Stephen Fenech

Nov 4, 2010

Daily Telegraph spruiks to suckers

Check out this fairly outrageous piece of advertorial guff in toda

Check out this fairly outrageous piece of advertorial guff in today’s Daily Telegraph, with the imprimatur of their technology reporter Stephen Fenech:

A NEW product that’s smaller than a five cent piece but powerful enough to shield us from the potentially harmful electromagnetic radiation generated by mobile phones and other electronic devices, has just been released.

The Qlink Mini employs patented Sympathetic Resonance Technology (SRT) which can maintain the strength of naturally occurring protective energy systems within our bodies.

The Qlink Mini, priced at $48, is programmed with naturally occurring frequencies which resonate with our body’s energy system just like a piano string would resonate with a tuning fork.

Ooh! “Sympathetic Resonance Technology”! “Naturally occurring frequencies which resonate with our body’s energy system”! As @NewtonMark tweeted:

What kind of dark global conspiracy is keeping Q-Link’s amazing technology away from #newinventors? Royal commission!

Check out the scary wavy red lines that will attack you unless you get this “scientifically-proven” product:


The story includes the price and website of the product it’s clearly advertising, without of course any alternative view being published as to the accuracy of the claims about the problem, or the effectiveness of the product, or any alternatives. You know, journalism. And there’s no “this is a paid advertisement”, either.

I know few of us reading this site would consider The Daily Telegraph as possessing any credibility it could inappropriately bestow upon any dodgy new snake-oil – but clearly its readers think it does, and it’s important to note when they’re being exploited as suckers.

(Via @mpesce.)

UPDATE: It’s more appalling than I’d realised, because it appears that the “journalist”, Stephen Fenech, is the brother of Mario Fenech, who is a paid promoter of Q-Link products.

What a coincidence! And how mysterious that Stephen didn’t disclose that in his article!

(Via Bill Dennis in the comments.)

UPDATE (10/11): Also coverage by Jason Brown, Crikey‘s Stephen Downes, and, as of Monday 8th November, Media Watch. And Chrys Stephenson argues why this story is really important.

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49 thoughts on “Daily Telegraph spruiks to suckers

  1. An endorsement – Pure Poison

    […] Stephen Fenech recommends this game? […]

  2. Qlink: This Is Not Just About a Piece of Plastic – Getting the Media We Deserve « Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear

    […] through the efforts of Jason Brown along with Jeremy Sear and Stephen Downes from Crikey, the story was picked up by ABC TV’s Media Watch and Stephen […]

  3. twobob

    @Captain Obvious

    Just where can I buy some magic water?
    And why have you not advertised this wonderful stuff?
    If your interested I know this newspaper …

  4. dam buster of Preston

    I see that mediawatch picked up on the Q-Link bulltish as well last night.

    If the $48 one works well, I imagine the $1300 gold plated model must be so much bettererer.

  5. Captain Obvious

    It works better if you drink some Magic Water first, just ask Paul Sheehan.

  6. Aldaron

    [It is the same as the doctor listening to your heartbeat with a stethoscope, except that you don’t have to remove your shirt.]

    Nope. Using a stethoscope to listen to your heart tells a doctor a lot more than your pulse rate and whether it’s bounding or thready. He can hear all kinds of things that can lead him to diagnose problems such as atrio-septal defects, valve disorders and heart failure. Things which cannot be detected by feeling a pulse.

  7. Tim Lambert

    Looks like Fenech’s story has been pulled.

  8. ronin8317

    The ‘Placebo effect’ is scientifically proven. What’s more, a medical research in Singapore has concluded that ‘expensive fake medicine’ is more effective than ‘cheap fake medicine’ 😛

    On a side note about ‘pulse taking’ by the Chinese medicine doctor : anyone who uses that to diagnose disease is merely faking it. The diagnosis comes first, and the ‘pulse taking’ is used to confirm the diagnosis. It is the same as the doctor listening to your heartbeat with a stethoscope, except that you don’t have to remove your shirt.

  9. Marty

    Steven Novella, of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, blogged on Sympathetic Resonance Technology a few years ago:

    News corp here is getting worse than Britain’s Daily Mail for the constant spruiking of bullshit. I’d ask if they have no shame, but it’s clear they don’t.

  10. nappin

    And some other funny technology headlines from Limited News’ site:

    Japan broadband proposal shows fibre-optic’s best – Rupert missed that one.
    Finally there’s protection against spams and scams – From the Tech Blog (aah irony)
    Rex’s month-long Australian crawl – I am struggling with the Technology angle on this one Steve?

  11. nappin

    I note down the bottom of that … eeerr …article … there is a Recommended button, and the number of recommendations next to what looks like a Facebook symbol. 371 people have recommended this – what the hell does that mean anyway (noting I am not a Facebook fan)? 😕

  12. Daniel Bond

    I posted a comment to the effect that with insightful reporting like that, I’m astounded more people aren’t buying newspapers. Strangely, it didn’t get published. They appear to have since turned comments off.

    @DDsD called Fenech out on the article, and @StephenFenech replied “No it uses scientifically proven technology. Very interesting stuff.” I mentioned that this was really interesting, since there’s a nobel prize in that scientific proof. I asked for a link to the research, because obviously the technology editor for the Daily Telegraph would never publish a claim that something is scientifically proven without first seeing some evidence of that proof. Strangely, @StephenFenech hasn’t tweeted anything at all since then.

  13. Aldaron

    Hehe…a friend of mine pointed to this when I mentioned the Tele article to her:

  14. dam buster of Preston

    Those red rays must be serious though.. It looks like they have singed the genitals clean off the victim.. i mean model. I better buy a Q-link and strap it to my knob just in case.

  15. lindsayb

    From the illustration, it would seem that Apple products might be particularly prone to this damaging radiation problem. Wonder if Steve Jobs might have something to say about this.

  16. oldskool

    So, just to vary my earlier thought, if I wear my Power Balance bracelet, and my Q-Llink, I continue to Drive my Brock Director with the Polarizer, and I sleep on magnetic sheepskin things; will I never have to see a Chiropractor, or should I just stick with Crystal therapy- ooh, or acupuncture?

  17. twobob

    You have to hand it to the SRT marketers.
    Readers of the telle are the perfect audience to sell new fangled tinfoil hats to.

  18. JamesH

    How do we get Bolt to promote this thing? Can we get Bob Brown, or even better Marieke Hardy, to denounce it? I’m thinking about a long-term strategy of bankrupting his readership until they can’t affort to hop over the future Murdoch paywall.

  19. davkel

    I like that the iPhone is the size of the man’s body! And what sort of a size head would use that bluetoothy thing?!

    No wonder the red beam’s just keep getting bigger…

  20. SHV

    Utterly shameless.

    Of course, when people were critical of Your ABC’s and Courier-Mail columnist, Madonna King’s fawning ABC radio interview with then Courier-Mail editor David Fagan about the paper’s “exciting new compact format” (just because he is her husband), there were shouts from News Ltd’s fans that it was completely irrelevant and that listeners don’t need to know these things.

    How long until some sock-puppet shows up here with a similar argument?

    “so they’re brothers, so what?”

  21. Matthew of Canberra

    I suspect it’s how we “remain profitable”.

    Energy Polariser, anyone? Lets you run on flat tyres, use less fuel, save the ozone layer … who knows, it might have repelled mobile signals as well.

  22. dam buster of Preston

    That is a cracker.. certainly a good one for mediawatch!

  23. Jeremy Sear

    Post updated with Bill’s revelation.

  24. Mobius Ecko

    Stuff the body protection crap, I want the devices in the illustration that increase EM power the further away they get from the transmitter. There’s a motsa to made out of that technology. Oh and please don’t tell me it’s a sham illustration I couldn’t take the let down.

  25. Bill Dennis

    Of course, it looks like the comments section of this article must be broked, because none of the comments that people are posting are getting through. Especially the ones asking Stephen about his ongoing fascination with this “technology” that his brother JUST SO HAPPENS to be getting paid to promote.

  26. SHV


    You have probably been asked this 1000 times, but you bear an astounding resemblance to a bumbling former footballer who is now prone to humiliating himself on channel 9 (while doing great, worthwhile work for the NRL), are you the Marios Brother or what??

    Trusty1 of Hootersville (Reply)
    Wed 10 Oct 07 (05:05pm)

    Hi, yes I am Mario’s brother, younger brother I might add. Now I wouldn’t call him a “bumbling former footballer” and I think the other Footy Show cast members try and humliate him rather than Mario humiliating himself. He is the sponsorship manager of the NRL and you couldn’t find a more passionate advocate for the game of rugby league. Also, for the record – I also played for Souths between 1988 and 1991 and managed to play a few first grade games myself.
    Stephen Fenech
    Wed 10 Oct 07 (05:39pm)

  27. Holden Back

    Hey quantize, at least the toilet paper tells you something real, and which it might benefit you to know. Sorry, German background.

  28. Jay

    Jeremy, check this link:

    In one of his responses Stephen Fenech says he is Marios younger brother.

  29. Jeremy Sear

    Bill, do you have any evidence apart from the name that they’re brothers? If so, there’s even more of an issue here.

  30. Bill Dennis

    Of course, it is PURE COINCIDENCE that Stephen Fenech, the author of the article, is the brother of Mario Fenech, ex Rugby League player and.. wait for it… paid promoter of Qlink products!!

  31. Idlaviv

    Thank you Stephen Fenech,
    I will now apply the Law of Attraction and click the heels of my ruby slippers three times to procure one.

  32. twobob

    I am thinking that I might put an ad in the tellie too.
    I think I’ll charge them $5 a throw to solve the headaches and other problems associated with mobile phones by letting them in on this secret weird old tip that is 100% guaranteed to work, money back guaranteed, no questions asked.
    You might be wondering what my fantabulous secret is? And since we are mostly all friends here, I’ll give it to you all for nothing.
    Turn the fµcker off.

  33. Johnny Come Lately

    fyi, qlink has been employing this as a marketing strategy for years. The same journalist had a similar article in the Terrorgraph in 2004. See link:

    what a f—ing disgrace.

  34. Sammy Jankis

    I’m reminded of this scene from The Simpsons:

    Homer: Well, there’s not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is sure doing its job.

    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.

    Homer: Thank you, sweetie.

    Lisa: Dad, what if I were to tell you that this rock keeps away tigers.

    Homer: Uh-huh, and how does it work?

    Lisa: It doesn’t work. It’s just a stupid rock.

    Homer: I see.

    Lisa: But you don’t see any tigers around, do you?

    Homer: Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock.

  35. Aldaron

    [People do know that this is all just made up bullshit, right?]

    Considering the amount people spend on crap like homeopathy and magnetic pillows, I don’t think that makes any difference.

    The fact that the only “expert” quoted is a “naturopathic physician” should be a dead giveaway.

    [modern technology is definitely having a negative effect on our bodies]

    That must be why we live 30+ years longer than 100 years ago…

    I personally loved:

    [“I have patients in my practice who basically are fatigued, tired, have headaches and things like that and we test them and find their mobile phone is weakening them tremendously.”]

    Right. What sort of tests determine this? Is it like the acupuncturist I saw once for back pain who “tested” me by taking my pulse (in both wrists!) for about 10 minutes and then informing me my back was sore because I am diabetic and diabetes is focused in the kidneys…apparently he was away the day they taught “anatomy & physiology” at acupuncture school. Either that or “kidney” sounds a lot like “pancreas”.

    He wondered why I walked out…

    Good heavens, do we have to do the Enlightenment all over again?

  36. Sammy Jankis

    Hilarious but sad at the same time. This is the same news organisation that sulks about a lack of skepticism over the findings of climate science.

  37. Cuppa

    There’s one born every minute, and most of them consume Murdoch media and Their ABC.

  38. beej

    Yep, and I’ve got an original Peter Brock “Energy Polariser” for sale…based on the same technology.

    The Energy Polariser and the Qlink mini are both scientifically designed to carefully and gently part a fool and his money

  39. quantize

    Ahh the Tele, continuing to raise the news credibility of shit stained toilet paper.

  40. Chistery

    “I have patients in my practice who basically are fatigued, tired, have headaches and things like that and we test them and find their mobile phone is weakening them tremendously.”

    “We designed this product to give…mums and their children the peace of mind so they can enjoy using their mobile phones with safety.”

    Text book marketing: Create a problem. Generate fear. Offer a solution. The only thing missing is creating urgency with a ‘limited time only’ offer and free steak knives.

  41. zoot

    Do I get a set of steak knives as well?

  42. cbp

    “it’s important to note when they’re being exploited as suckers.”

    Come on, a good laugh doesn’t need to be justified.

  43. dam buster of Preston

    Ahh those are the nasty red bad power waves as opposed to the happy green ones.

    How about i sell you a rubber band with a hologram on it for $60 or more to improve your balance and strength?

    Also someone sold me the Sydney Harbour bridge the other day. i am more than happy to on sell that.

    I am sure it will be on Today Tonight or ACA within days.

  44. oldskool

    Bythe way, will this intefere with my Power Balance bracelet?

  45. oldskool

    “Naturally occuring protective energy systems in our bodies..”


    People do know that this is all just made up bullshit, right?

  46. Daniel

    Err, those red lines are clearly power waves. Those waves actually *increase* your power. You need them to level-up. Anybody who buys this device is gonna have no chance against the final boss.

  47. BTodd

    I’ve posted a comment on the Terrorgooph’s article:

    “Dear Mr Fenech, what is the science behind this item? Is there any reliable, peer-reviewed research which indicates that radio signals are harmful at all? How are ‘frequencies’ programmed into a coil of copper wire, as this item contains? Where is the proof that we have “naturally occurring protective energy systems within our bodies” Is this just an advert for a $48 sham product which targets people with little technical knowledge?”

    Not holding my breath while waiting for the comment to be published.

  48. lindsayb

    time to dust off the PhD in aura polishing, and write me up and advertorial!

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