There has been a bigger-than-usual amount of scare-mongering and panic-fostering amongst the news media over the Japanese disasters recently. Here is an example from today. This is a good example of why I refuse to read newspapers.

First the headline: Fukushima workers exposed to illegal radiation levels. (this is a cached page: the Guardian has since changed its headline). Note the eye-catching, inflammatory headline.

Then it says, “Six workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been exposed to radiation levels beyond the usual legal limit while carrying out emergency operations to make the complex safe.”

“beyond the usual limits” is not the same as “illegal”. Further down, it says, “The Kyodo news agency reported that Tepco said six staff members had been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation…” and in the next paragraph it reported, “The government earlier increased to 250 mSv the limit for those working in the emergency operation.”

Earlier. That means before the workers had been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts. In other words, it was not illegal, because the government had already raised the permitted dosage level.

According to this chart of radiation dosage levels, 50 mSv is “Radiation worker one-year dose limit”; 100 mSv is “Dose limit for emergency workers protecting valuable property” and 250 mSv is “Dose limit for emergency workers in lifesaving operations”. For comparison, 100 mSv is “Lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk”.

Newspapers cannot be trusted. They lie, shamelessly. Their purpose is not to propagage true information, but to sell eyeballs to their advertisers. Hence headlines that will grab attention are chosen. If they are not actually true or factual or accurate, well, who cares! They casn always change it later, or make some excuse.

And this is a relatively mild example. The “lie” is actually exposed in the article itself!! In many cases, the lie is only exposed if one searches for alternative sources of information. Not everyone does: they either do not have the time, or they tend to believe what they read.