What’s become of doing well by doing good?

July 2
more important, preventing brain cancer or selling more cell phones? You’d
think the answer is obvious, but not so for the telecommunications industry.
Allow me to explain.

recent Swedish study that followed young people who began using cell phones as
teenagers reported a whopping 400 percent increase in brain tumors! That
disturbing report, along with similar ones, has prompted San Francisco to become
the first city in America to pass legislation making cell phone retailers
radiation levels. That’s a biggie. Now, every Bay-area consumer will be able to
see how much radiation his or her cell phone emits
before making the
purchase. And, that does not sit well with telecommunications types.

to a Maureen Dowd column, different cell phone models emit anywhere from
0.2 watts per kilogram of body tissue to 1.6, which is the legal limit. That
may not seem like much, but consider this. Have you noticed how our nation’s
kids have their cell phones positively glued to their ears all day long? As a
result, they’re constantly bombarding their brains with radiation. In fact,
when one considers how many hours our nation’s kids collectively use their cell
phones each day, one can appreciate why the S.F. board acted the way it did.

of course, one works for the telecommunications trade group, the CTIA.

wanting to be painted as yet another big, uncaring industry a la Wall Street,
oil or tobacco, the CTIA warned San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom they’d invoke
‘the nuclear option’ and come down on him and his city ‘like a ton of bricks’
if the legislation were passed.  How? Months before the bill passed,
Newsom says he received a disturbing letter forwarded by the local Marriott
hotel that had been selected to host the CTIA convention in October. In the
note, the CTIA warned Marriott they would cancel the event if the legislation
was passed. Nice. They also told Marriott that they’d been in contact with
Apple, Cisco, Oracle and other big, SF-area companies who are involved with the
trade group, and urged them to yank their events from San Francisco as well.
Yikes! Since when did telecommunications companies start acting like the Mafia?

enough, once the legislation was passed, the CTIA said it would relocate all
future exhibitions to another venue. In one fell swoop, the City by the Bay
lost an event that annually attracted 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and generated
$80 million in business. Talk about
not doing good in order to do well.

big loser isn’t San Francisco, it’s America’s youth. The telecommunications
industry doesn’t want Americans to know about the radiation levels in its cell
phones, so it’s punishing anyone who tries to raise a caution flag.

amazed the CTIA’s heavy-handed scare tactics haven’t generated more adverse
publicity. To say their Tony Soprano-like strong-arming reflects poorly on the trade
group (and its member companies) is like saying the pedophilia scandals have
negatively impacted the Church’s reputation. It’s a no-brainer (sorry). So, how
come no one is speaking up and condemning the action?

it just me or is big business becoming ever more ruthless in putting profits
before ethics. I just hope our kids’ addiction to cell phones doesn’t produce a
simultaneous rise in brain cancer. If it does, though, watch for the CTIA to
turn to the Big Tobacco play book for best practices in delaying, denying and
obfuscating. The industry has deep pockets and will spend what it must to
protect its profit margins. And, as the San Francisco fracas shows, the
industry is willing to hurt anyone who dares get in the way of profits.

become of doing good by doing well?

12 thoughts on “What’s become of doing well by doing good?

  1. It’s all very sad, Trish. Something tells me this will become a very big issue in the next year or two.

  2. A client, about five years ago, said her uncle who works for the CDC in Atlanta told her that in five years they would finally come out with the fact that cell phones indeed cause brain cancer. I guess she was telling the truth.

  3. Watch the program RepMan, you will be as shocked as I b/c I thought that too. We serve up the best water in the United States (along with NYC and parts of PA, which is where Tennessee Gas is looking to drill).

  4. Thanks for the update, bookandbloggeek. And, here I thought New Jersey was one, contiguous toxic waste site. You’re telling me there are actually spots in the Garden State that aren’t already highly radioactive?

  5. Watch the HBO special “Gasland” if you want to see the really scary side of natural gas. Unfortunately for us, right now, Tennessee will begin drilling new pipe in New Jersey which will ultimately pollute the surrounding water supply and cause much more than brain tumors in many people. New Jersey has the last unfiltered watershed basin in the United States. All for a buck. (But it employs people is the rhetoric).

  6. what about texting? I think more people text than talk on cell phones (at least the youths of america)

  7. Well, there’s public relations…
    You’ve been a wonderful audience. Please try the veal.

  8. You’re right about Big Farming, ghostofprpast. I think Archer Daniels Midland was the original Big Farming bad boy with its price fixing machinations of a dedade or so ago. I also neglected to mention Big Pharma, which does its best to ensure we remain addicted to their high-priced pills as opposed to advocating for preventive medicine. It’s actually hard to think of a single sector that doesn’t place profits before ethics.

  9. I think Big Farming already jumped the shark with its gratuitous use of antibiotics, its feeding of meat to cattle and its proliferation of high-fructose corn syrup. None of these are good decisions when considered outside the realm of profits.
    This is the modern-day Atlantis. The history books of tomorrow will tell the story of how, even though we knew better, we killed ourselves off in the name of profits.

  10. “..is big business becoming ever more ruthless in putting profits before ethics?”
    The answer: yes. They, along with their D.C. puppets, are slowly killing us in a myriad of ways.