• Shameful, disrespectful column
    December 11,2012

    Shameful, disrespectful column

    It’s a shame when news reporters don’t fully research an issue before writing articles about it. It’s something much worse when those who run the news outlets use their positions to make statements that are hurtful, insulting and just plain false.

    Friday’s opinion piece by the editor of The Times Argus on the recent decision by the Montpelier City Council to replace a wireless antenna with a hard-wired alternative did little to contribute to a respectful, fact-based discussion about the impacts that wireless technology has on residents of our community, or the basis for their concerns.

    If he had done more research, Mr. Pappas would have found that GMP’s claim (and that of the Vermont Department of Health) that there is “no scientific basis” for a connection between wireless devices, whether they be smart meters or antennas, and health impacts is not true. There are thousands of peer-reviewed studies by qualified medical researchers making exactly the connections between wireless devices and health issues that the utilities and regulators are dismissing. There are many cases of people around the country suffering from the symptoms listed in Mr. Pappas’ piece — which I won’t repeat here to avoid being accused of creating some kind of mass hysteria.

    In Europe, several countries recognize the harmful effects of exposure to elevated levels of wireless radiation. The Austrian Medical Association provides diagnosis and treatment guidelines to physicians, and in Sweden over 400,000 patients receive treatment. Doctors in these and other countries clearly see the biological responses to the radiation, and experts are reporting a rapid and dramatic increase in the number of cases. Meanwhile in the U.S. we’re left in the dark by poorly researched news stories.

    The request made by residents of the Hebert Road neighborhood was not extreme or outrageous — they were not asking for a revision of the city’s overall policy on the use of wireless technology. They were suggesting that an affordable alternative existed that would reduce their exposure to something that medical researchers say is a health risk. In Europe, this application of what is known as the “precautionary principle” would be seen as prudent and reasonable. Apparently Mr. Pappas condescendingly sees this as “tinfoil hat” nonsense.

    There is a real need for public discussion about the decisions our elected officials make and who they are responding to. But why Mr. Pappas feels the need to insult these residents, and misrepresent their position, is beyond me. Why he felt it was appropriate to use his position as the editor of the region’s main news outlet to do so is something his readers should be asking.

    Ray Pealer


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