Sleepy ITV daytime show This Morning isn't typically the venue for conspiratorial chatter. It's more Loose Women than Loose Change. Still, that didn't prevent Eamonn Holmes – or, as many of us know him, "Who?" – from espousing the belief that the "mainstream media" is participating in a cover-up about the dangers of 5G.
During a spirited discussion with Watchdog journalist Alice Beer about whether 5G causes COVID-19, Holmes said: "What I don't accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don't know it's not true."
From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5GREAD MORE
Except that we do know it's not true. One scientific hypothesis places COVID-19's origins at a wet market in Wuhan, China, where wild animals are bought and consumed. That hypothesis, although unproven, is based on some evidence: the RNA of the virus is similar to that of another virus found in bats and pangolins.
And then there is the fact that COVID-19 has spread throughout countries that don't yet have 5G, like Iran (where 4,683 had died at the time of publication) and France (which to date has recorded 14,967 coronavirus-related fatalities).
Holmes also fundamentally misunderstands the role of a journalist – which is surprising, considering he used to be one. The Fourth Estate is supposed to inform and educate the populace, not discuss bonkers conspiracy theories spouted by random tinfoil-hat-wearing Twitter eggs.
Giving credence to such ideas merely reinforces them, and contributes to an atmosphere where gullible rubes set fire to 4G antennas, because they're too fucking stupid to know the difference.
Eamon Holmes' apology
I want to clarify some comments that some of you may have misinterpreted from me yesterday, around conspiracy theories and coronavirus and this involved the roll-out of 5G.
Both Alice Beer and I agreed in a discussion on this very programme on fake news that it's not true and there is no connection between the present national health emergency and 5G, and to suggest otherwise would be wrong and indeed it could be dangerous.
Every theory relating to such a connection has been proven to be false and we would like to emphasise that.
However many people are rightly concerned and are looking for answers and that's simply what I was trying to do, to impart yesterday.
But for the avoidance of any doubt I want to make it completely clear there's no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those 5G theories. I hope that clears that up.
To his credit (although I assume there was some backstage arm-twisting), Holmes has since given a full on-air apology. Although it's safe to say this matter isn't yet settled, given that communications regulator Ofcom has received more than 400 complaints about the programme.
5G tower burning goes global
Britain is a nation famed for its cultural exports: from football to The Beatles. So it's no surprise that the plucky Dutch have taken up Blighty's latest craze: burning 5G towers.
According to local daily De Telegraaf, the towers were located in Rotterdam, Liessel, Beesd and Nuenen. An anti-5G slogan was daubed in the vicinity of one antenna.
In the last week, four such towers were damaged by vandals, prompting an investigation by the Dutch Counter-Terrorism Unit. In a statement (in Dutch), the agency said it considers this escalation "a worrying development" with potential to disrupt emergency communications by law enforcement and healthcare providers. ®