40 Hours of Television

The class is over, but the discussion continues. Does the media shape reality, or does reality shape the media? Art can imitate life...and life can imitate art. "40 Hours of TV" will explore the media and its impact on us all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Help Scott Get Something for Nothing

I'm trying to get one of those free Xbox 360s. It's actually a legitimate offer. You may have heard about people getting free Ipods. Same company. Basically you sign up for one offer (like a trial subscription to Rhapsody) and get eight referrals, and you get a free Xbox 360. So, I'm asking you, dear reader, to help me in getting my own Xbox 360 (and you can get one, too). Just click this link to get started.

Note: it looks like the easiest offer to get the free Xbox 360 is the Real Arcade trial. It's a 30-day free membership. Sign up, and cancel before the 30 days are up. That's it. Once you've done that, you just need to get eight people to sign up and do the same. Pretty easy. Thanks bunches. Now, on to a television review.

The Sierra Club's documentary series, The Sierra Club Chronicles, continues with the third episode in the series, Dioxin, Duplicity and DuPont (airing March 23 on Link TV, channel 375 on DIRECTV, and channel 9410 on the Dish Network). Did the DuPont plant in DeLisle, Mississippi contribute to people working at and living near the plant developing diseases like cancer and kidney failure, and other illnesses?

Dioxin, Duplicity and DuPont alleges that the pollution emitted from DuPont did indeed contribute to those diseases. However, the show fails to provide any compelling evidence that DuPont was indeed responsible for those diseases. It's for that reason I cannot give Dioxin, Duplicity and DuPont a full recommendation. Without any strong evidence that DuPont's pollution contributed to those illnesses, we're left with anecdotal evidence. The main charge is that the dioxins emitted by the plant have caused the illnesses in the community, with more than 2,000 people filing lawsuits against DuPont for contracting various illnesses.

We meet Myra Marsh, a former DuPont worker, who developed a condition that weakened her legs to the point that she cannot walk; and Glen Strong, an oyster fisherman, who developed cancer in 1998, allegedly due to the pollution the DuPont plant fed into St. Louis Bay. Dr. Ed Clark, a marine biologist, claims DuPont released heavy metal containments and dioxins into St. Louis Bay. Again, we hit a wall in assigning blame to DuPont: no evidence.

Not that I'm condoning any environmental impact that may have been caused by DuPont, but the show failed to provide any evidence at all to support the claim that DuPont's pollution contributed to the various diseases contracted by workers at the plant and members of the community. Did the Sierra Club conduct its own independent research into how much pollution was being pumped into St. Louis Bay? We, the viewers, do not know.

Did the Sierra Club conduct research into the levels of air pollution? Again, we, the viewers, do not know, or at least are not told. As it turns out, the Sierra Club did, in fact, conduct research (from this item in the Mississippi Press). This data should have been included in this episode, but for reasons unknown, was not. The show jumps to Glen Strong in court, suing DuPont for the cancer he developed in 1998. The jury concluded that DuPont had polluted and caused Strong's cancer, awarding him $14 million dollars.

The Sierra Club Chronicles is produced in part by Brave New Films (Outfoxed; Uncovered: The War on Iraq), who usually do a good job in their documentaries, but at least in this one case, fail to provide any compelling evidence that DuPont was responsible for the illnesses contracted in DeLisle, Mississippi. Perhaps an hour-long format would have allowed for the introduction of evidence by the Sierra Club of the plant's pollution levels. With only a half-hour, there's a limited amount of information that can be presented.


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