September 18, 2012

Never trust a journalist - or why we need services like Trejdify

I've recently found a research paper on the subject on which party Swedish journalists are voting on compared with what the people in Sweden are voting on. This is the result:

Party Journalists People
V 15% 5%
S 14 28
MP 41 12
C 4 5
F 7 7
M 14 34
KD 2 3
SD 1 3
Other 3 1
Source: jmg.gu.se

We can clearly see that there is a big difference between what the people in Sweden are voting on compared with what the journalists in Sweden are voting on. I believe that this is an important fact and that we don't always get the full picture from the newspapers.

The party most favorable by journalists is MP (Milj√∂partiet) - or the The Environmental Party the Greens translated to English. If you remember the earthquake in Japan in 2011, and the following Fukushima disaster, you might also remember that the news about the nuclear power plants spread around the world and everyone were terrified about the events. The stock market crashed and some people in Sweden bought those Iodine pills that are supposed to be good if you are exposed to dangerous radiation. Sweden is on the opposite side of the world from Japan, and the dangerous nuclear radiation from Japan could not have spread to Sweden. Many journalists compared the Fukushima disaster with the Chernobyl disaster - but you can't compare a Chernobyl reactor type with a reactor type from a modern nuclear power plant. This is what happened at Chernobyl:
"These events exposed the graphite moderator of the reactor to air, causing it to ignite. The resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive smoke fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including Pripyat. The plume drifted over large parts of the western Soviet Union and Europe."
A modern reactor doesn't have a graphite moderator - the graphite has been replaced with water - and water can't ignite. So the spread of the dangerous radiation can't become as great as the spread from the Chernobyl disaster. Why didn't journalists mention this when scientists during the Fukushima disaster mentioned it? You had to dig really deep through the Internet to find out why the spread of dangerous radiation could not have reached Europe. I'm not saying that nuclear power is not dangerous - of all the nuclear power plants in the world, 20 percent have dangerous graphite moderators, and I believe that we should close these power plants. Living close (within 30 km) to a nuclear power plant is also still dangerous.

In the end many countries decided to shut down their nuclear power plants. One other interesting fact is that the MP party in Sweden also want to shut down the nuclear power plants. Is this a conflict of interest? Can we expect that journalists write objectively about nuclear power - or will their writings be influenced by what they themselves believe in?

This is exactly why we need social news services like Trejdify, Digg, Reddit, and Hacker News. These content aggregators publish articles made by journalists and amateur bloggers. The big difference is that it is the people - not the journalists - that determines which of the articles are the best.

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