Friday, March 11, 2016

On Fukushima's Anniversary

Last night I told my husband that George Orwell was right. We are living in a world resembling Orwell's 1984.

Newspeak, in particular, is everywhere one looks.

Everyday I look at the headlines and read selected stories from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, the Mainichi and select other Japanese newspapers (Asahi Shimbun free this month!)

Deliberate propaganda infuses reporting, especially in the arenas of economic "recovery" after the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the public health and ecological consequences of industrial catastrophes ranging from the Fukushima crisis to the BP oil spill.

For example, on March 8, 2016 USA Today propagandized with the front-page headline, "Weekly Wages May be Rising Faster than Believed," suggesting that individuals in the bottom half of the workforce are experiencing improved working conditions.

This type of headline is designed to obscure the growing impoverishment of the bottom half (actually 80 percent) of the US workforce, a trend that is well documented, particularly for millennials.

Likewise, the first paragraph of an article in the WSJ on Fukushima reads reassuringly, inviting readers to believe the plant is under control and no longer spewing radioactive particles and gasses into the atmosphere and ocean:
Mayumi Negishi and Eric Pfanner, "Japan Grapples with Fukushima Cleanup: Five Years Later, Concrete Covers Toxic Dust, But Hardest Challenges Remain." The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2016, A11

Japan--the radioactive rubble has been cleared. Poured concrete has covered the toxic dust. And many workers have traded hazmat suits for surgical masks.... inside the razor-wire fence, the visual scars have mostly healed and an uneasy clam has returned....

Of course this is entirely propaganda. I have documented at my blog that last week there were fire trucks parked at the Futaba intersection while the plant spewed steam. Emissions are down somewhat over the last few days but the belching demon under the plant has merely quieted temporarily and his breath is still visible on the cams: