Mar 27 2009

Riki Ott on Exxon Valdez, Harvey Wasserman on Three Mile Island


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This week on CounterSpin: Disaster anniversaries are readymade news hooks for media always in search of one. March sees 20 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled at least 11 million gallons (and likely much more) of oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It’s also been 30 years this month since this country’s worst nuclear accident, the partial core meltdown at Pennsylvania nuclear plant Three Mile Island. Both incidents were seen as watershed revelations of institutional failures and engendered activism and calls for reform.

But corporate media’s “looks back” and “lessons learned” don’t always identify the right lessons–and rarely engage, meaningfully, the role of media in explaining what went wrong or how to keep it from going wrong again.

We’ll hear from activist and marine biologist Riki Ott, author of Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on that story. And from Harvey Wasserman, longtime nuclear activist and co-author of the book Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation.