There is a combination of contradictory reports, down-playing of facts, intelligent discussion consistently evaded by prefacing every other statement with ever-changing official statements, etc.
The spin is already laying its foundations to manage our perceptions of any future problems with this situation. For example, down-playing the fact that radiation levels in Tokyo are "10 times higher" than normal levels - by suggesting that normal is such a tiny amount that 10 times normal is a mere statistical quibble. Even though the milk in Fukushima prefecture has been found to be contaminated with radiation, official sources claim it does not pose any ‘significant’ health threats.
Also, they are citing Chernobyl as a bench-mark of a 'bad' situation, and thus consistently distancing the Japan leak from this event.
The power of words. It does not take a degree in nuclear physics to see that this is just as bad, if not worse, than Chernobyl.
What surprises me though is that many of the UK newscasters and reporters seemed genuinely on edge, angry, and deeply shocked - sometimes coming out with intelligent jibes at 'nuclear and political experts'.
It would be nice if this was evidence of a nascent perceptual maturity and not just a flash-in-the-pan, huh? Alas, we see now that attempts at serious mainstream reporting seem to be falling drastically over the past few days. Obviously, the new wrinkles in the Libya conflict seemed to have eclipsed the severity of the Japan situation. Almost a week into this unprecedented disaster, the US and Britain declare military action against Libya under the pretext of protecting rebel forces. Muammar Muhammad el-Gaddafi is suddenly an intolerable presence on the global stage, which is curious considering the strange relationships allied forces have had with him in the past.
Also it's resonant with this Wikipedia quote about the Egyptian god Atum returning the earth to "watery chaos" at the end of the creative cycle:
It's very hard to speak insightfully on these events without appearing to sensationalise them, or scaring people. But these events ARE sensational, in that they assault the senses with powerful, uncomfortable data. The term 'apocalyptic' has been used quite frequently in the media to describe the scope of the disaster - whilst on the surface attempting to down-play the ramifications of these events.
Look at the discursive space that has opened up; its parameters, taboos and speculations - not just in mainstream media but in alternative media also. I find myself wondering how much to discuss with regards to these events; my intuitions and suspicions. I feel that other intuitives and creatives must be experiencing a similar thing right now.
Much of the world was watching the events that are still unfolding in the "blessed island" nuclear plant. There is a creative potency in the psychic air now, though edged with fear and uncertainty - but those are often the most fertile circumstances for creating art. And our conscious perception is definitely a form of art.
Will this art slowly darken and lose its truth-telling quality as the world gets ever more frightening, or will it expand and liberate us somehow? Where will this art of perception take us in the coming weeks, months and years?
Countless scores of people are dead and dying, made homeless, psychologically and socially shattered. They are quickly losing faith in their governments to give them accurate data - and the 'relief' operations, while much needed, could be considered purely cosmetic.
Food and water shortages, the threat of contamination and disease not just from radiation but also from sewage and chemical taints, and the prospect of decay from the thousands of bodies yet to be recovered - all of this converging at once, and its scope and ramifications, is surely unprecedented.
This is a huge humanitarian crisis, but I'm sure the sci-fi resonances are not lost on anybody here.
Do I agree with certain voices out there who suggest that a cover-up is already underway? Absolutely. The nuclear industry is a vast business, and like most billion-dollar industries, mercy is often hard to come by. All that matters are bottom lines - EVERYTHING else is perception management, spin and plausible deniability.
To assume that your governments and transnational corporations are lying to you is the most prudent, intelligent stance to take in these matters. I would suggest that the line between paranoia and critical-thinking is a subjective one. NONE of us are as well-informed as we think we are.
Instead of smugly amusing ourselves with the shrill tones of all the 'alarmists' and 'kooks' out there who suggest the sky is falling, we should look at a fact that is often hard to stomach, especially in times of such tragedy. The fact that human life matters VERY little to the oligarchs and sociopaths that run our worlds and allocate our resources. This should be of serious concern to all of us, especially now.
Let me spell it out for people. The data in regards to all this is supposed to be QUANTITATIVE, not qualitative. But instead we have emotive rhetoric, half-truths, and incredible logistical double-speak from official sources. This is indicative of a body of data that is qualitative and spun all to hell.
This event should throw into relief our own critical-thinking processes, and the blind-spots and inaccuracies therein. Truth be told, we know very little except that this event will continue to have profound import in the times ahead.