Aug 1 2014

Arjun Makhijani on Renewable Energy

Wind power in Germany (cc photo: Mathias Dalheimer)

The UN’s panel of climate scientists have issued grave warnings about continued dependence on fossil fuels, but US policy seems to be looking more to the polluting energy source–with a fracking boom, the Keystone pipeline and, in the latest news, the White House’s opening of the Atlantic coast to oil and gas drilling. We’ll talk to Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research about why none of this has to be this way.

Jan 1 2014

CNN’s Pro-Nuclear Bias

Cheerleading documentary followed by more stacked commentary


CNN aired the pro-nuclear power documentary Pandora’s Promise, a film that brooked virtually no dissent from the views of its seven principal “stars”—one-time anti-nuclear environmentalists who now say the planet can only be saved from the ravages of fossil fuels by a rapid, large-scale investment in new, supposedly fail-safe “fast reactors.”

Nov 21 2013

CNN Doubles Down on Pro-Nuclear Bias

Answers petitions, critics, with more slanted commentary

NRDC's Dale Bryk provides the only voice of skepticism on CNN's nuclear roundtable following the network's airing of pro-nuke documentary Pandora's Promise.

FAIR and RootsAction presented CNN with a petition signed by over 27,000 activists, demanding the news network present a more balanced discussion of the nuclear power issue. CNN responded by compounding the bias with a post-show roundtable, Nuclear Power: The Fallout From Fear, that featured a panel just as slanted as its title.

Mar 1 1993

Close Encounters of the Nuclear Kind

Reporters ignore space probe's plutonium payload

A space probe with 50 pounds of plutonium aboard–theoretically enough if dispersed to give everyone in the world lung cancer–made an extremely risky low-level “flyby” of the Earth in December 1992. But you wouldn’t have known any danger was involved by reading most of the mainstream U.S. media. Indeed, the New York Times‘ Dec. 8 account of the Galileo space probe flyby–which occurred later that day–didn’t mention the word “plutonium” once, or “nuclear.” Nor did the story, by John Noble Wilford, give any indication of concerns expressed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or by General Electric, the manufacturer of Galileo’s […]

Mar 1 1992

Survey Says: Newspapers Boost Nukes

One of the claims of the nuclear industry is that it is subject to constant criticism from the media. But a five-month sample of clippings gathered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicates that the majority of editorials, columns and news stories on nuclear power in U.S. newspapers are supportive of nuclear power. Extra! conducted a survey of the NRC’s clippings from February to June 1991 in conjunction with Don’t Waste U.S., a D.C.-based group opposed to nuclear waste that regularly monitors the NRC’s documents. “I see an onslaught from points all over the country pushing nuclear power,” says Carol Oldershaw, […]

Jul 1 1991

Time’s Nuclear Non-Choice

Time magazine’s April 29 cover story asked the question: “Nuclear Power: Do We Have a Choice?”–and answered it in the negative. Time mirrored the arguments of the nuclear industry and nuclear enthusiasts in the Bush administration–without investigating their validity. For instance, Time cited an April report by the  National Academy of Sciences on the greenhouse effect, also ballyhooed by nuclear proponents. “The National Academy of Sciences called this month for the swift development of a new generation of nuclear plants to help fight the greenhouse gas effect,” trumpeted Time. “Some of the adjectives don’t seem to be there–such as the […]

May 1 1990

New Improved Nukes

The press pushes the nuclear option

“Revive the Atom,” proclaimed the New York Times (12/8/89), trumpeting a campaign to resurrect nuclear power we will hear much of in the coming years. “Nuclear power is not inherently unworkable,” editorialized the Times. “Technology is the easiest part–a new generation of safer, cheaper nuclear power plants is already on the drawing boards. The tough part is changing public attitudes.” And the Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other mainstays of establishment media seem intent on doing whatever they can to change public attitudes. The crusade for the dying technology (no nuclear plant has been ordered in the U.S. […]

Jul 1 1987

Reporter Gets Scoop, Then Gets Shafted

Colleagues Stage Byline Boycott

Nuclear reactor (cc photo: NRC)

Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Jim Lawless has been on the utilities beat for six years. On May 30, he and colleague Bill Sloat broke the “GE Papers” story for the Plain Dealer, and it soon went national. The secret papers, written by General Electric engineers in 1975, detailed intense management pressure on GE’s nuclear division to rush onto the market a nuclear reactor design inadequately tested and potentially dangerous. Besides the issue of corporate greed, the story raised questions about Nuclear Regulatory Commission complicity and a consumer rip-off of billions of dollars in cost overruns at approximately 22 reactors based […]