ARD Meltdown: Major TV News Network Makes 14 Factual Errors In A Single News Report

H/t: Oekowatch

ARD public television is Germany’s flagship news channel which broadcasts its “Tagesschau” news at the prime-time slot of 8 p.m. You can compare it to the BBC News (unfortunately its reputation is following the same path).

It’s no secret that the German media has über-hyped the news in Japan in order to über-dramatize the nuclear power plant accident. So dramatic was the response to the incident in Japan that Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered the immediate shutdown of 7 of Germany’s older reactors in order to restore some semblance of calm among Germany’s freaked out population.

As an example of the media’s reckless reporting, Zettels Raum blog here brings our attention to 14 factual errors made in the ARD news last Thursday evening. Zettels Raum writes:

You will probably not want to believe what you are about to read, but it is the truth: In itsPrime-time newscast yesterday at 8 pm, the “Tageschau” reported 2:30 min on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. In these two and half minutes, there were 14 factual errors.”

The Zettels Raum author then lists all 14 errors and corrects them. As a whole, the entire ARD report was what Germans would call a media GAU (huge media meltdown). Of course all the errors, every one of them, served to exaggerate and over-dramatize the situation. I’ll now describe briefly each error.

Error 1: ARD claimed the military used water cannons and helicopters to cool the reactor, when in fact the water cannons were used by the police, and the military used helicopters of the fire department of a military base.

Error 2: ARD claimed that personnel risked their lives. Zettels Raum calls this claim “absurd”, saying that the guidelines for exposure to radiation by workers were fully adhered to.

Error 3:ARD claimed the radiation in the area had increased sharply, when in fact the radiation had dropped from 3. 8 mSv/h to 1.6 mSv/hr.

Error 4:ARD claimed that a video had been published in the Internet showing the destruction, when in fact the video was news footage from an NHK program.

Error 5: ARD claimed that the helicopter that made the video “flew over the reactor grounds,” when in fact  it was 30 km away.

Error 6: ARD claimed that the army way trying to prevent a reactor meltdown, when in fact the risk of such had not been in existence for days. The real concern were for the used fuel rods that were outside of the reactor.

Error 7 and 8: ARD claimed attempts by helicopters and water cannons to cool the reactors were interrupted and so precious time was being lost in the fight against a nuclear catastrophe, when in fact the water cannons were replaced by the more powerful fire-fighting vehicles of the military, and the claim that “precious time was being lost” was freely fabricated by ARD.

Error 9: ARD claimed that there was a hydrogen explosion at the building, in Block 3 an explosion in the building, when in fact the explosions did not occur once “at” and once “in” the building, but with both blocks in the reactor building.

Error 10:ARD claimed that the fuel rods had been exposed at times and that there was an explosion in Block 2 that may have damaged the reactor core and that after a fire the fuel rods were exposed and could not be cooled. But in fact, Zettels Raum blog writes:

A connection between the fire (likely burning lubrication oil) and exposed fuel elements is not known up to now. The elements are no longer suffciently covered by water because the pumps didn’t function, and the water in all cooling ponds – whether there was a fire or not – had evaporated.”

Error 11:And so, ARD claimed that the exposed fuel rods would eventually heat up to the point they would melt,  penetrate the concerte reactor encasing and eventually reach the earth and then radioactively contaminate the groundwater. Zettels Raum calls this claim: “one of the most absurd errors in this “Tagesschau” report, saying reactors 1-3  had long since ben cooled and that reactor 4 had not been in operation and thus no heating to lead to such a scenario.

Error 12: ARD claimed that experts were working feverishly to lay an emergency power supply line to the power plant in order to switch on the cooling system, when in fact it wasn’t an emergency power supply, but a line to the ordinary ordinary high voltage power grid.

Error 13: ARD claimed that line would be finished earliest on Friday, and that it was unknown whether or not the cooling unit would even switch on. At this point German viewers were probably biting their fingers off. But the fact was that it was already Friday in Japan – 4 a.m. – when the ARD report was being aired. So there was no way for the line to be finished on Thursday or earlier.

Error 14: How the ARD knew that it is”unknown” whether it would function is their “secret”. Of course pumps can be repaired and put back into operation. But you need power to do this.

Zettels Raum concludes as follows:

Is that only a mess, sloppiness or pure ignorance? Or is it political agitation? What is obvious, in any case, is that all the errors were made without exception in a way that exaggerated the actual damage and actual danger. If this were simply sloppiness, one would then expect some errors to be made in the other direction too.”

Also read here (German):  Super Meltdown In Media and Politics. Vera Langenfeld on the consequences of the hyper-hysteria spread by media and reckless politicians:

“In this regard, the super meltdown has occurred in Germany, and we are about to experience its impacts soon.”

26 responses to “ARD Meltdown: Major TV News Network Makes 14 Factual Errors In A Single News Report”

  1. R. de Haan

    ARD: Alarmist Retarded Demagoguery
    The ARD is an Alarmist Global Warming Propaganda Machinery and their news broadcasts fail to meet journalistic quality standards for a long time.

    This is an organization that runs on public funding.

    Time to pull the plug.

    1. DirkH

      If you want real leftism (really far out loony tunes philosophical, anti-individualist leftism), try Deutschlandradio Kultur.

  2. DirkH

    Zettel’s Raum is a great resource. I just read his summary of the development of the rabid anti-nuclear movement in Germany. He describes it as a tool found by the radical left to politicize the proletariate (after many other failed attempts, a successful one). And in this way it is exactly like the global AGW movement.

    He quotes a radical leftist from the early 80ies about the (violent) demonstrations against the Brokdorf nuclear plant in Northern Germany.

    “Einige von uns haben sich an den drei Brokdorf-Demos und der Grohnde-Demo beteiligt. Um ehrlich zu sein, lag zu diesem Zeitpunkt unser Interesse an der Anti-AKW-Bewegung hauptsächlich darin, daß sich dort eine breite Militanz entwickelte, daß es dort Putz gab”

    “Some of us have partaken in the three Brokdorf demos and the Grohnde (another nuclear plant in Lower Saxony) demo. To be honest, at that time our interest in the Anti Nuclear Power movement was mainly that here a broad militant sentiment developed; that this was were the clashes were.”

  3. R. de Haan

    Unfortunately the ARD is not alone:

    Making Mountains out of Meltdowns

    Our news can no longer be trusted:
    Storm gathers

  4. DirkH

    I’ve read an analysis of German Nuclear Angst on Die Achse Des Guten and stumbled across a google ad for an Anti Angst homeopathic medication: The Inner Calm Globuli.

    Personally, i think that’s all too diluted to work… 😉

  5. Edward

    In Britain, Libya is all the rage again, nuclear ‘not so hot’ now.

    Poor old BBC, no ‘melt down’ and no story, just 16, 000 lives lost in a massively powerful Tsunami and appalling human suffering and tragedy – no news in that eh?

    Cynical? Yes you betcha.

    1. NeilM

      Oh look over there!
      A burning fighter jet falling out of the sky!


  6. Going Bananas | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

    […] really been happening with our global Media services over the last week? Have the world’s newspapers and TV been reporting an objective view of […]

  7. R. de Haan

    I had to think about the ARD alarmist special about Mount Kilimanjaro and it’s melting ice cap.
    Now Climate Depot comes with this news:

    Snow slowly building Mount Kilimanjaro

    1. DirkH

      I would love to see Dana’s and Rob’s explanations for this. Did the “Denial Machine” [Dessler 2007] smuggle Koch Industries made snow cannons on Mt. Kilimanjaro? 😉

      1. mindert eiting

        Rob and Dana are already missing for weeks. What happened to them? It’s really scary!

  8. DirkH

    Didn’t know this. After reading Zettel’s about the German K-Gruppen (various communist groups in the 70ies) i looked at

    To my amazement, the wikipedia DOES acknowledge that a lot of their members infiltrated the Green Party. They even name names – amongst them Jürgen Trittin, Green top honcho!

    Winston Smith asleep at the typewriter i’d say… 😉

  9. DirkH

    German Greenpeace activist admits that in the 70ies K-Gruppen members worked at Greenpeace:
    “Bei Greenpeace, gegründet 1971 während des Vietnamkriegs von amerikanischen Wehrdienstverweigerern in Kanada, wurde auf Englisch kommuniziert. Im Büro unterm Dach tummelten sich Dutzende Freiwillige wie im Bienenstock. Langhaarige Kerle gab es, die Tofu aßen und einander oft nur beim Spitznamen kannten, Hausfrauen, die Broschüren eintüteten, junge Soziologen, denen das Arbeitsamt den Lohn zahlte, Leute, die früher in K-Gruppen mitgemischt hatten genauso wie solche, die den deutschen Wald, Natur und Schäferhunde schätzten.”

    The IPCC Report were, in turn, partially written by Greenpeace activists:

    The strategy is called “Der Marsch durch die Institutionen” and was invented 1967 by Rudi Dutschke, German student revolt leader:

  10. Bernd Felsche

    It’s perhaps not a coincidence that I suggested (via their tips) to “our ABC” (Australia – ARD equivalent) media watch programme to have an opening sequence of a mushroom cloud, because that is what it looks like the MSM is itching to show.

    Didn’t happen after my tip-off last weekend. Maybe Monday.

  11. DirkH

    A Greenpeace member from Lörrach posts on his website:
    “Rettet die Wale !!!! Esst mehr Japaner !!!”
    “Save the Whales, eat more Japanese.”

    I would recommend saving a copy before he makes it disappear.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      That comment about the edibility of Japanese dates back to the 1970’s at least, where it was flavour of the month for the yarts students and sociable scientists. As an undergrad, I supplemented my other income amd insufficient student allowance by hawking advertising space in the student union paper which published such drivel.

      Meanwhile, the Engineers’ Club, combining all the political interests of the students of those faculties, campaigned for land rights for radioactive, aboriginal, gay & lesbian whales. And had lots of supporters, judging by the size of the crowd around the kegs.

      Although I had some support for a practical campaign to support the Japanese diet (ahem), none of the foreign Engineering students was forthcoming to sit in the kettle above a (simulated) fire in order to make a broth.

  12. DirkH

    An unlikely ally. Monbiot emphasizes the relative safety of nukes.

  13. DirkH

    France is always mentioned as one country with a lot of nuclear power. What is never mentioned – because there have never been big problems – is Switzerland. They produce 40% of their electricity with nukes.

  14. DirkH

    Very strange. all day long now, on Google News Deutschland, there are of course nearly no more news from Fukushima, as journalists have dropped it, but two n-tv articles from 16th March remain stubbornly:

    “Rettungsversuche offenbar aussichtslos: Fukushima droht nukleares Desaster ”
    “Rescue trials obviously futile: Fukushima threatened by nuclear disaster”

    “”Arme Schweine”: Szenarien für Fukushima”
    “Poor Fellows: scenarios for Fukushima”

    On the American news page, nothing similar. Is the algorithm broken or is Google trying to manipulate the German renewable energy stock market by keeping up the panic?

  15. R. de Haan
  16. R. de Haan

    High pressure over Germany.
    Wind Mills producing ZERO power.

    Without nuclear, coal is the only alternative.

    Germany is ruled by zealots.

  17. R. de Haan
  18. DirkH

    I’m now pretty sure that everybody working in the mainstream media has only one goal; to scare the populace and spread disinformation. Fukushima basically is over, but by using headlines like
    “Repair crews return to nuclear plant as Japan’s disaster toll rises”
    they show that they will not deliver anything but lies and deception to their last breath.,0,7456230.story

    It is the alpha and omega of their pityful existence to lie and deceive.

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