Shoreham Chapter 7 – Lying about Three Mile Island
In this chapter of the Shoreham saga, Ray has made some clever cuts between assertions about the effects of the Three Mile Island accident from the professional opponents to nuclear energy and to assertions from people who have read the massive quantities of scientific and technical research about the details of the accident and its effects.
The primary protagonists in this segment are Harvey Wasserman and Karl Grossman who assert that the effects of Three Mile Island have been the subject of a massive, coordinated cover up that includes the legal system, the media, the legislative system, the scientific community and the nuclear industry.
The people who point out the fallacies in the assertions include Rod Adams, Gwyneth Cravens, and Patrick Moore.
I have read and commented on Wasserman’s anti-truths about TMI and nuclear power in general several times over the past few years in other forums.
However to see and hear him flat out lie on camera about Three Mile Island raises my anger against the professional anti-nuclear organizations to a whole new level.
To lie about people dying at TMI and to lie about the studies that he says have not been performed when millions have been spent over the past 3 decades studying TMI and the people who lived there is astounding. Wasserman knows there are studies, knows what the studies say and knows that no one died at TMI, but he is still trumpeting his lies. That now puts him at the level of a con-man who is trying to separate people from their money by playing on their base fears in my book.
He is no different then the con men who traveled the West as preachers taking money from the those who were willing targets based on their religious beliefs about the end of the world or those not sufficiently educated on the practices of con-men to know they were being conned. Those con-men were able to spin a good story with just enough truths to make the story seem plausible, make people believe that story while taking money from them, and have his targets defend him against those that know the truth and have facts that dispute the con-man’s claims about the end of the world. Wasserman fits all those con-man categories in my opinion.
Wasserman, Grossman, and their ilk live in an alternate reality where, because of the believed righteousness of their cause, they allow themselves to cherry-pick facts and studies at will. If someone did this regarding AGW (Lord Monckton perhaps?) they would be screaming the loudest.
It sometimes just comes down to tribal epistemology – why we decide we want to believe some things, and not others.
Harvey long ago decided to join, and has enough charisma to maintain a leadership role, in a certain belief tribe that allows him to maintain his sixties hairstyle and rub shoulders with aging rock stars and Hollywood celebrities. At least Wasserman, in addition to speaking fees, book sales, and support from the antinuclear establishment, makes a living in the free market as a reporter and editor of the Columbus Free Press.
Grossman, on the other hand, was granted a full professorship at the publicly supported SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island, so he is also sucking up taxpayer funds in support of his outrageous lies, and indoctrinating hundreds of students into his belief system. The tenure system, of course, makes him untouchable. It is equally stupefying that someone with such a skewed outlook on factuality can be “chief investigative reporter” for WVVH-TV.
I saw a “reporter” yesterday on the local Westchester County, NY television station, “Hyperlocal 12”, as part of their ten-year 9-11 retrospective. He stated unequivocally that, had the hijackers decided to choose Indian Point as their target, “50,000 people would have died from acute radiation exposure”.
Unfortunately since Entergy has never seen fit to advertise on this station, despite their being in the neighborhood for ten years now, station management has no business incentive to restrict or edit these ignorant babblings, or even to provide an alternate viewpoint.
If all we can hope for is “journalistic integrity” to make sure the truth is sought dispassionately, then judging from the awards and media appearances showered upon “journalists” like Wasserman, Grossman, and Hyperlocal 12 – as a rational, energy-abundant, First-World society we may be doomed.
The failure of journalistic institutions to approach issues with a proper amount of skeptical inquiry was one of the central themes that I wanted to explore in the film. I especially liked the irony that a news network that supposedly celebrates democracy, due to their scientific illiteracy, promote the opinions of frauds and charlatans whose advocacy adversely effect democracy. That is why I opened the film with the Skeptic magazine headline
“Journalist-Bites-Reality! – How broadcast journalism is flawed in such a fundamental way that its utility as a tool for informing viewers is almost nil.”
by Steve Salerno
You can read the article at the following link:
The one thing that ALL of the people doing these studies ignore is that just 3 miles away from TMI is Brunner Island Power Plant. At last count there were three coal burning power plants, the smallest of which is 600MW all dumping their toxins in the air. How can any study ignore the effects of this power station? Are they ignoring it on purpose? Most plants in PA burn PA coal which is high in Radon. Radon is so high in PA that one TMI worker had to get rid of all of his wool shirts and jackets as they held the radon on the fibers and set off the alarms when he came through the portal. How many tons of Mercury, Radon, etc, is this plant putting in the air?
Follow the river north this link and see how close it is.
For me, the best part of these latest two chapters is the audience assembled to listen to Wasserman. I’m so glad that the camera position was chosen to include them in the picture — an example of keen skill in visually framing a story. Gray beards and gray ponytails are all we see. The filmmaker has to be the youngest person in attendance by at least a decade or more, possibly two.
Anyone who, like me, has been to an anti-nuclear meeting in the past decade or so will recognize this as typical of the people who show up to these events. This is your opposition, folks: aging, pot-smoking ex-hippies sitting around nostalgically recounting books that were written and discredited over a generation ago.
I’m very pleased that the filmmaker was cleaver enough to capture this.
The field of anthropology is missing a golden opportunity to study a modern example of tribal behavior. In this film, we see a modern “tribe” that has been driven to insular behavior by events in the greater world. In particular, we see how they come together to preserve their traditions and keep alive the myths and legends that are central to their peculiar culture. In this, Harvey is much like a witch doctor or tribal elder. His job is to tell the old stories to keep the faith alive.
Try at least three or four decades. I believe Pete Seeger was in attendance so that would bring the maximum to six.
The point you make about “tribalism” is interesting. I recently finished the latest book by Skeptic Magazine publisher Michael Shermer (an issue of Skeptic Magazine makes an appearance in chapter one), “The Believing Brain”. Shermer examines the evolutionary, sociological, and neurological factors that underlie the construction of beliefs and their reinforcement. As recent FMRI studies have pointed out the process of reinforcing a belief triggers the medial pre-frontal cortex to release dopamine. The act of reinforcing beliefs dictates much of with whom we associate.
By the way, Rod, you forgot to mention that Professor Wing’s research was funded entirely by the lawyers engaged in the class-action lawsuit against GPU, the owner of TMI-2. The entire purpose of the “reanalysis” that he performed was to provide something to be used in court to get money.
All of the other studies were funded by money controlled by the courts, not by industry, not by the owners of the plant, and not by greedy lawyers.
@Brian – thank you for that addition to my store of knowledge; I did not know where Wing got the money that supported his study.
Comments are closed.
Recent Comments from our Readers
The Clinton Nuclear Plant also in Illinois was shutdown essentially for almost 2 years before it was taken over by…
Good Podcast – Very informative One thing that was not discussed is how to deal with a particular fear that…
Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…
Looking at their lineup, Westinghouse seems bound and determined to keep Gen IV in its “place” which is apparently the…
So they are developing a scaled down version of the AP1000, which is a scaled up version of the AP600,…