Three Mile Island = Hiroshima? Rhetorical Overkill

Everybody’s mad. Everybody’s seething. Everybody pictures himself a battler on the barricades of freedom. And so the rhetorical pedal gets pushed to the metal. Nobody’s just wrong or misinformed. Those against you are 1,000% wrong–no, they are evil. If you want media attention for your cause, you’ve got to go for the hyperbolic kill shot.

Example from NPR story on the 25th  anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor incident:

Eric Epstein is the chairman of TMI Alert, a nonprofit group that monitors Three Mile Island and other nuclear plants.

“When they say [they have] the best safety record, it’s compared to what?” Epstein says. “Yeah, they didn’t melt the core. That’s like telling a survivor of Dresden, ‘Not so bad, it could have been Hiroshima.'”

 In the firebombing of Dresden, Germany in World War II, estimates of the dead range between 35,000 and 300,000.

At Hiroshima, an estimated 100,000-140,000 people died from the immediate blast and the aftereffects.

At Three Mile Island, about 135,000 people voluntarily evacuated the area. Nobody was killed or injured.

 As Ross Perot used  to say, “If facts matter. . . “

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