Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hot Off the Presses: Editorial Feedback on Loan Guarantees

41I5CKeEvTL._SS400_ How has the editorial response to President Barack Obama’s announcement of loan guarantees been? Good – really good.

Now, let’s acknowledge just for fun that the ink stained wretches of the fourth estate – now byte stained wretches too – remain far more relevant to policy discussion than falling circulation and industry crisis might lead one to believe. While all the enthusiasm may point online, the kind and quality of attention given a subject by the general public – not to mention the news agenda for a given period – is still controlled primarily by print media and its online outlets.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing, or a terribly retrograde thing, we can’t begin to judge – but when opinion begins to form around an issue, your old-fashioned purveyor of comic strips and advice columns provides a powerful voice – and can make or break developing policy of all kinds. Take it seriously or risk missing a key component in how the country understands issues.

So, that out of the way, here’s The Denver Post:

We're heartened to see the Obama administration pledge $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to back construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia. It is a solid first step. The administration says this will be the first in a slew of commitments to future nuclear projects, which is even better news.

Do read the whole thing – if you’re a nuclear energy advocate, you’ll find it spectacularly warming.

Granted, the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer serves a pretty small market, but we were tickled by this:

The time has come to include nuclear power in a discussion of alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind and biomass. It’s also time to think about additional nuclear energy in Minnesota, in light of failed efforts to build a new clean-coal power plant.

We can only agree.

Here’s the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News:

Done right, a high-tech, safe nuclear power system should be a boon both for power users in our area as well as the many workers the industry employs here.

A lot of these editorials, you’ll note, hit the jobs issue hard – that makes sense in the current environment. The title of this one is “New nuclear power plants could mean lots of new business for area.” We genuinely think that will happen, all over.

And finally, The New York Times:

President Obama’s decision to commit $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to help build two nuclear reactors in Georgia and restart the American nuclear power industry makes good sense.

[…]

From where we sit, the risks are worth taking to get the United States back into the game, for the sake of the climate, this country’s energy future and the jobs a vibrant nuclear technology industry could create.

The title of this one: A Reasonable Bet on Nuclear Power. So Times, that.

It would be a surprise even to us if this extremely well-received move proved to be an item that helped the administration’s poll numbers. Such a result would have been unimaginable not so very long ago, but it certainly seems conceivable – if newspapers still hold some sway.

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