Rupert Murdoch whitewashes dangerous nuclear industry

This video is called Fukushima Radiation News Aug 5, 2012; Radioactive Cesium Contamination of Japan’s Food Chain.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012 17:56

Murdoch‘s Journal Pushes Tragic Fukushima Flim-Flam

With every atomic reactor disaster comes the inevitable whitewash.

And Rupert Murdoch‘s Wall Street Journal has just painted a tragic new coat over the radioactive wasteland of atomic flim-flam.

Its “Panic at Fukushima” speaks volumes to a nuclear power industry now crumbling at the core. It fits an historic pattern:

When yet another radioactive leak emits from the local nuke – no matter how serious – the official response is hard-wired to include the phrase “no danger to the public.”

When serious structural cracks surface at reactors like Ohio’s Davis-Besse or Crystal River, Florida, safety concerns are invariably dismissed with well-funded contempt.

As with fatally flawed steam generators at California’s San Onofre, if it can make an extra buck, the industry will run these reactors into the ground, safety-be-damned. Protected by federal taxpayer insurance and the bankruptcy laws, they know even a catastrophic disaster need not trouble their bottom line.

When earthquakes rattle reactors in Virginia and Ohio, or threaten others near New York City and Los Angeles, the public is “never in danger.” Likewise a generation of Japanese heard for decades that reactors at Fukushima and Kashiwazaki were “perfectly safe.”

But, as earthquakes have hammered them both, we know who pays.

At Three Mile Island, there was “no melting of fuel” until, nine years later, robotic cameras showed there certainly was.

“Nobody died” at Three Mile Island until epidemiological evidence showed otherwise. (Disclosure: In 1980 I interviewed the dying and bereaved in central Pennsylvania, leading to the 1982 publication of KILLING OUR OWN).

TMI was a “success story” for industry apologist Patrick Moore, whose accounting skills apparently include cheerily alchemizing a $2 billion liability from a $900 million asset.

Likewise, the Soviet Union said not to worry as Chernobyl spewed lethal radioactive clouds across Europe and into the jet stream, contaminating much of the northern hemisphere. One “scientist” said the fallout would “improve” human health in downwind Ukraine and Belarus, where stillbirths, malformations and birth defects still run rampant.

The Soviet Union is now dead…except in the hearts of a corporate media still parroting the Politburo lie that only 31 people died at Chernobyl, rather than the million-and-counting that now seems likely.

For Fukushima, the inevitable Murdoch whitewash comes from a one-time Koch-funded climate skeptic named Richard Muller. He says Fukushima has harmed virtually no one except the nuclear industry, which the Japanese people have all but shut.

Muller’s article occupies a parallel pro-nuclear universe. Virtually devoid of actual fact, it is meticulously dissected by SimplyInfo in a brilliant primer on the health impacts of a truly apocalyptic nightmare that is far from over.

Entitled “The Truth vs. the Wall Street Journal,” SimplyInfo’s dissection is deja vu all over again. The once-prestigious Journal disgraces itself in vintage Murdoch style with some truly embarrassing errors and anachronisms. Simply and briefly:

The Journal astonishingly minimizes the death toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki using speculative data that has been discredited for decades. It ignores the findings by Japanese scientists that Fukushima has (thus far) spewed nearly 30 times as much radioactive cesium as did the Bombings;

The Journal‘s totally discredited averaging assumptions say Fukushima’s fallout will nicely administer uniform minimal doses for everyone. But the fallout has gone global. Plutonium, cesium, strontium and other killer isotopes tend to come down in clumps and clusters, heavily dosing some while missing others. As at TMI, Chernobyl and now Fukushima, woe be to the unlucky masses who get rained on;

The averaging argument jumps off the rails with pregnant women, as well as small children, the elderly, the biologically sensitive. At TMI, the owners’ advertising compared the fallout to a single x-ray for everyone in the area. But a doubled childhood leukemia rate has long been linked to a single x-ray administered to a fetus in utero. Pregnant women exposed to these such must brace for the worst.

The Journal admits that Fukushima was not designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and 50-foot tidal wave. The quake’s epi-center was more than 100 miles offshore, but all three Fukushima reactors operating at the time melted and exploded. Diablo Canyon, San Onofre, Indian Point are no safer. Nearby fault lines could reduce them and others to rubble, followed by emissions whose death toll would be virtually impossible to calculate.

The Journal has published a heavily edited rebuttal (the full original is at from Michael Mariotte of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service pointing out that sea-ward winds saved Japan—including Tokyo—from suffering far heavier doses. But like Chernobyl, Fukushima’s radiation has long since reached our shores, with a serious potential death toll.

Fukushima erupted 66 years after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, 32 since Three Mile Island, 25 after Chernobyl. The atomic industry seems defined by a reverse learning curve.

Perhaps it could heed Jeffrey Immelt, president of General Electric, who warns that nuclear power has no economic future. GE’s brand is all over Fukushima. Small wonder Immelt wants to join Siemens et. al. in a green-powered Solartopian future, built on renewable technologies like wind, solar and bio-fuels.

No verbal contortions can ever cleanse what Forbes Magazine long ago branded “the largest managerial disaster in American history.” No error-filled whitewash will ever convince our bodies that radiation is good for us.

So while Rupert Murdoch helps paint a happy face on a dying industry, we continue to pay with our money and our lives.

23 Nuclear Plants in Tsunami Risk Zones: here.

10 thoughts on “Rupert Murdoch whitewashes dangerous nuclear industry

  1. Former Murdoch executive held in UK hacking inquiry

    By Michael Holden

    LONDON | Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:27am EDT

    (Reuters) – Tom Crone, a former senior legal executive at Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper business, has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone-hacking by journalists, media reported on Thursday.

    London police confirmed they had arrested a 60-year-old man at his home in southwest London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, but declined to name him.

    However Crone, the former legal chief of Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid on which the police inquiry is centered, was the arrested man, according to Sky News, part of Murdoch’s News Corp group, and other media outlets.

    There was no answer from Crone’s mobile phone when Reuters tried to contact him.

    Eight senior figures at the now-defunct News of the World have been charged with conspiring to hack phones, including former editor and Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, who oversaw Murdoch’s British newspaper arm News International.

    The scandal has not only rocked News Corp, it has put the notoriously aggressive British press under the spotlight and embarrassed senior politicians, including Cameron, over their often cozy ties with the Australian-born businessman.

    Crone resigned from his post in July last year at the height of public anger over revelations journalists from the News of the World Sunday tabloid had hacked the phones of people ranging from celebrities and politicians to victims of crime.

    He subsequently fell out with Murdoch and his son James, then News International chairman, accusing James of giving false information to a parliamentary committee about an email in 2008 which indicated that hacking was widespread on the tabloid.

    James Murdoch has denied knowing about the full scale of the problem until it became apparent last year and said Crone himself had misled lawmakers.


    At a public inquiry into Britain’s newspaper industry ordered by Cameron in the wake of the outcry over phone-hacking, Rupert Murdoch blamed a culture of cover-up on Crone, an allegation the lawyer described as a “shameful lie”.

    Detectives have now arrested 25 people as part of the phone-hacking probe, and have held more than 50 others in related inquiries into illegal payments to public officials and the hacking of computers.

    On Wednesday, detectives arrested a 28-year-old former Times journalist over suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act over hacking that led to the identification of an anonymous blogger in 2009.

    Patrick Foster, former media correspondent at the Murdoch’s newspaper, wrote a story exposing a police officer as the author of a popular blog, information which the paper’s editor admitted had resulted from the hacking of the blogger’s email account.

    The arrests come as senior judge Justice Brian Leveson prepares to deliver the findings from his 10-month inquiry into press ethics after hearing evidence from hundreds of witnesses including many who condemned papers’ tactics and behavior.

    One newspaper editor said Leveson had sent a letter to major newspaper groups giving them advance warning of possible criticism in his final report, calling it a “damning indictment” of the industry.

    “The best way I can describe it is that he’s loading a gun, and this document, well over 100 pages, is all the ammunition,” Chris Blackhurst, editor of the Independent, told BBC radio, adding he was worried about the inquiry’s outcome.

    “Believe you me there is plenty of ammunition – you read it and you just gulp.”

    (Editing by Louise Ireland)


  2. Eliminating all nuke power cheapest option: Softbank’s Son

    Softbank CEO and renewable energy advocate Masayoshi Son said Thursday that choosing nuclear power as either 15 percent or 20 to 25 percent of the total energy mix by 2030 would actually mean marginally higher electricity costs than phasing it out completely.

    Speaking at an international symposium sponsored by the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, the organization he founded last year, Son said his foundation’s calculations take into account a number of factors the government’s three energy scenarios for 2030 appear to have avoided.

    The government, in its two scenarios that call for some nuclear power, didn’t sufficiently consider the insurance costs of the aftermath of an accident, Son said.

    (Japan Times, Sep 07)



  3. NHK Fukushima plant clean up efforts face challenges

    Efforts to deal with problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan still face many challenges more than a year after the meltdown.

    Tuesday will mark one and a half years since the earthquake and tsunami that caused the accident. But the leaking of tainted water and other troubles still plague the clean-up efforts.

    Experts say one of the pressing challenges is how to ensure the reliability of emergency facilities built to cool the troubled reactors.

    In the aftermath of the March 11th, 2011 disaster that crippled the plant, its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, hastily built a system to treat highly contaminated waste water and circulate it as coolant for the reactors.

    The government announced last December that the reactors had been brought to a state of cold shutdown.

    While the reactors’ temperatures and pressures have since remained generally stable, troubles have plagued the cooling water circulation system.

    So far, 56 instances of tainted water leaks have been reported. Facilities to decontaminate water have stopped 12 times due to leaks and power supply problems.

    On August 30th, coolant water being poured into the 3 crippled reactors temporarily fell below the necessary levels.

    (NHKReloaded, Sep 10)


  4. 30% of Fukushima evacuees want their pets back

    More than 30 percent of evacuees from around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say they want to retrieve their pets that they were forced to leave behind.

    The Environment Ministry asked about 1,000 former pet owners from the no-entry zone whether they intend to bring their animals home.

    Three-hundred-thirty people said they would like to take back their pets. Others replied that they cannot afford to keep pets while living in shelters.

    After the disaster last year, ministry and prefectural workers picked up about 750 dogs and cats abandoned in the no-go zone and transported them to safety. They have been kept at pet facilities and remain unclaimed.

    The ministry now hopes to begin returning the pets to their owners.

    But many pets still remain in the no-go zone.

    (NHKReloaded, Sep 09)


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  6. Dear friends,

    In 24 hours, the world’s leading climate experts will release the most important report about our planet’s future in decades — but big oil and energy are rallying their worst bully to undermine this global wake up call: Rupert Murdoch and his huge conservative media empire. Let’s beat back his attack by calling him out out to tell the climate truth before it’s too late:

    Sign the petition

    In 24 hours, the world’s top scientists will release the most important report in decades: proving once and for all that climate change is a massive threat, but that government action now can stop catastrophe. It’s a global wake up call to save our planet, but big oil and dirty energy have a powerful bully who’s rallying to stop the truth from coming out.

    Rupert Murdoch owns hundreds of major media outlets including ultra conservative Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, and he’s using his media power to help his oil buddies stop governments acting to curb their profits. In the US alone, a shocking 80% of climate stories from Murdoch’s select papers mislead readers about global warming! Now he’s set his sights on this groundbreaking report, and his media empire will dominate the conversation unless people around the world stand together and drown him out.

    Battles like this are won or lost in the court of public opinion. One giant global petition supporting climate truth plus letters to the editor, tweets, social media messages could be the blows we need to win this fight. Let’s call Murdoch out now and persuade him to back off his attack on science and report the truth. Join now and spread the word — when our call reaches 1 million we’ll send a group of the world’s best scientists to directly give him the facts:

    This report written by 2000(!) scientists will be the most comprehensive body of evidence on global warming in years. It states that global warming is “unequivocally” human made, and that urgent action is required by our governments to avert the impact it could have on our earth through droughts, storms, sea level rise, melting glaciers and ice sheets. Climate change will affect all of us, starting with our coral islands, our crops, our seas, and our coastal cities, everywhere!

    But acting to reverse the damage to our planet will take courage and politicians have used the false “climate debate” fueled by right-wing climate deniers as excuses for inaction. That’s why big oil and energy spend so much time funding junk science to question the fact of climate change and the plan needed to reverse its devastation. Murdoch is such a powerful friend because he gives the junk tons of media play around the world. Others join in and they drag more balanced media down as editors feel compelled to mention this phony debate in the name of “objectivity”.

    Government representatives are sitting down with the scientists right now to determine what this report means and what needs to be done. It could be the catalyst for global action that is vital to salvage our earth, but if our media outlets follow Murdoch’s lead, we’ll lose this key moment for visionary policy that is critical to stop the global crisis of our time.

    Let’s get the media to report the truth, end the false climate debate and start the serious battle to end climate change. Sign the petition now to call out Murdoch’s spin:

    Scientists say if we don’t act now, it’s over. We will simply tip over the point where we can stop the impact of global warming. Our political leaders are beginning to recognize that they must act. The dirty polluters and media mafia will all do their best to keep their income coming in, but momentum and truth are on our side. If we come together, we know we can stop the wacko noise and save the future for our children and grandchildren, but we must win this battle now.

    With hope,

    Alice, Jamie, Iain, Luis, Emma, Bissan, Laura, Ricken, Jooyea and the rest of the Avaaz team


    What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists (Huffington Post)

    The 5 stages of climate denial are on display ahead of the IPCC report (The Guardian)

    Is News Corp. Failing Science? (Union of Concerned Scientists)

    Click to access Is-News-Corp-Failing-Science.pdf

    Dollars for Deniers: Big Oil Funds Climate Science Denialism (Daily Kos)

    Global Warming Is Very Real (Rolling Stone)

    Climate Change Report From UN Introduces Purple Color To Depict Worsening Climate Risks (Associated Press)

    Rupert Murdoch’s Newspapers Mislead Public On Climate Change and Environment (DeSmog Blog)


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