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Nuclear power and the mainstream media – a convenient advertising platform?

Google headlines on ”nuclear” today, Noel Wauchope 5 October 20,    Google headlines give you some idea on what the media are saying about nuclear issues.  If you look up Google News right now ( 6 pm AEST 5 October 20) –  you get a total of 93 headlines.
I went through these 93 articles, and found that 54 of them were clearly nuclear promotion articles.  19 were anti nuclear, or critical of nuclear technology, and 20 were neutral –  in the sense that they reported events and facts, without opinion or comment.

The media reflects society, in that they separate issues about nuclear weapons, from issues about nuclear power.   It looks as if nuclear weapons get a bad press. That’s OK.

But when it comes to nuclear power, it’s a different story: by and large, it looks as if the mainstream media is happy to function pretty much as an advertising platform for the nuclear industry.

In the 54 articles approving of, or supporting nuclear power , these were the themes:

The dominant  theme  in 20 articles was  ‘New nuclear”- especially small nuclear reactors, depicted as essential to combat climate change -clean, sustainable, future depends on them, should be subsidised. Sometimes portrayed as in tandem with renewable energy, or transitional to renewable energy, sometimes subtly or clearly disparaging renewable energy.

Another  theme was nuclear fusion, with 9 enthusiastic articles.

6 countries were described in positive terms as going ahead with nuclear power. Other pro nuclear articles claimed – that it’s necessary for the economy and jobs, that ionising radiation is not really dangerous. Claim about ”diamond batteries” from nuclear wastes.  Positive stories about fixing corrosion in nuclear reactors, and about robots solving nuclear waste problems. One article enthused about the benefits of nuclear power for women.There were a couple of articles positive  about nuclear weapons –  had a style of boasting about their development for the countries concerned .

For anti-nuclear articles, well, themes of nuclear disarmament were prominent.  Four articles were about costs, 2 articles about Fukushima, 2 criticising small nuclear reactors, Articles warned on Saudi Arabia getting nuclear power, on China’s development. One article refuted the ”diamond battery”plan for nuclear wastes.

October 5, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, media

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