Mainstream media outlets treat nuclear energy in a way that is diametrically different from energy sources that advertise heavily.
Advertiser supported media sources wrung their collective hands and did everything they could to promote and extend the legs of the story about damage to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. That frequently covered event released just kilograms of radioactive elements into the environment; nearly all of the tons talked about in the media were just water carrying a minuscule amount of radioactive material. Not only has the released material not caused any human illness, but it has not killed any plants or animals.
However, Fukushima was “above the fold” news for months and minor developments still make headlines.
In contrast, countless tons of potentially hazardous crude oil are spilled into the environment every year. That material often has a direct and visible negative impact on the health of both humans and wildlife that often lasts for decades. However, even major spills like a recent leak of at least 1,680,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean in the Niger Delta rate only a minute or two of occasional coverage, often in obscure outlets. Here is a clip about the way that Shell Oil is denying responsibility for that spill and doing little to help the affected people.
Please do not get me wrong. I am not opposed to the use of petroleum. I am a huge fan of the material and have been consuming large quantities of it for more than half a century. I just do not understand why wealthy international corporations that sell hundreds of billions of dollars worth of petroleum each year get a virtual pass when their activities harm others and permanently damage property that is not theirs.
The contrast in the way that the media treats the stories about petroleum compared to the way that they treat stories about nuclear energy helps to solidify my assumption that the money that the oil and gas industry spends on advertising is not actually intended to improve corporate revenues by selling more product. Instead it is successfully aimed at shaping the way the media treats stories about the companies that feed the media’s need for revenue.
My guess is that Tepco would have received significantly different treatment regarding Fukushima Daiichi if it had been a frequent international advertiser.