Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Media Meltdown

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.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.