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RE: [cdn-nucl-l] "Media Meltdown "
In my experience, all the criticisms of the "mainstream media" have really
only applied to cable news TV. Stick to reading newspapers, or the web sites
of newspapers, and you'll be much better off.
The New York Times, in particular, has had extremely good coverage of the
Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, right from the
beginning. I have found their coverage to be balanced, accurate, and
informative. If you read their articles on the website rather than in the
printed edition, the supplementary video clips and multimedia infographics
are fantastic. The Globe & Mail has also published good, balanced coverage,
although it's clear that they don't have the resources (especially on-site
in Japan) and the knowledgeable contacts in the nuclear industry that the
NYTimes does. The Toronto Star has been somewhat hysteric, but still, far
less than your average American cable news channel. Basically, I don't see
any need to turn on MSNBC and see some "expert" that's never seen a
differential equation speculating about heat transfer from a nuclear fuel
I think that, coming from an industry that is also unfairly maligned by the
public, we owe it to the media to compliment good work where it exists.
Sure, call out fearmongering and bad science when you see it, but I am
getting kind of tired at all the blanket criticism being aimed at the
"lamestream media" on this list and others. Not everyone is out to distort
the truth to sell papers; at least not all the time.
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Jaro Franta
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 7:44 PM
To: multiple cdn
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] "Media Meltdown "
John Steele Gordon 03.15.2011 - 4:35 PM
The nuclear incident at Fukushima is a serious event to put it mildly, the
third of the great triad of disasters to strike Japan over the past few
days, and one that will have far reaching consequences.
But to listen to the media, especially television, one would think the next
Chernobyl is at hand, if not the next Hiroshima. In fact, it is not yet a
Chernobyl and in all probability won't become one. Chernobyl had no
containment vessel. Once it went haywire (thanks to very bad design and very
incompetent management), there was nothing to prevent a catastrophic release
of radiation. And it can't be a Hiroshima. Nuclear plants cannot turn into
nuclear bombs no matter what happens. It is probably a Three Mile Island. No
one died as a result of Three Mile Island.
The news media, of course, are in the business of selling news, so the
greater the disaster, the better it is for them, as far as business is
concerned. This induces a predilection to be Chicken Little. When you have a
problem with scary but often not-really-understood words such as radiation,
meltdown, and Roentgen, and spectacular footage of explosions, that goes
double. Then you add in time constraints and the need to get "experts" on
the air quickly. Unfortunately, many of the "nuclear experts" in TV
producers' iPhones are, in fact, anti-nuclear activists, only too happy to
exploit the situation to push their agenda.
The best non-Chicken Little explanation of the situation at Fukushima that
I've read can be found here. It is reassuring and a good antidote to the
near hysteria I've seen on television the past few days.
PS. Check out Duncan Hawthorne's 15-minute interview on TVO...
Uploaded by BrucePower4You on Mar 15, 2011
Duncan speaks to Steve Paikin on TVO's Agenda about the current situation in