Title: Japanese Nuclear Reactor Future: Another High Tech Sarcophagus?
Source: Science 2.0
Author: Sascha Vongehr
Date: March 11th 2012
[...] What is more relevant for our future is perhaps how the media deal with the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. “The media” have been claimed early on to hype the dangers while instead it is now firmly established that the opposite was true yet again. The most severe lesson this time is that the internet, rather than helping to balance corporate media, has shown to be what defenders of newspapers always claimed: Unreliable, undigested misinformation. It was precisely many so called science sites and blogs that let themselves be fed and actively contributed to biased misinformation. Old school journalists were correct in that the main danger from the new media is their naivety about information sources, for example the plain shallowness of the blogging world in making this an “I have a PhD and know how to convert milli-Sievert into micro-Sievert” issue without the background questioning that good journalism is all about. Science blogs are in fact worse than traditional media when it comes to jumping on premature rumors – in fact it is how many a popular science blog stays ahead. If you think that such would be looked down upon especially among scientists – well, think again.
Now one year later, we witness what was expected across all media: The reporting is basically leaving the impression that everything is over and under control, while in fact we are simply accepting a new status quo. Much like with the oceans for example, as Daniel Pauly explains at Mission Blue, each time the baseline drops, we call it the new “normal.” Where is the limit; where do we stop readjusting downward?
[...] with what happened in the new media, it looks much like we only get more proud of our technology while not actually improving it. [...]
Downplaying by politicians and the involved industries will happen. Leaks, whether they are oil ones or radioactive, will be kept secret again, monitors taken off line, the public will be as always only “informed” in order to avoid panic and any appearance of being not in full control. Evacuations and vital help like the distribution of Potassium Iodide for example will likely come too late. A growing minority among the public knows this, they know that they are cheated every time by withholding even lightly bad news that could help them to make informed decisions. Panic should not surprise anybody. It is simply being responsible for your family if you assume the worst. Since scientists are directly involved, the public trust in science drops along with that for politicians. [...]
Read the report here
Published: March 13th, 2012 at 10:07 am ET