WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fearful that high levels of radiation from the ongoing Fukushima disaster will negatively impact the momentum of the so-called nuclear renaissance, as well as hurt the dairy and fishing industries on the west coast with reports of tainted milk and seafood, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as well as several state and federal fishing agencies, have launched a grassroots public relations campaign to counteract fears that not only is nuclear energy an unsafe alternative to fossil fuels, but that its by-products are making the food unhealthy to eat.
Inspired by the successful got milk? campaign created for the California Milk Processors Board (CMPB) in the early nineties, the group has licensed the original logo and launched a similar sounding got nuke? marketing offensive; it’s stated goal to allay the growing concerns of consumers over radioactive contamination.
“With blessings from both the CMPB and the advertisers who created the original got milk?, we sincerely hope that this new got nuke? campaign will be as successful for us in correcting the misperception that radiation levels are unhealthy, as it was for them in convincing the public that dairy consumption is healthy”, Marvin S. Fertel, current President and CEO of the NEI, said in a statement. Margaret A. Hamburg of the FDA concurred, adding that, “This is a potentially explosive issue for all parties involved, and we couldn’t be happier to cowtow to the atomic energy lobbyists by lending our support for such a critical endeavor.”
The advertising campaign is an unprecedented one, in that it involves so many different agencies with oftentimes conflicting political agendas. However, because of the unnatural nature of the crises, such seemingly strange bedfellows felt it was necessary to join forces to protect their common interests.
In fact, the term ‘strange bedfellows’ certainly applies when considering which media personalities have already signed on to endorse the campaign. Right-wing media pundits Ann Coulter, Eric Bolling, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh, along with former Greenpeace member Patrick Moore, Gaia Theory proponent James Lovelock, climatologist James Hansen, former Merry Prankster and environmentalist Stewart Brand, writer and political activist George Monbiot, celebrity doctor Sanjay Gupta, and President Barack Obama, have all agreed to take part. Talk about an eclectic and volatile mixture.
“It’s important that the American people realize the nuclear energy issue transcends partisan politics, and that the future of our planet depends on the public’s support for this much needed technology”, President Obama said in a press release issued today. “Though there are obvious challenges ahead with ensuring the safety and efficacy of nuclear energy, we must be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the radioactive bathwater when planning our country’s future food and energy policies”, the release continued.
Supporters of the effort cite the fact that nuclear reactor safety appeals to both global warming advocates and deniers alike, and that this may be just the thing to bridge the ecological divide between the two. Critics, of course, contend that it’s nothing more than "hot air" propaganda for multinational corporations fearful that the Fukushima disaster will destroy their respective industries.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, the got nuke? campaign appears to be here to stay. As Mr. Fertel points out, they’ve licensed the logo for, “a million years, or for as long as it takes to assuage the public’s fears of radiation, whichever comes first.”
Though it remains to be seen how successful it will be, one thing is for sure, even when factoring in the half-life of the got nuke? ads, they'll certainly be here for long, long, long time to come.