Comes from McClatchy.
So, deaths from radiation poisoning, cancer from such, among workers in the American nuclear arms industry. An interesting subject and we do actually know, absolutely, that it happened at least once (bloke playing with plutonium parts of warhead, allows them to get to close together, then calculates who he has killed other than himself before going off to hospital. It’s even in a movie….one of the Cusaks playing him perhaps?).
What we’d really like to know is what is the incidence?
So, McClatchy has a brainwave. Let’s look at the number of people Uncle Sam has compensated for getting cancer having worked at nuclear weapons facilities. Genius!
Except, as explained here, that’s not quite how it works.
Because Congress decided that it couldn’t in fact work out which cancers among the nuclear weapons workers had in fact been caused by their being nuclear weapons workers. And in this Congress was right: no one does know and except for the very few obvious accident cases we know about no one can know.
Therefore Congress compensates anyone who gets cancer having been a nuclear weapons worker.
No, not people who get cancer from having been a nuclear weapons worker, anyone who gets cancer having been a nuclear weapons worker.
And the incidence of cancer among former nuclear weapons workers is about the same as it is in the general population. About one third of us don’t die of other diseases and survive to get cancer these days. So with weapons workers.
But that’s what McClatchy runs with. Some one third get cancer, thus nuclear weapons workers have been poisoned by their jobs: when the incidence is actually the same as the general population.
And they’ve spent a fortune on this. They record at least 100 interviews with sufferers. With American long form journalism that means a budget of at the very least high single digits of hundreds of thousands (you’re going to send a reporter, maybe a photographer, on a plane ride, for a couple of days, to conduct each interview) of dollars and quite likely low single digits of millions of dollars.
And it’s all based on that entirely false logic. If incidence is the same as the general population then there is no story.
It’s absurd: and whichever editor that greenlighted this project, if it’s supposed to be journalism, needs to be fired. If it’s just propaganda, for whatever reason, that’s fine: propaganda is propaganda. but then it probably shouldn’t be coming from McClatchy, should it?