Friday, March 25, 2011

News for Intelligent People Criticize Japan Nuclear Sensationalist Reporting.

It is nice to see the news that targets more intelligent people than the Sun or People magazine have started to criticize the Main Stream Media (MSM) for what I have been complaining about all along: Crass sensationalism

Tech Crunch adds to the conversation:

The news from Japan is both awful and appalling. Awful: 23,000confirmed dead or missing, and counting. Appalling: pretty much anything to do with the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Nuclear meltdown like Chernobyl! Deadly contaminated milk and radioactive tap water! Tokyo a postapocalyptic ghost town! A plume of radiation that threatens America’s West Coast!

Where do they get these morons? Again, twenty thousand people are dead, and the drooling dimwits of the media can’t stop babbling about Fukushima, where exactly one person died – a crane operator who had the misfortune to be up in the cab of his vehicle when the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history hit – and fewer than 30 were injured, only a handful of whom required treatment for radiation exposure.
The video below shows the quality of reporting the west has been involved in:
Nancy Grace vs. Weatherman - Argue Radiation
Even many intelligent people on Twitter can see what is actually going on here. Twitterer William Gibson tweets:
William Gibson@GreatDismal
William Gibson
Western media in race against time; hysterical nuclear bullshit nearing critical meltdown, yet millions are still uncontaminated.
Of course I’m far from the first to be furious about this. Talking Points MemoJames Altucher, and Tim Bray, among many others, led the way. Noted environmental activist George Monbiotargues that Fukushima should turn people pro-nuclear power. But the voices of reason are mostly lost in the hurricane of panicked nonsense.
What went wrong? Well, never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to ignorance, so I’m going to optimistically argue that the basic problem is that most journalists simply don’t have a clue when it comes to science and engineering. They don’t understand what they’re writing about; they don’t know which questions to ask; they don’t understand that science, unlike the arts, is ultimately about provability and falsifiability, not interpretation and opinion; they don’t know when government advice is reasonable and when it’s terrified CYA boilerplate; and they don’t know when to call bullshit on whatever source they have dredged up to provide “balance,” which they worship beyond all explanation.
Worse yet, instead of linking to their sources, they expect us to take what they say on faith. 

New rule: I don't read "news" stories that don't link to primary sources.

Yes, this is an important point that I have been talking about all along: Instead of taking reports and commentary by pundits as gospel truth, reports that use words like, "may," "might have," etc. etc... We should consider opinions of experts and not news pundits like that hysterical woman, Nancy Grace, who is only concerned with garnering high ratings. As responsible adults, we must only take into consideration news articles that are backed up by facts with links that can be verified by us, the reader. 

The Tech Crunch writer brilliantly sums it all up in his article:
This is all just going to get worse, because, increasingly, all stories are tech stories. Politics? Obama’s staggering online fundraising. Sports? BALCO and high-tech new equipment. Culture? These days, even fine art is all about the Arduino. Technology has insinuated itself into our lives to such an extent that every story now has a technical aspect — but yesterday’s dinosaur journalists will continue to write about them in the same clumsy-to-moronic way that they wrote about Fukushima.
Disaster there was averted by genuine heroism and desperately hard work. Nuclear power is potentially extremely dangerous and raises many serious issues, and it’s important to debate them in a well-educated way. Instead we got a crowd of fearmongering idiots, each trying to shriek louder than the last. As a result, Fukushima was the first major world story for which the best way to stay well-informed was to tune in to the knowledgeable blogosphere—and tune out the so-called “mainstream media.” We all know they’re dying. Now I’m starting to wonder why we should care.
Intelligent people shouldn't care what happens to the MSM. It's when the effects of the MSM panic and hysteria poison the minds of those around us that we should care - or, even better - get angry.
Thanks to 
Victor Vorski


Anonymous said...

The link to the Counterpunch Hirose Takashi interview I refer to in my previous comment came from Gary North. Hirose's interview on youtube has over 1 million views.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thanks Marc, It could get worse. I could win the lottery too. Both your links are guilty of sensationalism, in my opinion. Mr. Takase loses much credibility in this arena with his first ridiculous comment in the article you link to. Quote: "Hirose Takashi has written a whole shelf full of books, mostly on the nuclear power industry and the military-industrial complex. Probably his best known book is Nuclear Power Plants for Tokyo in which he took the logic of the nuke promoters to its logical conclusion: if you are so sure that they’re safe, why not build them in the center of the city, instead of hundreds of miles away where you lose half the electricity in the wires?"

Hiroshi, you don't understand basic business, do you? Let me explain it simply for you: It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build one of these plants. Land prices hundreds of miles from a huge city are often 1/500th the price of land in the city (or more). It is much cheaper to build a factory in the sticks than it is to build it in the city. This is why huge factories such as textiles, cars, tires, etc. etc. are in the country. It's simple economics.

Thanks Marc, but I am not impressed that Mr. Takase might see an opportunity here. Nor am I impressed to by his Youtube video either. I have a very good friend who made a video on Youtube that has over 8.4 million views on Youtube:

Anonymous said...

I watched about 2 minutes of that Youtube video linked too. All I can say is this:
1) TV Asahi news is not credible.
2) The host of the show is merely a university professor, the guy being interviewed has no qualifications excepting that he is billed as a "non-fiction writer"

Understanding #2 you know why this guy is not on a credible news station like NHK.

Anonymous said...

I've found that many of the more sensationalist scare stories are not just coming from the mainstream media but also North American "alternative" media.

These self-styled alternative media mouthpieces are suggesting that the mainstream media has been downplaying the Japanese nuclear issue, when in fact I think that's not quite true.

Both American "alternative" and mainstream media are cut from the same cloth in ramping up the fearmongering about the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Another factor that you have to consider is that America in particular has a propensity for paranoia.

One has only to look at their comical propaganda about terrorism, with its Al-Queda/Usama Bin Laden bogeymen and color-coded Homeland Security terrorism alerts, to see the paranoiac nature of the USA's worldview.

America is like something about of George Orwell's 1984, with the perpetual specter of assorted "threats" (of whatever type) feverishly promoted by its media and people alike.

Anonymous said...

We must each make up our own minds, of course. FWIW: Hirose has some cogent points:
1) "a nuclear reactor is not like what the schematic pictures show (shows a graphic picture of a reactor, like those used on TV). This is just a cartoon." All I've seen on TV are these simplified diagrams, and I'm starting to be suspicious. They help make it all sound so straightforward.
2) "On television these pseudo-scholars come on and give us simple explanations, but they know nothing, those college professors. Only the engineers know." Have you seen any engineers, even retired Toshiba ones? Why not?
3) "The salt will get into all these valves and cause them to freeze. They won’t move. This will be happening everywhere. So I can’t believe that it’s just a simple matter of you reconnecting the electricity and the water will begin to circulate." VOA's Steve Herman quotes Japan's Defense Ministry, "accumulation of tons of salt". He also quotes the retired engineer Masashi Goto, "events that were considered impossible at Fukushima have already occurred. And he says, while unlikely, more hydrogen explosions among the used fuel rods and excessive heat that can damage container vessels cannot be ruled out."
The key point for me is, why is there no serious discussion of the "sarcophagus" solution? My fear is that, due to a failure to grasp the seriousness of the situation, decision-makers will start to implement that solution too late. Kan is "pessimistic". That does not sound like a leader who has a clear grasp of the situation and has his backup plans ready.
(The number of views of a YouTube video does not prove veracity, of course, but it shows people are searching out alternatives to the Japanese MSM. That's why I mentioned it, not to impress.)
Hirose Takashi has a Wikipedia entry.

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