Drag The Alarmists In For Questioning

Posted on Wed 04/27/2011 by

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Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

I KNOW we can’t expect the media to be saints with scaremongers.

Scares sell, and sometimes scares even turn out to be true.

But now that we know not a single person died in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear emergency, and that not a single person is likely to, either, can we please introduce a new tradition with scaremongers that could still sell papers and lift ratings?

Sure, keep interviewing them as we greedily do after every fresh “catastrophe”, whether it’s Fukushima, bird flu, the Y2K bug, SARS, a nuclear winter, acid rain or global warming.

But then, after everything settles down as it usually does, can we have the same traders in fear back for a follow-up that’s just as likely to appeal to our hunger for sensation.

Let’s call it “How did they get it so wrong?” Or “What’s your excuse?”

May I propose the first guests? For ratings gold, I want to see the following people lined up against a studio wall to be shot in close-up explaining how they got Fukushima so wrong.

First, let’s ask Crikey writer Guy Rundle to show us his dead Fukushima pilots, stripped of flesh.

Rundle is the alarmist who wrote: “As I write, the Japanese are conducting direct overflies to try and control the continuing damage most likely a suicide mission for the pilots and crew…

“The Japanese crews will slough their skin and muscles, and bleed out internally under the full glare of the world’s media.”

Then let’s have veteran nuclear hysteric Helen Caldicott, who warned on 3AW that the Fukushima reactor could blow (a scenario ruled out by nuclear experts).

This, she wailed, meant “hundreds of thousands of Japanese will be dying within two weeks of acute radiation illness”, with countless more later suffering an “epidemic” of cancers.

Explain yourself, Helen.

Next let’s have Dr Tilman Ruff, actually a Nossal Institute infectious diseases expert and long-time anti-nuclear activist, who wildly claimed “we might be looking at a Chernobyl-type disaster or worse” and hungrily described the many ways people could get sick from the fallout that never really came.

Such alarmists and more were given a red carpet entree into the news rooms of almost every big news organisation in the land back when fear sold.

Let them be dragged back in for questioning now that calm once more prevails.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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