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What Alec Baldwin Doesn't Want You to Know About Joe Mangano

Now that we're in the first few days of the period of extended operations for Indian Point Unit 2, local anti-nuclear activists are doing their best to turn up the heat. After a smattering of events last week, they've decided to haul out one of the big guns in the form of actor and periodic anti-nuclear activist Alec Baldwin.

On Friday night, Baldwin, who is scheduled to begin hosting a Friday night talk show on MSNBC later this month, will take part in a panel discussion about Indian Point at Rockland Community College -- an event that will double as a fundraiser for the Radiation and Public Health Project, an organization run by Joseph Mangano.

Readers of NEI Nuclear Notes will probably recognize that name. Mangano continually attempts to draw a straight line between nuclear power plant emissions and negative health impacts. Mangano makes these claims despite the fact that nuclear power plants only account for .1% of the radiation that a typical American is exposed to over the course of a year. Meanwhile, exposures from life saving medical procedures like CT scans and X-Rays account for about 50%.

We first wrote about Mangano and the junk science he peddles all the way back in 2005. Just in case Baldwin isn't familiar with Mangano's spotty track record when it comes to the truth, here's a refresher -- Mangano's allegations of health effects associated with emissions from nuclear power plants have been reviewed in detail and repeatedly discredited by at least 8 state and 2 county public health departments, as well as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as follows:
  • State of Connecticut; State of Florida; State of Illinois; State of New Jersey; State of New York; State of Pennsylvania; State of Minnesota; State of Michigan; Westchester County, NY and Suffolk County, NY.
NEI is not aware of any federal, state, or local government public health departments that have reviewed Mr. Mangano's allegations and found them to be credible. The good news is that not every journalist gives Mangano's claims a free pass. Here's Michael Moyer of Scientific American on another Mangano study:
[A] check reveals that the authors’ statistical claims are critically flawed—if not deliberate mistruths.

[...]

Only by explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering.

This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous, nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
Reporting on Mangano's claims has come under intense scrutiny by Reporting on Health, a project of the USC-Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. A former editor there, Barbara Ostrov, warned journalists to "proceed with caution," when reporting Mangano's claims, as they normally appear in obscure medical journals. Earlier this year, the site's William Heisel warned reporters to "resist the siren song of the fear monger," and "demand details," from activists like Mangano.

If you happen to attend the session, we too ask that you "demand details," from Baldwin when it comes to any outlandish claims Mangano and his confederates make about Indian Point and its impact on the environment. If Baldwin's track record is any indication, he doesn't like being asked hard questions.

Comments

jimwg said…
Re: "The good news is that not every journalist gives Mangano's claims a free pass."

But this isn't good enough. Reps from Northeast pro-nuclear orgs and nuclear community denizens (nuclear-related engineering schools, medical facilitates, labs, manufacturing, unions, etc) ought be packing that audience when Alec & antis in tow come for a fear bake. Such groups need a heck of lot more communication with another to coordinate to confront and correct and crush purveyors of FUD.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Tom Clegg said…
When we criticize our selves we only add fuel to the to the anti-nuke cause. Remember those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I mean Fukushima when you stand there and criticize them and say that can never happen here we still have to defend what happens here. No it may not be a earthquake or a tsunami but the next accident in the USA no matter how small the anti- nukes will go back to Fukushima. Don’t say it won’t happen! I am out on the streets fighting for nuclear power and I have to fight against Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island. With that being said when we fight the anti-nukes we are fighting them we are also fighting Pete Seeger, Billy Joel,Bruce Springsteen,James Taylor,Carly Simon, Alec Baldwin. My point is when people in the nuclear industry buy their products they are supporting the anti -nuke people. Now that they are closing Vermont Yankee how many people who work at VY wish they never ate Ben And Jerry’s ice cream. They signed a partition to close VY. Also how many people still do eat that ice cream. Also how many people in the nuclear industry that are not at VY are indifferent and say that is VY that’s not me or my plant. This is what is closing plants. Now with this being said, This FRI. at Rockland Community Collage, Alec Baldwin is going to be there for a fund raiser for Joe Mangano(The tooth fairy project )What really gets to me is this. Now Alec Baldwin is a big star on 30 Rock. 30 Rock is on NBC. NBC is owned by GE, The same GE that makes BWR power plants, and supplies them with fuel and other things. So how come GE doesn’t pull the plug on this BUM.
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