Excerpt from Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The 'Report on Accuracy and The Associated Press' contained an April 7, 1979, story from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The story about the Three Mile Island nuclear accident was headlined: "Mishap Reporting Criticized." Here's an excerpt from the story marked in the UPI report:


"The most serious episode of misinformation occurred Saturday at a time when there was serious concern that the nuclear reactor might indeed become a runaway and melt down. An Associated Press reporter in Washington, who knew of the hypothetical plan formulated Friday for cooling down te reactor, asked a source if the countryside should be evacuated before attempts were made to remove the hydrogen bubble; the source speculated that the troublesome bubble in the nuclear reactor might become unstable over time.

"The Washington source did not know that the initial dangerous plan for stabilizing the reactor had been abandoned by NRC experts on the scene. They also did not know that the latest readings disclosed there was not enough oxygen in the reactor for the hydrogen to burn, whether it was stable or not.

But because of the reputation and general credibility of The Associated Press, after the story was moved on its national wires, many organizations chose to banner the wire story -- even when reporters at the scene said the Washington reports were erroneous."