ABC suspends hack over “wi-fi cooked my brain” story

img_3797The Aussie ABC science program Catalyst is under review after the second major breach of editorial standards in several years after the programme churned out another Facebook-style conspiracy story.

The Corporation’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs unit has found a story on the safety of Wi-Fi was in breach of editorial policies on accuracy and impartiality.

The problem centres on a story Catalyst aired Wi-Fried about the safety of wireless devices such as mobile phones. Basically the item churned out the sort of conspiracy nonsense about wi-fi’s cooking your brain which you expect to see on Facebook, along with fantasies about Chem trails.

This is the second time Catalyst’s programming has dumbed itself down by ignoring science to push Facebook style conspiracy theories. The Audience and Consumer Affairs Unit found a story aired in October 2013 on statins and heart disease was not up to standards of impartiality.

The person responsible for both programmes was Dr Maryanne Demasi. She has been apparently suspended from on-air reporting until the review of Catalyst is completed in September.

Dr Demasi is making no comment but she did defend the broadcast in the Huffington Post claiming that sometimes you have to ask questions.

“Catalyst was accused of scaremongering. It’s an overused term. It’s routinely used in politics to dismiss opposition policies. Reporting on terrorist threats, the Zika virus and crime sprees could also be argued to cause anxiety among the general population. But it’s a price we’re all willing to pay for free and diverse speech,” she said.