An earthquake centered 43 miles off the coast of Japan last March triggered a tsunami that reached heights of more than 130 feet. The Japanese coastal cities and towns were destroyed when the wave washed up to six miles inland on March 11.
The widespread destruction in Japan from the tidal wave, as well as the initial destruction of the earthquake, was well documented by the television, print and radio, aka “legacy,” aka “old” media. Last week, several of the same outlets and many of the newer legacy media channels reported the story of the Japanese teenager’s soccer ball washing ashore in Alaska.
I have done my best over the course of my time here with the Collegian to illustrate how useless the mainstream media has become as a source of news. They have become parodies of themselves and sensationalism, human interest, breaking news and lazy journalism are their calling cards.
This is proven in their coverage of the soccer ball story and initial damage of the disaster. What they have utterly failed to appropriately report is the ongoing situation caused by the earthquake at the Fukushima nuclear facility.
As a Ron Paul supporter, the media’s failure to inform the public on the facts of news is hardly a surprise. The man has been winning delegates under the radar for a month, but you would only know this if you went outside the legacy media to see for yourself; but I digress.
Ironically, just a few days ago, April 26 in fact, marked the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Having read an insider’s account of the disaster, I can tell you most of what caused the meltdown was incompetence and arrogance.
The Soviets were entrenched in a system of promoting party loyalism rather than technical expertise and job performance, so when the powers-that-were decided to build a nuclear power facility, they put the wrong people in charge and unleashed a ticking nuclear bomb within their own borders.
Inept supervisors made a chain of bad decisions when a fire broke out at the facility that ultimately led to a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale – one of two in history – that resulted in widespread contamination of the atmosphere that spread over the Western USSR and much of Europe.
I remember reading a Reader’s Digest story a year or two after the event detailing the deaths of several emergency responders who not only voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way to attempt to contain the destruction, but did so knowing they were exposed to levels of radiation far in excess of known-to-be fatally toxic levels.
Fukushima is worse and the legacy media have failed to inform the world public of the potential disaster still-looming. The earthquake destroyed two reactor cooling facilities.
Pictures of one of the cooling pools shows the crane used to move nuclear material from the reactor to the pool has fallen into the water, preventing any access to the approximately 90 tons of nuclear fuel rods kept within just reactor No. 3.
Reactor No. 4, which no longer has any water cooling the material, contains approximately 135 tons of fresh fuel that’s accelerating toward catastrophic meltdown.
The total amount of material including unused fuel and nuclear waste is upwards of 4,277 tons of nuclear material at Fukushima, or 20 times the material in Chernobyl when it went decidedly Hindenburg.
Regardless of the media’s desire to generate ratings, they’ve shown a remarkable acumen for not comprehending unintended consequences. Their coverage of the Trayvon Martin situation and Rodney King’s attacker’s trial inflamed tenuous situations.
In the case of Fukushima, this situation could literally destroy all life on Earth, and yet a Google News search turns up one story by CBS on the radioactivity in nearby towns rendering them uninhabitable for the next decade, while literally every other source covering the situation is new media.
Once it became known radiation was spreading from the facility, the Japanese government repeatedly increased the levels at which human health is at risk as if radiation poisoning is determined by arbitrary guidelines. Radiation has been detected over the west coast of the U.S. How much have you heard?
Among the many goals I’ve had as a writer for the Collegian has been a desire to expose the failures of the educational and news industries to teach critical thinking and inform. This has been the repeated theme of life in America, but it has been degenerative, not sudden as some may believe.
The Fukushima disaster proves the legacy media is becoming irrelevant, not from intent, but from their failed execution of their intended purpose: to inform.
Reprinted with permission from the Rocky Mountain Collegian.
S. Jacob Stern hopes everyone knows better than to trust academia or the press to which he belongs. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters, job offers and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.