Verizon’s Super Bowl Hypocrisy and the FCC Satellite Blunder: You Might NOT Read All About It in the New York Times

By Patricia Burke

Last week, Business Insider’s Dave Smith reported on the irony of Verizon’s Super Bowl ad campaign.  The ads exploit firefighters and their need for timely telecommunications connections to promote 5G telecommunications.

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Verizon released a pair of commercials during the Super Bowl to honor the men and women fighting wildfires around the country.

While the ads demonstrate the importance of communication services during times of emergency, the reality is that Verizon last year slowed down communications at the Santa Clara County Fire Department as wildfires raged around California.

Verizon throttled, or slowed down, the fire department’s communications to 1/200th of the normal speeds, according to court documents, despite the fire department having paid for one of the company’s “unlimited” data plans.

The fire department emailed Verizon at the time asking it to end the throttling, but Verizon instead suggested the department upgrade to a bigger data plan that cost twice as much. (Verizon eventually apologized for this, and now says it will provide “full network access” to first responders during emergencies. A Verizon spokesperson also told Business Insider over the phone that what happened in Santa Clara was a “one-time, isolated incident.”)

The irony of Verizon promoting 5G use by firefighters in not only that Verizon throttled firefighters’ communication speeds during a fire, but that “firefighters are also fighting celltowers.”

As chronicled by Physicians for Safe Technology, brain damage has been documented in firefighters who had cell antennas mounted on their stations.


Neurological Symptoms in Firefighters Match Brain SPECT Scans

The study by Dr. Heuser was described in a 2004 IAFF Resolution .

A pilot study was conducted in 2004 of six California fire fighters working and sleeping in stations with towers.  The study, conducted by Gunnar Heuser, M.D., PhD. of Agoura Hills, CA, focused on neurological symptoms of six fire fighters who had been working for up to five years in stations with cell towers. Those symptoms included slowed reaction time, lack of focus, lack of impulse control, severe headaches, anesthesia-like sleep, sleep deprivation, depression, and tremors.  Dr. Heuser used functional brain scans – SPECT scans – to assess any changes in the brains of the six fire fighters as compared to healthy brains of men of the same age.  Computerized psychological testing known as TOVA was used to study reaction time, impulse control, and attention span.  The SPECT scans revealed a pattern of abnormal change which was concentrated over a wider area than would normally be seen in brains of individuals exposed to toxic inhalation, as might be expected from fighting fires.  Dr. Heuser concluded the only plausible explanation at this time would be RF radiation exposure.  Additionally, the TOVA testing revealed among the six fire fighters delayed reaction time, lack of impulse control, and difficulty in maintaining mental focus.

You may not find the New York Times covering these stories.

Because in addition to receiving advertising revenue from Verizon, the New York Times and Verizon are strategic partners, actively working to promote 5G.

In April, the New York Times announced that it had partnered with Verizon to launch a 5G Journalism Lab.


Storytelling with 5G

To explore what kind of storytelling opportunities 5G might enable, this year we’ve launched a 5G Journalism Lab. We’ve partnered with Verizon, which is providing us with early access to 5G networking and equipment for us to experiment with.

We believe 5G’s speed and lack of latency could spark a revolution in digital journalism in two key areas: how we gather the news and how we deliver it. In the short term, having access to 5G will help The Times enhance our ability to capture and produce rich media in breaking news situations. Over time, as our readers start to use 5G devices, we will be able to further optimize the way our journalism is delivered and experienced.

Also writing for Business Insider, Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported that the Federal Communications Commission “may have violated the law when it licensed SpaceX to launch thousands of satellites, according to a forthcoming paper. That raises the possibility that disgruntled astronomers could sue.” [1]

The story does not appear to have been taken up by other news outlets.

There will be a great deal of scorekeeping, statistical analysis, and betting around the Super Bowl team allies.

It is also time for an informed public to start keeping score of its media sources for integrity in journalism, investigative reporting, advertising dollars, strategic partnerships, astroturfing, suppression of adverse reporting, and outright censorship.

Do firefighters need real-time speed? Yes.

Is it acceptable to fry their brains in order to provide real-time speed? No.

Here is what the firefighters’ union, and not Verizon, had to say about cell antennas on fire houses:

IAFF members are concerned about the effects of living directly under these antenna base stations for a considerable stationary period of time and on a daily basis. There are established biological effects from exposure to low-level RF/MW radiation. Such biological effects are recognized as markers of adverse health effects when they arise from exposure to toxic chemicals for example. The IAFF’s efforts will attempt to establish whether there is a correlation between such biological effects and a health risk to fire fighters and emergency medical personnel due to the siting of cell phone antennas and base stations at fire stations and facilities where they work.

The only reasonable and responsible course is to conduct a study of the highest scientific merit and integrity on the RF/MW radiation health effects to our membership and, in the interim, oppose the use of fire stations as base stations for towers and/or antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until it is proven that such sitings are not hazardous to the health of our members.


It is time to ask whether the public wants to hear only the marketing spin, or the microscopic truth, about the negative consequences of the increasingly expanding and unmonitored wireless paradigm…coming soon to a sidewalk near you.

So far, it is Business Insider, Activist Post and Natural Blaze leading over the New York Times by a landslide.

See also:

Cell Towers and City Ordinances:

Cell Tower Health Effects:

Electrosensitivity Science:

Cellular Mechanisms of RFR Oxidation:

Cellular Mechanisms of RFR Calcium Channels:

U.S. NTP Study –




Top image:

Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits. .

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