musk and Tesla's names are linked to these projects then they simply suffer the backlash.

Gotta agree. Although I love what his space division is doing. With Mercedes getting into electric cars now, I think people will go for a Mercedes instead of a Tesla, especially if the price is right

Don't forget Porsche, which implies Audi, vw, and Lamborghini as well.

I wrote this response because my experience so far is that, while not discounting his twitter antics, Elon is a force of good in this world and is mostly sincere and there seems to be a lot of fud (fear, uncertainty, doubt, often unsubstantiated or just quoting lies) spread around whatever he's doing.

Some sentences or terms you use may be factually correct in some context or way, but you seem to be painting a pretty negative picture chaining them together.

Granted, the media also occasionally report on Tesla kicking ass, but the negative press coverage almost seems like a concerted effort to spread fud every chance the media gets. The media have a vested interest in selling drama and they blow shit out of proportion and created issue where there isn't any.

They misuse their responsibility of shaping public opinion when they for example go crazy on someone taking one puff of a blunt and ignoring almost 3 hours of meaningful conversation with a sentence.

If Tesla is in such a precarious financial state and a sorry ass company, why do investors and banks keep lending and pumping money? Because the fundamentals are solid and anyone actually following the numbers and their mission, as opposed to media fud, knows they are about to skyrocket.

Their valuation may have been inflated especially if you believe the value represented the here and now but the fundamentals haven't changed, in fact they may be even better than expected. Once Tesla hits profitability on the account sheet (they already make close to 20% on every Model 3 sold but are 'losing' money because of heavy investment as far as I can tell), they will shoot to the moon because the media will then report Tesla is suddenly a good company and the optics have changed, even though the fundamentals haven't.

They're betting big on at least mid range Trucking switching electric because according to them it'll be cheaper to operate electric fleets. They got a pickup, the model y, planned to begin production soonish. They can lower their unit prices once they hit massive scales due to multiple gigafactories. They operate their own charging network, no other car manufacturer comes anywhere close to what they have.

Granted, Elon is the hype machine behind companies he's running or involved in, but his cult of personality is not all vanity. Why does Elon take no (1 dollar) salary, still holds some 20% of the stock and works his ass off and drains himself to his detriment on Tesla? Because he seems to be for real, a believer, and he delivers even if it's delayed.

Tesla under his leadership has done a great service to humanity, igniting the transformation to moving away from fossil fuels. The other car makers are lagging behind and only now starting to invest billions into battery manufacturing when Tesla is showing them they're for real.

I thought helping with load balancing and storing more volatile non-fossil energy and the creation of smart local grids and allowing people to get off the grid with their home batteries could be a reasonable endeavor for Tesla's battery division.

Or maybe the press can just be more truthful about a company that doesn't give them advertising money?

We're in a thread about native ad and misinformation, and here we go a comment that is blatantly spreading misinformation stated as facts.

Would you mind sharing what is misinformation, and what is factual, in the parent comment?

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent (FTFY)

"Manufacture of consent" is the Walter Lippman term they named the book after.

This sort of problem became more or less inevitable once people stopped paying for content.

With a traditional newspaper your readers are footing at least part of the bill for the articles, so you are beholden to them to keep them informed. At least in theory. These days however the only payment is coming from advertisers, so they are the only ones you need to keep happy.

This is the same problem that TV and Radio news has always had, and why they were considered inferior to newspapers for factual reporting. Of course there are a few outlets that are listener/viewer funded, and they tend to be more highly regarded than their counterparts. Outlets like the BBC, NPR, and PBS.

Theoretically cable news shouldn't have this problem since part of the cost comes from people's cable bills, but other forces have conspired to poison that well.

With a traditional newspaper your readers are footing at least part of the bill for the articles

When was that exactly?

Back when I used to pay for a physical newspaper thrown at my door, I remember it often said that the price covered printing and delivery and most of the newspaper's income came from advertising. Was this wrong? It doesn't seem like it... it was sub $1 per issue, which seems about an order of magnitude less than what Amazon would charge.

My impression is that in the old days more of the money came from the readers, but as the years went on they didn't track inflation and ended up leaning more heavily on advertisers. Then they died out.

For those who are not familiar with them term "native advertising", it means integrating the ad into the page content in such a way that it doesn't appear to be an ad at first glance.

In other words, using the same style as the adjacent content, and removing any boxes or rules that separate an ad.

It's pretty far down the slope into dishonesty territory w.r.t. separating content from editorial or advertising, and the FTC should investigate and regulate native ads.

Native ads should be clearly labeled and disclosed, as with any other ads. This isn’t controversial and is what all serious journalism organizations are already doing.

I don’t buy that the format is inherently any more dangerous than anything else. All ads need to be respectful of the reader regardless of form.

Ads are always disrespectful of their victims. They are intrusive and manipulative by nature.

Self respecting marketers will often say that their goal is to inform, but without fail, that "information" is laced and inextricably woven with manipulative psychology, tangential to the product being sold.

Further, in any industry where it can be employed, it chokes out every other form of revenue. How can anyone compete with "free"? Then, inevitably, when ads enter a space, they quickly dominate and poison it.

What you are saying doesn't apply generally. Are you thinking in a specific context?

Without advertising, the take up of new inventions (things like pressure cookers, microwaves, etc) would be significantly slower. There would be mass confusion about how to get access to uncommon services (legal, accounting and building for example). I wouldn't know what half of the companies out there did if they didn't run some advertising somewhere.

I mean, say there is a company called Stratco. They might sell something I'd buy if I knew about it. How do you propose I figure that out if they don't advertise? I'm not about to research them to find out what it is they sell; there are too many companies out there doing random business->business services I don't want to know about. It is a very neat solution for them to figure out what I do for leisure, subsidise it and pay for an ad or few.

I second that from my gaming rgb overheat-edition microwave.

I have a more radical approach to that : I discard any opinion I see in a press article (that is, most of it, usually), and only focus on new facts the article brings.

I don't mean any disrespect for journalists and I'm deeply thankful for their work (I even considered becoming one, as a kid), but I don't care for their opinion. I did once, before the internet, because opinions were valuable, as the only ones you were exposed to were family's and friends'.

But today, the internet is a massive opinion building/sharing machine. The last thing we need is the press to do it as well, instead it must be the place where we can expect to find facts and fact checking. I don't have any problem with random people sharing their opinion either - it's cool we can do it - but now I expect more from the press.

Now, I'm well aware solving the native ad problem does not solve the real problem : press has hard time keeping afloat. My usual suggestion about that is for browsers to include means for micro-payment (be it using google pay, cryptocurrencies, apple pay, whatever pay, a new standard, I don't care). The main problem with paywalls to me is that they expect users to subscribe for monthly subscriptions, renewed until they're manually cancelled. This is not how people consume news anymore. They come to an article because of its content, they wish to see that content, they don't want to see other articles. We need to allow people to quickly pay a small fee to see a single article, without all the hassle of using a credit card.

Its a more insidious form of fake news than foreign intelligence disinfo operations.

A good filter for life seems to be 'if you don't want to be manipulated look for the one with a price' or tldr: 'Don't trust free'.

You have to trust free when you are in tech. Free powers list of internet, infrastructurs, etc.

I don’t think there’s any change needed. Why prop up the status quo with bureaucracy? Mainstream media was shedding eyes and under scrutiny well before “fake news”.

Let MSM die its slow death while new and better services make their debut.

Mainstream media had what was called the “Chinese wall” between the ad business and the newsroom. For a sales guy to even speak with an editor would be highly inappropriate. It wasn’t perfect, but exceptions would have at least violated social and professional norms with rank and file journalism school graduates. Alternative media (like what the corpses of the old mainstream press have become) don’t even pretend to have that sort of discipline. Their funding model is to promote an individual, business, or political agenda, straight up. On this one, I mourn the loss of the traditional press.

Please define mainstream media. Are you using it in the right-wing sense of “media that isn’t our personal hagiographers”?

> Mainstream media was shedding eyes

News has been “shedding” paid subscribers. Shedding eyes? Citation needed.

> and under scrutiny

By who?

Am I missing something? He says PC Magazine fired him because he was critical of his 5G article and that rankled the magazine's sponsors. Who specifically are the sponsors he's thinking of? Is there any evidence whatsoever that this is what happened?

So they linked his article about 5G to a different one. Why does that mean he was fired for writing the article? I feel like an application of Hanlon's Razor (not quite right, but I don't know of someone else's who fits the situation better) is called for. Is it more likely the editors thought his article sucked and used their editorial discretion to redirect his 5G article to a different one or that there was a conspiracy between his advertisers and the magazine's management to fire a guy who's been wrong on just about everything for the last 30 years because he hit the nail too close to the head?

I don't buy it.

Having run a newspaper, I can confirm that advertisers do contact management and say "I didn't like that article, do something about it or we won't be advertising with you again". And the financial pressure is intense. You have many, many staff to pay, and the commercial pressure to keep advertisers happy is real and difficult to manage.

I can totally believe that the magazine caved in to pressure from an advertiser to sack a journalist and pull a story. It happens every day. Luckily I never had to do it, but there were times I was very tempted.

I totally agree with his comment that the only way journalism is going to survive is if readers start paying for it. What we have now is mostly not-journalism.

> I can totally believe that the magazine caved in to pressure from an advertiser to sack a journalist and pull a story.

As an example of where it has happened:

> Gerstmann revealed that his firing was in fact related to the low review score he had given to Kane & Lynch, though his explanation cited other similar events that led up to the termination, including a 7.5 (good) rating given to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction by Aaron Thomas, then an employee under Gerstmann. Events such as these led to him being "called into a room" several times to discuss reviews posted on the site. Gerstmann went on to lay the blame on a new management team that was unable to properly handle tension between the marketing and editorial staff, laying additional blame on the marketing department, which he claimed was unprepared in how to handle publisher complaints and threats to withdraw advertising money over low review scores.


Lots more examples in my media literacy guide:


Search for Access:

I don’t deny at all that it happens, and I understand that management has a difficult path to tread, but he just threw out a claim that it had happened to him with absolutely no evidence or even plausible story of who did it or why.

Do you find it believable that he was fired over this?

A person who's been writing the same type of inflammatory articles for 30 years is suddenly fired, while an article he wrote recently blasting 5G is completely replaced by a new article favorable to 5G... I think you're using Hanlan's Razor to cut in the wrong direction this time.

It's entirely possible that this not very good column was some sort of final straw and there's some history we don't know leading up to it. The story as told still seems very odd but, of course, we're only hearing one side of it.

Ziff-Davis magazines (original owner of PC Magazine) were never known for editorial integrity, even when they were in print format...

On the upside, if Dvorak thought 5G was crap, then it’s practically guaranteed to be a fantastic and successful technology.

Not that I read the article that was removed, but in this he said he wasn't even that critical himself, just pointing towards all the other critical articles and noting they need to fix whatever is causing them to be written.

This is the actual article: http://archive.is/aCge1 It's mostly fearmongering about 5G affecting people's health which doesn't even seem to be that founded in the one other article he linked to, which contained different fearmongering about the potential health effects of 5G.

So the jury is still out for 5G, not a guaranteed success ?

With respect to the actual post, the issue has come up, e.g. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pa8bpk/5g-wireles... (And, yeah, Marin County.) Even if it represents a minority viewpoint, 5G health concerns aren't quite crackpot theory land.

That said, column seems more than a bit sensationalistic and one-sided --but not really all that different from many things that Dvorak has written over the years.

> not really all that different from many things that Dvorak has written over the years

Dvorak's writing has always been about being contrarian and kicking up controversy.

The same city that banned 5G for health reasons also leads the state in rejecting vaccines for children (anti-vaxxers).


This. People claiming that cell phone signals cause cancer or other ill health effects are crackpots, nothing more, nothing less.

The claims simply don't make sense. Non-ionizing EM radiation has absolutely no documented effects on humans.

You mean the people at the World Health Organization are crackpots? Microwave radiation is classified as a Class 2B carcinogen by WHO.

Here's 67 studies on the biological effects of microwaves, ranked by transmission power:


All of them crackpots?

Here's a study of EM fields on neonatal babies:

"Electrical Grounding Improves Vagal Tone in Preterm Infants"


There was also an article written on this publication:


I guess the babies were not informed of your crackpot theory?

Here's a website with a database of 26,819 publications on the effects of electromagnetic fields on biology, including human and animal studies:


More crackpots, I assume?

We have constantly accumulating evidence that EM radiation in fact IS harmful. The biggest reason the public is not aware of this, is simply because the wireless industry is making too much money from this technology.

The wireless industry employ some of the biggest lobbying groups in the world. With the amount of funds and leverage available to them, it becomes easier to influence legislation and decision makers.

That's all there is to it. No conspiracy, no crackpots. It's simply business

What a wonderful Gish Gallop. Thanks for letting me be another in your long line of intellectually dishonest copypasta responses. Keep on pushing conspiracy theories like the "deep state"!

5g affecting health isn't crackpot theory?


There is an impressive-looking group of credentials behind a petition[1] to halt 5G rollouts in the EU until more research can be done. The science just isn't settled yet, partly because doing a rigorous controlled trial in real world conditions is just about impossible.

Keep in mind it's not just about cancer, it's any health effect of any kind. The nature of the shorter wavelengths of 5G means that more transmit power and/or more transmitters to cover the same area will be required, so we can't necessarily take what we know about the current bands and assume these are equally safe. Too many confounding factors.

There's an excellent writeup from Vox on the state of the science. It's a mess, to put it lightly. [2]

[1]: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B14R6QNkmaXuelFrNWRQcThNV0U...

[2]: https://www.vox.com/2018/7/16/17067214/cellphone-cancer-5g-e...

Any name in particular you consider impressive? I don't know anybody on that list, but see several people associated with "electrosensitivity" organizations, which I don't associate with high quality science.

Moreover, you'd think that such a "high profile" petition would be hosted on something a little bit more prominent than, you know, a Google Drive shared doc.

The list of names is not impressive.

If you drill little bit into the background of people, the list is full of crackpots or confused old people. Last time it came up, I checked people from my country (Finland) and they were all crackpots.


I'm just curious what your own scientific credentials are, to be able to label other scientists in this field as crackpots?

In case you aren't aware, and it seems you are not, there is a mountain of research and evidence on the effects of electromagnetic fields on biology.

Or are you going to dismiss 26,813 publications and all of their writers as crackpots?


I checked just three people from the list that they are all promoting pseudoscience.

* Electromagnetic hypersensitivity theory has no scientific basis and double blind studies show that the symptoms are not dependent on electromagnetic field.

* Dowsing aka divining is medieval practice with no scientific basis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing

> mountain of research and evidence on the effects of electromagnetic fields on biology.

This is trivially true and too generic statement to be used as an argument. For example in vitro studies don't transfer into in vivo. Especially in high frequencies.https://www.emf-portal.org/en is good source f and as you can conclude from the wast volume of research, it is well researched subject. No significant negative effects has been established from cell phone or wi-fi radiation unless the energy is well above the safe levels.

> Electromagnetic hypersensitivity theory has no scientific basis and double blind studies show that the symptoms are not dependent on electromagnetic field.

Of course it has scientific basis. The scientific basis is that electromagnetic fields alter biological processes, thereby it is possible to produce effects in both animals and humans.

And if you deny that electromagnetic fields can alter biological processes, then you really completely deny science.

In addition, EHS is really a poor choice as a descriptive term for these symptoms. It is no different than saying that when someone punches you repeatedly, you develop human fist hypersensitivity.

It is a misunderstanding that people who suffer from EHS could somehow sense microwave radiation directly. This is impossible, because humans have no direct sensing apparatus for this type of radiation.

What happens is that they feel the secondary effects of the disruption in their biology. For example a change or disruption in the ATP production of the cell can lead to many secondary effects, as can can the effects on cell wall permeability, just as two examples.

Trying to do provocation tests on human subjects, only really shows a misunderstanding of what is happening.

> The scientific basis is that electromagnetic fields alter biological processes

That's not a basis, that's an assumption. An assumption that must be proved though double-blind trials. An assumption that has never held water through multiple studies.

> It is a misunderstanding that people who suffer from EHS could somehow sense microwave radiation directly.

It is a misunderstanding pushed by the very people who are now making outlandish claims about the safety of RF radiation.

> What happens is that they feel the secondary effects of the disruption in their biology.

Again, that has been disproven time and time again.

How many Navy veterans have that sensitivity? You would think serving next to a radar some of them would.

This is a good point.

This was known before the advent of cell phones by radar operators as radar sickness. The army has known about these problems for a long time.

You can read here an excerpt from 1973 from the WHO symposium in Warsaw on electromagnetic radiation. The Russians had studied this phenomenon for 20 years prior, and the conclusion is in the symposium papers:


“Typical mutations in children of radar soldiers”:


A study that was literally published this week? Wake me up when it's been peer-reviewed and replicated.

Most of 5G will be deployed in the same bands as GSM/UMTS/LTE anyway.

>Addendum — the original 5G column is still up in India! Click here.

Then the dreaded "403 Not allowed".

Archived here: http://web.archive.org/web/20180913212959/https://in.pcmag.c...

Thanks for that!

Here's the critical bit...

<I'm not saying this because the technology does not work. It's a bad bet because so little is known about the effects of millimeter waves (30GHz-300GHz). While these frequencies only permeate a small fraction of the human epidermis (the skin), the effect on the cornea, in particular, needs serious research.

Because the industry is too cheap to study the health effects of the technology itself, it lets this sort of product out the door despite the fact that it has already been weaponized by the military


These frequencies are so poor at travelling long distances, they need a transmitter on nearly every telephone pole and light pole to make 5G work.>

Aren't the frequencies regulated by the FCC? Why should industry bear the burden of proving something safe that the government has already approved? It's not the world I like, but it's the one we're in.

Edit: just realized I missed where the quote ended. My question remains, though I suppose patent isn't really who I meant to ask.

The 5G frequencies are listed at https://gsacom.com/5g-spectrum-bands/

Wow okay that article is trash with little substance. I would also not want such articles in my publications.

It really is a shitty article, with very few sources and tons of FUD.

There's some sort of weird redirect loop going on if you do a Google search and try to go to that link:


CMS problems aren't exactly uncommon. But he was apparently fired and, absent a big backstory of which people are unaware, it's bizarre at the least to fire someone with such a long tenure without any explanation. Regardless of the sorry state of so many long-established tech pubs.

/!\ Working link

Thanks for this! The in.pcmag.com link to Indian PC Mag shows a very suspicious 403 error now (not even a 404). But yours works. It's fascinating, two pcmag.com links back to back somehow confuses the CMS's router and shows the old article. Nice one.

Since this'll probably be "fixed", I fed the URL to archive.is: http://archive.is/KbsW8

[Also, for posterity, the view of the 403: http://archive.is/ggMat - thanks to whoever added this]

He raises many good points about the potential downsides of 5G. US telecom corporations are rushing to beat China Telecom companies & South Korean companies to the punch. The US is definitely not going to have the same dominance in 5G that they had with 4G, especially if they take hazardous paths to a nationwide rollout

> US telecom corporations are rushing to beat

There are no US based mobile infrastructure companies competing for 4G or 5G installations. Qualcomm is lower level supplier providing components and competing with MediaTek, Samsung and Chinese.

There is only 5 major players left: Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung. Two Chinese, Finnish, Swedish and South Korean.

I don't know based on what you are saying that, but all US cellular operators already told shareholders their billion dollar plans for 5G as far as last year.

I think he's talking about telecomm equipment, not operators

US cellular operators are not competing with China and they are just customers to for technology.

If the "rushing to beat" is just figurative saying, then you are right.

Does he raise good points? Reads like FUD to me. You could write basically the same article about wifi

I don't know what was the cause of him getting fired, but he certainly SHOULD be fired for such a sleazy sensationalist piece:

> When you do a search for "5G is Safe" on Google and Bing, you get a number of negative stories and a laundry list of why some people believe it's unsafe. Companies may as well begin to market a 5G mobile phone with a skull and crossbones on it.

Really, the entirety of his journalistic research is a Google search that somehow justifies him to reproduce conspiracy theories as facts? Technology similar to 5G "has been already weaponized"? Good riddance.

I guess we read the article differently. Because he didn’t seem to be saying 5G was dangerous, more that this was the public perception, and that vendors are doing little to manage the PR around this.

If that's the intent, it's poorly written.

It's fine to observe that search results pop up a lot of pieces and discussions about 5G health concerns. And those may lead to adoption problems whether they're true or not. But if you're writing a good column, even though it is an opinion piece, you should probably then point out things like: XYZ studies dispute these health effects and that these sort of concerns have been brought up with pretty much every new radio technology.

If you just say there's a bunch of scary information out there (without even pointing to anything specific), you leave the impression that there's likely some truth in all of it.

Dvorak at least was a pretty high profile tech columnist. But he's tended toward a clickbait style even before there were links to click on.

He did say that topic having a real lack of studies was the main problem. 5G radiation is not the same as previous cellphone radiation which does have "XYZ studies dispute these health effects".

Sometimes presenting both sides of the argument would require making up an other side of the argument or propping it up because it doesn't exist or is bad. In that case presenting both sides of the argument would be sensationalizing.

I read this as him saying that the industry is trying to make unstudied radiation ubiquitous in our lives. The industry is not used to this pushback. The PR that results is bad.

Critical reading does not mean reacting to your first impression on the article. Especially when discussing whether the work of a man who's been covering tech since 1980 was censored over it.

That maybe the case, but bad enough to get fired over? That’s not clear to me.

The way modern writing works, I would expect he got paid very little for writing this. You’re kind of asked to push out X many blog posts a day, there’s not a huge amount of time for research... or even re-reading/thinking over the implications of your work.

Please let's not just surrender to "That's how modern writing works." I suppose it is at some publications, perhaps including pcmag.com. But there are plenty of thoughtful, researched articles and columns out there to read. That column has maybe a tweet's worth of content.

It’s not how things work everywhere I’m sure. But it seems likely in this case. As such, the content doesn’t surprise me, and I would put the blame solely on the author in this case.

Meh, the chief economics editor for ABC Australia wrote an article on the corporation tax reforms that made some pretty serious mistakes and she wasn't just simply fired even though many conservatives called for her head.

As I read it he's saying "the safety of millimeter waves needs more research" which isn't unreasonable. wifi doesn't use millimeter waves - the safety of wifi's frequency range is very well researched and has been for a long time.

Dvorak is a troll. I could go show the reasons, but he's all about saying inflammatory things (mostly at apple fans) and getting them to buy magazines / click things. This is a continuation in that trend, but may or may not be true.

Dvorak has been known to troll but when you write a typical Dvorak-tier skeptical piece on 5G then new management fires you and suddenly your 5G-skeptical piece has been replaced by a pro-5G piece, I don't see how you can reach any conclusion other than the same one he did in this post. Did you even read the post?

Especially since they presented demonstrably false pretenses in their notice to him as to why he was being let go.

I guess to be eat my comment was intended as a "good riddance" regardless of the truth of his firing. Clearly with you I failed to deliver that message, so sorry about that.

Well you will be happy now because he now writes for nobody except the NoAgenda newsletter since this was his last job.

I did post about this in the other thread and folks piled on calling me a conspiracy theorist, but in the letter JCD received from his editor, they said they were shutting down all outside columns.

This is in fact not true -- other columns have continued since then and some other columnists have had the title listed in their author bios changed while continuing to have articles published.

In my personal experience though, ending these sorts of outside contracts with a half-truth in the vein of "the organization has decided to make a change" isn't remotely unusual. It's entirely possible that PC Mag decided to prune their outside contributors to a core group and perhaps change their relationship somewhat with the remaining ones.

Is it disingenuous, especially with someone who has been working for you in some form for a very long time? Sure. But I've seen a number of online pubs that go through changes with their outside contributors and communication is mostly pretty poor.

The still retain outside columnists. The PC Mag editor straight up lied.

Updated link in the post is broken, here's an internet archive link: https://web.archive.org/web/20180911200355/https://in.pcmag....

As far as I can tell, it's almost as if the vast majority of articles on the web are native ads. When the regular article writers have to compete against the native ads to get views on their content... they really don't have a choice.

Native ads are presented as stock market news, the NYT publishes it regularly, really what's the point... Figured I'd even start doing it on my blog (mostly a joke):


Fact is, it's the new world we live in. Just like I may pay for cable and I get ads; I can pay for the NYT and their content is nothing more than an ad.

John C. Dvorak is a troll and the record holder of being wrong.

He is almost everything that's bad on "tech journalism" concentrated in one.

Specially regarding his brand of hate, Apple.

He mentioned that the "mouse" of the Macintosh was bad ("There is no evidence that people want to use these things."), he claimed that Apple was going to discontinue OS X and switch to Windows (according to his "sources"), he argued that Apple should cancel the iPhone even before the thing came out, etc. etc. etc. the thing only repeats after each Apple new product, and even claimed that the $1T company was dead because the iPhone 5 was going to flop (the iPhone 5 was Apple's biggest success until the date).

There is only one reason why companies hire him or fire him, he drives clicks and magazine purchases. He is the Alex Jones of tech.

Thing is that today, people can go to many other places to get their Apple hate validated, on top of that, he wrote a negative article about 5G, and the PC Magazine sponsors are waiting for that to sell more phones, so he had to go.

He may be a troll but that doesn't discount the point he's addressing that in the absence of subscription model, content will be driven by who pays for it (ie. other than the readers).

It’s been decades since subscription revenue drove the majority of magazine and newspaper revenue - probably about the time most of use were in diapers...

>It’s been decades since subscription revenue drove the majority of magazine and newspaper revenue

Yeah no. If you’re going to make claims like that you better source it. Source for the NY Times says the exact opposite: https://www.statista.com/statistics/192911/revenue-of-the-ne...

> "There is no evidence that people want to use these things."

He was correct - there was no evidence, at the time, that people wanted to use a mouse.

Also, obligatory:


In 1984 people didn't knew if they wanted or didn't want to use a mouse. Most people didn't even used PCs, much less the extremely expensive machines that had a real GUI and some software to try it out.

But it's the job of a journalist, specifically a columnist, to be above the average Joe.

Dvorak is a cranky opinion columnist. He always has been. That's his schtick, and he's never tried to hide that.

So now you're excusing his behavior because it's "expected"? Maybe now is the moment we stop giving him the time of day.

I like him and find his columns entertaining, and always have. I'm not like, picking stocks based on them.

So the fact that he's peddling basic fear mongering doesn't put you off in any way?

> He is the Alex Jones of tech.

Ha! I hope he responds to that on No Agenda.

You know that saying controversial things about Apple has basically always been his schtick. It drives pages views when people get all upset and flood into the site to read the article so that can go back to Hacker News/SlashDot/Reddit/Digg/Fark/Facebook/Twitter/whatever to argue about it.

> he claimed that Apple was going to discontinue OS X and switch to Windows (according to his "sources")

I thought something like that was on the table in NT days (remember it used to support PowerPC). That would have been pre Jobs return and pre OS X though.

No, it was in Feb 2006.

In 2006, Mac OS X was glowing hot with Tiger release.

For clarity, you mean to say that Dvorak claimed it in 2006.

I am saying I read or heard that it was discussed in real life in the 90s. This is unrelated.

Yin and Yang. We need an opposing force out there to balance John Gruber.

One of my favorite computer articles of all time is also written by Mr Dvorak: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339629,00.asp

It's mostly nonsense though. Itanium ended up being a bad bet for Intel and HP but both companies mostly just moved on with Xeon. Intel's worse bet was on x86 in mobile.


This was my first encounter with the term "native advertising", and it's a perfect term for describing the bulk of YouTube content. A welcome addition to my vocabulary.

It appears the Indian edition has also removed the article now.

This is John C Dvorak style. I guess if they don't like it, they had to fire him. But, if this gets you fired, how can you write about anything.

I hope he gets hired quickly somewhere much nicer.

Really concerned about 5G now that I connected the dots. I don't mind 4G being branded as new 5G and being always connected.

There's already loads of millimeter wavelength gear deployed : P2P links between buildings; TSA machines at airports. So..although some caution is of course appropriate, it isn't like this stuff isn't already irradiating humans widely.

Disclosure : based on my understanding of EM radiation as an EE and person who deploys microwave gear around my own house, I'm fine with anything non-ionizing. I'd like to see the general public more educated on this subject. Obfuscation is not in anyone's interest.

> I'm fine with anything non-ionizing

Marie Curie was also fine with working with Radium... until we found out that it wasn't good for you. The thing about stuff like cancers is that it's really difficult to say "this person's cancer was caused by X." The best we can do are wide spectrum studies about cancer rates, and try to use statistics to limit the variables.

I _really_ wish posts to Medium would indicate if its a story that hits agains the Preview Member stories.

Atleast we now know that the "PC" in "PC Magazine" now stands for "Politically Correct".

Everything now needs to be neutered down without offending anyone, especially any groups with deep pockets.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact