Ed Driscoll

Forward, Into the Past: The Backpages

Here are few items to flesh out my “Forward into the Past” Silicon Graffiti video from last week.

Foreshadowing American Express’s smug 2010 Dam Busting commercial, Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center sent me the following article he wrote in 2007 on how radical environmentalism has strangled the construction of hydroelectric dams in America:

America’s dams are in danger. Not just from terrorists or the ravages of time, but from the extreme fringe of the environmental movement. Operating under a well-organized national campaign, groups like Environmental Defense, the Sierra Club and others are systematically trying to tear down dams, destroy hydroelectric facilities and prevent new dams from being built.

In many cases, it’s simply to save fish, especially salmon.

The battle is being fought by lawyers, lobbyists, volunteers and eco-friendly scientists. In January 2007, the U.S. Interior Department ruled power company PacifiCorp must spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build fish ladders across its Klamath River dams or tear down those very same dams, eliminating power for 70,000 people.

A May 2006 Supreme Court ruling sided with “fish and kayakers” over hydroelectric plants, saying “that state regulators may require a steady flow of water over power dams,” according to the May 16, 2006, Los Angeles Times.

And the network news shows aren’t telling viewers anything about it.

But then, look at how cool and rationally the MSM covered Three Mile Island in 1979:

Three Mile Island’s (TMI) accident terrified many not only because of communication problems with industry and government officials, but because of frightening new reports with predictions that ultimately didn’t happen. An anti-nuclear Hollywood film also influenced the press coverage of the accident, which is frequently cited as the turning point against nuclear energy in America.

In fact, The Washington Post said the “accident clouds future of nuclear power” as early as two days after it happened on March 28, 1979. Since then not a single new nuclear power plant has been built.

Just days after the TMI accident, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite’s introduction for a series of reports on March 30, 1979, was downright scary.“[T]he horror tonight is that it could get much worse. It is not an atomic explosion that is feared, the experts say that is impossible, but the specter was raised that perhaps the next most serious kind of nuclear catastrophe – a massive release of radioactivity.”

One ABC anchor called it a “nuclear nightmare” unfolding “on the Susquehanna River.” ABC’s Tom Jarriel warned that “the first casualty of this accident may have been trust.” Despite Jarriel’s implicit prediction that there would be casualties, there were no deaths caused by Three Mile Island and no proven health problems from the leaked radiation.

Another ABC reporter, Bettina Gregory, showed viewers the steam towers of Three Mile Island while warning, “Tonight the plant looms like a pale ghost, the specter of potential meltdown hanging over this community.”

Naturally of course, this was all forgotten when they cranked up their more recent global warming scare campaigns to counterbalance the War on Terror. Before the two found themselves surprisingly joined at the hip with 2009’s World Wildife Federation’s botched 9/11-themed campaign and accompanying video and 10:10’s infamous blood-caked video clip last year, of course.  Judging by the moral equivalency of those campaigns, you’d almost think Osama bin Laden was ready to join Al Gore’s cause.

Oh wait.

And finally, Steve Hayward, who explored today’s radical dam busters in Power Line this week, emailed me the following clip he made of a certain pioneering vegetarian environmentalist who was not at all happy about 10:10’s explosive video:


Considering all of the attempts to ban electricity-producing sources and turn off the lights, if we go too far forward into the past, it sometimes seems like the only thing we’ll have left for power is wind, and for illumination, candles.

…Both of which have killed more people than nuclear power.