People Died Because of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident, Why Won't Corporate Media Admit It?
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Chernobyl exploded and Three Mile Island missed by a whisker. They both killed people.
But thirty years after the Pennsylvania melt-down, a Soviet-style Iron Curtain has formed between the corporate media and the alternatives, with nuclear power at its center.
The Soviets denied for days that the Chernobyl accident had happened at all. America's parallel corporate media says "no one died at TMI."
Take National Public Radio's Scott Simon. On March 28, Simon smirked on air that "no one was killed or injured" at Three Mile Island, "not so much as a sprained ankle."
Except when people are fleeing them, as they did 30 years ago, radiation releases have never been linked directly to joint sprains.
But cancer, leukemia, birth defects, stillbirths, malformations, spontaneous abortions, skin lesions, hair loss, respiratory problems, sterility, nausea, cataracts, a metallic taste, premature aging, general loss of bodily function and more can be caused by radioactive emissions of the type that poured out of TMI. And all such ailments have been documented there outside the corporate media.
Simon and everyone else inside the corporate media missed the well-organized, well-executed press event in the statehouse at Harrisburg on March 26. Despite solid publicity from Eric Epstein and the long-standing Three Mile Island Alert, not a single corporate reporter covered presentations by nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen and University of North Carolina epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Wing.
Once a top industry executive, Gundersen has shown that the containment at Three Mile Island Unit 2 did not completely hold, and that far more radiation was released than previously believed.
Dr. Wing reports that levels of radiation-related disease significantly rose in the downwind area. Wing and three co-authors looked at statistics used in a major study by Columbia University and other sources. They concluded that -- despite official denials -- the numbers clearly indicate serious potential health effects.
Gundersen and Wing were neither hiding nor alone. University of Pittsburgh radiology Professor Emeritus Dr. Ernest Sternglass and health researchers Joe Mangano and Jay Gould have long since documented that public health catastrophe. House-to-house surveys from local residents Jane Lee and Mary Osborne confirm the damage. Massive anecdotal evidence collected in a book and radio show by Robbie Leppzer appears at www.turningtide.com. Published in 1982 by DellDelta, Killing Our Own correlated the death toll at TMI with that from other mis-uses of radiation. Other books have followed with similar conclusions.
This tidal wave of proof about the TMI death toll spread through the "alternative" media prior to the accident's anniversary. Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales talked with me about it on March 27. Announced by the Institute for Public Accuracy, the story appeared on the Pacifica and Counterspin/Fair radio networks , and with Peter B. Collins on the Thomm Hartmann Show. It was also heard on stations such as WORT (Madison), KBOO (Oregon), KDKA (Pittsburgh), radioornot.com, and more. Websites like Huffington Post, CommonDreams, AlterNet, FreePress.org, NukeFree, CounterPunch, BuzzFlash, Smirking Chimp, Daily Kos, and dozens more got the story out, as did environmental groups like Greenpeace, NIRS and Beyond Nuclear. (If your website, radio show or organization also carried it, please contact me).
But the word never crossed the conceptual chasm between the "mainstream" media and the "alternative." Despite a federal class action lawsuit filed by 2400 Pennsylvania families claiming damages from the accident, despite at least $15 million quietly paid to parents of birth-defected children, despite three decades of official admissions that nobody knows how much radiation escaped from TMI, where it went or who it affected, not a mention of the fact that people might have been killed there made its way into a corporate report.