Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Propaganda, Reuters and Fukushima Fallout

Propaganda operates in many ways. Sometimes propaganda occurs simply through the framing of a story. Framing essentially tells readers how to "read" a story. 

Let me provide an example of how propaganda operates through framing using this example from Reuters.

Read the headline first. Notice it states that "No Big Fukushima Health Impact Seen: UN Body Chairman."

Then go down and read what the UN Body Chairman actually writes:

No big Fukushima health impact seen: U.N. body chairman. (2012, Jan 31). Reuters.

[excerpted] (Reuters) - "The health impact of last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan appears relatively small thanks partly to prompt evacuations, the chairman of a U.N. scientific body investigating the effects of radiation said on Tuesday....

... [Chairman] Weiss said Japanese experts attending the meeting had told him that they were not aware of any acute health effects, in contrast to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

"What we have seen in Chernobyl - people were dying from huge, high exposures, some of the workers were dying very soon - nothing along these lines has been reported so far (in Japan)," he said. "Up to now there were no acute immediate effects observed."

MAJIA HERE: What Weiss has said is that up to now there have been no "acute immediate effects observed."

What is an "acute immediate effect" from radiation?

Let us look to Wikipedia for a definition of "acute radiation syndrome (ARS)"

Wikipedia: Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) also known as radiation poisoning, radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, is a constellation of health effects which occur within several months of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation.[1][2] The term generally refers to acute problems rather than ones that develop after a prolonged period.[3][4][5]
The onset and type of symptoms that develop depends on the dose of radiation exposure. Relatively smaller doses result in gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting and symptoms related to falling blood counts such as infection and bleeding. Relatively larger doses can result in neurological effects and rapid death 

MAJIA HERE: Why would Chairman Weiss frame his response in relation to ARS, or acute radiation syndrome? 

My bet is because he knows quite well that many people will die from Fukushima radiation's effects over time, even though they are not suffering from the extreme poisoning evidenced by ARS.

Why would Reuters translate his remarks about a lack of evidence of ARS within the civilian population as meaning "no big health impact"?

Arguably, there is a "big health" effect even if only 100 people die prematurely from Fukushima radiation due to cancer, birth defects, or circulatory diseases, among other radiation-caused disases.

No doubt far, far more people will die prematurely from radiation exposure from Fukushima.

Remember a study that found a 3% increase for every 10 millisievert of exposure to radiation in ADULTS over a 5year time span (Eisenberg et al "Cancer Risk...")? 

Well, Japan has set the maximum standard of exposure at 20 millisieverts of exposure and this measure does not adequately adjust for internal exposure through the ingestion and inhalation of radionuclides.

I am disgusted by the outright propaganda found in this Reuters article through the technique of framing.

One wonders what financial or other incentives motivated this example of propaganda.

Cancer risk related to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging in patients after acute myocardial infarction. By Mark J. Eisenberg MD MPH, Jonathan Afilalo MD MSc, Patrick R. Lawler MD, Michal Abrahamowicz PhD, Hugues Richard MSc, Louise Pilote MD MPH PhD
Low-Dose radiation suppresses the body’s adaptive response against genomic instability

Huang L, Kim PM, Nickoloff JA, Morgan WF. 2007. Targeted and nontargeted effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on delayed genomic instability in human cells. Cancer Research 67:1099–1104.
“Background” Low-Dose Ionization Radiation Can Cause Leukemia in Children
       Mark P Little1,4, Richard Wakeford2 and Gerald M KendallUpdated estimates of the proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionising radiation Journal of Radiological Protection Volume 29 Number 4 467 

FINALLY, check out the excellent video by Goddard's Journal

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