4. The two biggest casualties of nuclear fearmongering: mental health and the reputation of the U.S.
Let’s start with our world reputation, which the old media informs us is much better under the soothing ministrations of Dear Leader. But as he has shown throughout his relatively brief time in the Oval Office, President Obama seems far more interested in appeasing our enemies than playing nice with our friends. And Japan is – was – one of our best friends.
These reports did not receive much attention, at least in the old media. One wonders why not? Both the BBC and a newspaper in Singapore reported a fairly significant piece of political gamesmanship in a story headlined “Japan rejected early U.S. help on nuclear disaster”:
“According to the unnamed senior (Japanese) official, U.S. support was based on dismantling the troubled reactors…”
So, the United States government put a condition on offering help, and that condition was to permanently cripple the country’s electrical generating capacity? To score “greenie” points?
Well, the State Department has denied the original story. But as other bloggers are pointing out, it certainly bears investigating.
The other big casualty of the reactor story? Peace of mind. There is a price to be paid for the needless hysteria generated by a media only too happy to conjure up images of Hiroshima. And we have seen this price paid before, as pointed out by writer Paul Gregory, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. This is from his discussion of the authoritative report on Chernobyl published in 2005:
“Strikingly, the report labels the mental health impact of Chernobyl as ‘the largest public health problem created by the accident’ and partially attributes this damaging psychological impact to a lack of accurate information. These problems manifest as negative self-assessments of health, belief in a shortened life expectancy, lack of initiative, and dependency on assistance from the state.”
Gregory goes on to note that the current rash of irresponsible media reports will likely create an even worse mental health impact for the Japanese people, as the press feeds upon baseless statements like that of the European Union’s energy chief, who described the situation as “an apocalypse.”
“The media also pounce on pronouncements like radiation ‘twenty times normal’… no one bothers to explain what twenty times more than about zero actually means in terms of health risks.”
There will be no real life tragic consequences as the lefties fantasize – in fact, there is significant evidence of the opposite, as Ann Coulter reported this past week.
But there will be real life tragic consequences from the hysteria:
“Consumers throughout the world will now fear Japanese products. The Japanese people will conclude that they face a life of poor health, in a suicide-prone society. There may be a rash of abortions, such as in the wake of Chernobyl, as expectant parents fear birth defects. Countries like Germany, confronted with a politically powerful anti-nuclear power lobby, will shut down their nuclear reactors at huge costs.”
He’s right about Germany. And he’s probably right about the rest of it, as well.