Media misses the mark after Japan

For the past three weeks, it seems that every report to come out of Japan regarding the earthquake and subsequent tsunami is worsening.

The footage is gut wrenching and the tragedy is horrific.

However, the American media never ceases to amaze me and continues to zero in on the nuclear fallout in the region.

Every day the death toll seems to rise and the number of those missing has increased, but it is almost impossible to turn on the television without having a commentator or reporter grilling a nuclear expert with questions like, “When will this happen in the United States?”

While I think that this should be a legitimate concern of American citizens—considering that, according to the World Nuclear Association, we produce the most megawatts of nuclear energy every year—the press needs to reel it in.

While sitting in the waiting room of a Nissan dealership in Cincinnati as my car was being tuned up, I was forced to watch “The View” because the channels were locked.

Their guest was Christiane Amanpour, the distinguished reporter from CNN who has recently moved on to ABC.

Although she had just returned from interviewing Moammar Gadhafi a few weeks before and was in troubled Egypt prior to that, the women of “The View” could not resist asking things related to the nuclear fallout.

On one occasion, one of the hosts referred to the problems at the plants as “nuclear explosions,” something Amanpour was quick to correct. She reminded them that the situation in Japan is far below the intensity of a nuclear explosion.

That night, on the evening news, Katie Couric had a large map of the United States, with every major city and its proximity to a nuclear reactor.

If I’m not mistaken, the nuclear reactors in Japan are having the problems, not those in the United States.

Why would Katie Couric and CBS news feel compelled to put up a diagram of something like this?

Personally, I think these are poor attempts to try and bring the nuclear panic that is in Japan about their plants to the United States.

Calls from people like U.S. Rep. Ed Markey to issue a moratorium on all U.S. nuclear plants and referring to the Japanese disaster as “another Chernobyl” is ridiculous.

The disaster at Chernobyl is the worst in nuclear history. It killed 31 instantly and thousands suffered from side effects of radiation illnesses, such as thyroid cancer.

The last major United States nuclear debacle was in 1979 with the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania and its partial core meltdown.

Although this has been referred to as the second worst nuclear disaster in history, after Chernobyl, there were no fatalities.

Since Three Mile Island, the safety advances made in regards to nuclear plants and nuclear energy is astronomical.  It is also some of the least expensive energy produced in the country.

Perhaps one of the biggest facts that some people tend to leave out about the Japanese situation is how dated plants like the Fukushima and Tokai plants really are.

According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, the Japanese government blatantly ignored a warning from the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding the Fukushima plant and its reliability and safety in the event of a nuclear disaster.

Not only does this show a lack of responsibility by the Japanese government, it also proves that watch dogs like the International Atomic Energy Association are doing an efficient job of forecasting problems that may occur with the world’s nuclear plants.

In a time of economic uncertainty and an ever-increasing dependence on foreign oil, I think that the United States should continue to embrace our nuclear capabilities and the benefits that it brings our country and citizens.


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