New York Times, The

About: The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 108 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any news organization. Its website is the most popular American online newspaper website, receiving more than 30 million unique visitors per month. [from wikipedia entry]

Contents

  1. 1 2011-04-07


2011-04-07

  • Reporter: Hiroko Tabuchi and Andrew Pollack
  • Date: 2011-04-07
  • NOTE (May 5, 2012): Reported here:  http://mediabugs.org/bugs/critics-punch-holes-in-nyt-leaking-reactor-story. It appears we had some problems with our original posting, partly due to a factual error on our part (for shame!). We've made an effort to clean up the entry.
  • Score: 7 (originally 8)
  • Link to Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/08/world/asia/08japan.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=Broken%20pieces&st=cse
  • Reporting faults and errors (updated): At No. 2, extremely radioactive material continues to ooze out of the reactor pressure vessel, and the leak is likely to widen with time, a western nuclear executive asserted.
    “It’s a little like pulling a thread out of your tie,” said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business connections in Japan. “Any breach gets bigger.”  
    [quoted from the article in question]
    Despite the response of NYT in the mediabugs link, we stand by our criticism that for a comment like this, using an anonymous source is bad reporting. Someone can be a "western nuclear executive" without having a degree in nuclear physics or nuclear engineering. How can it be that the NYT can't find any engineer or physicist who will go on the record about this? That's what makes it suspect, especially since even just mentioning the sources qualifications other than being an executive would be helpful.

    "Broken pieces of fuel rods have been found outside of Reactor No. 2, and are now being covered with bulldozers..." added the anonymous executive. The NYT made no defence of these claims, either that broken pieces of fuel rods were found outside of reactor 2 or that they were being covered with bulldozers. Their only source on this appears to be their anonymous executive. We have not been able to find a reliable source that backs up these claims.

    An explosion did occur on March 15 at reactor unit 2, although it was only heard, which is likely what resulted in the confusion on that detail. Reactors 1 and 3 were the reactors that visibly exploded. In this case, it's our facts that were wrong, and so we have reduced the score on this article.

    In regards to the issue of the condition of the fuel rods inside reactor unit 2, the NYT response correctly points out that they were reporting a speculation by the Nuclear Regulator Commission, which is fair.

    ORIGINAL WRITE-UP BELOW (For Reference)
     
  • Reporting faults and errors: At No. 2, extremely radioactive material continues to ooze out of the reactor pressure vessel, and the leak is likely to widen with time, a western nuclear executive asserted. : “It’s a little like pulling a thread out of your tie,” said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business connections in Japan. “Any breach gets bigger.”: Broken pieces of fuel rods have been found outside of Reactor No. 2, and are now being covered with bulldozers, he said. The pieces may be from rods in the spent-fuel pools that were flung out by hydrogen explosions.
  • Description: Series of shameful fabrication of “anonymous" quotes by New York Times "journalists"  since no heavy machinery haven't even been deployed to work in any of the units yet. Plus, Unit 2 reactor building remains intact and no one (including robots as of April 17th) knows the condition of fuel rods inside the reactor containment vessel which are surrounded by thick concrete. Wish Tabuchi and Pollack had the commonsense to check the actual unit number at Dai-ichi that experienced hydrogen blasts. Certainly not Unit 2! 
  • JPquake Editor: HF, SR (update)

Comments