Nuking the Media

Two years ago, an editorial in the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) referred to the dream run that Patrick Moore and Christine Todd Whitman were getting in the media representing the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. CJR noted that few journalists were disclosing that the group was created by the Nuclear Energy Institute with assistance from Hill & Knowlton. "Part of the thinking, surely, was that the press would peg them as dedicated environmentalists who have turned into pro-nuke cheerleaders, rather than as paid spokespeople. And the press came through." They still do. Jay Hancock, a business columnist for the Baltimore Sun, wrote in his blog that "Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore has decided that the risks of nuclear energy are lower than the risks of continuing to use carbon energy." Hancock is not the only journalist not to disclose Moore's nuclear industry ties to his readers. The week before his post, a CanWest News Service story simply described Moore as an "avid proponent of nuclear" power.


Welllll... guess what. It happened again! Tonight on NBC News. The video is up at:

I posted a comment on Lester Holt's blog, and below that your clip from Hancock, and your URL of course. Here's what I said to NBC:

Mr. Holt:

Another issue concerning tonight's broadcast, if I may.

Not long ago, the NY Times revealed that the Dubya administration had recruited and planted ex-military officers in order to surreptitiously spread propaganda about the Iraq war. If I remember correctly, NBC News was involved in that scandal, but didn't have much to say about the article.

Tonight, the item "Taking a second look at nuclear power" featured a fellow named Patrick Moore. There are some important facts about him that NBC didn't reveal. And by the way, isn't GE a big player in the nuclear power biz? Anyway, fortunately I subscribe to the Center for Media & Democracy's "Weekly Spin" email newsletter. So I will attach an item from this week's, below, and hope that whoever reviews this comment will forgive the included link. PLEASE, Mr. Holt, speaking of your boss, please pass this along to him. Thanks.

the original CJR editorial is at