chapter  5
TMI: The Media Story That Will Not Die
WithSharon M. Friedman
Pages 21

Media coverage of Three Mile Island (TMI) not only has been extensive, but that coverage has been extensively studied. Because there was so much confusion during the 1979 TMI accident, many people charged that lies, coverups, and media sensationalism abounded. Task force members studied numerous topics including past media coverage of nuclear accidents, how well reporters and information sources functioned during the accident, and information flows for specific accident events. Met Ed and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were the prime information sources for the media about what was happening during the accident, but they provided very little useful information during the first few days. Pennsylvania's governor was getting confusing reports from the NRC about the danger and whether to evacuate the populace. The possibility of a meltdown was the only directly accident-related item about which the media were more alarming than reassuring, and this was based on alarming information from the NRC.