New York Times editor called out in wake of Apple Watch/health concerns column

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Date: Friday, March 20th, 2015, 08:42
Category: News, Wearables

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Apparently everyone freaked out two days ago when New York Times staff writer Nick Bilton published a column. The column, originally titled “Could Wearable Computers Be As Harmful As Cigarettes”, but was later changed to “The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech,” earnestly points to the rising interest in smartwatches and fitness trackers and wonders if technology’s relentless march might come at a cost of our own health.

The piece began innocently enough:

We have long suspected that cellphones, which give off low levels of radiation, could lead to brain tumors, cancer, disturbed blood rhythms and other health problems if held too close to the body for extended periods.

Yet here we are in 2015, with companies like Apple and Samsung encouraging us to buy gadgets that we should attach to our bodies all day long.


The piece goes into the tried-and-true model of how man creates a thing, the thing becomes extremely popular, but is that thing actually bad for you?

The wheels then begin to fall off the article with the following quote, which brings about the idea of research:

While there is no definitive research on the health effects of wearable computers (the Apple Watch isn’t even on store shelves yet), we can hypothesize a bit from existing research on cellphone radiation.

The piece then moves on with this:

But what does all this research tell the Apple faithful who want to rush out and buy an Apple Watch, or the Google and Windows fanatics who are eager to own an alternative smartwatch?

Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician who focuses on alternative medicine and has written extensively about the potential harmful effects of cellphones on the human body, said that as long as a wearable does not have a 3G connection built into it, the harmful effects are minimal, if any.

Unfortunately, Dr. Joseph Mercola tends to fit into the “quack” category if he’s your expert on the health effects of wearables, especially gives the 30-minute diatribes about how vaccines are bad and fluoride damages your brain over on his web site.

This is about when the dogpile began, critics taking Bilton to task for his background as a columnist for the New York Times style section, his authorship of the New York Times Bestseller “Hatching Twitter” and white male tech journalist status, queries about why Bilton went to Dr. Mercola for the answers springing up almost immediately.

The frenzy is impressive, the cuts deep and if anything, this proves that if your editor won’t do his or her job, the Internet will do it for you. Go, take a gander and let us know what you think.

Via Digg and the New York Times

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2 Responses to “New York Times editor called out in wake of Apple Watch/health concerns column”

  1. My 2 cents: The NYT used to be mostly pro-Apple. David Pogue’s columns were very popular. But a very powerful Apple competitor was not pleased. They wanted Pogue and everything pro-Apple gone from the NYT.
    Then, somewhere around 2008/9, the Times found itself in financial trouble. The powerful Apple competitor came with a $olution. Soon after, Pogue was gone, and a steady production of anti-Apple articles began. Nick Bilton became the main tech guy, and the anti-Apple propaganda was relentless. Abused Chinese workers, Tax cheating, Lack of Innovation without Steve Jobs, etc. etc.
    The Apple Watch article is more of the same. Notice that the article only mentions Apple and Google. No mention of Microsoft, even though MS has a wearable fitness band, and more in the works.

  2. Forgot to add that I can’t prove any of what I wrote above. It’s guesswork.