By and large, what we've witnessed in the media is the same phenomenon we see in any discussion of uncommon risks, most notably post-11/9 terrorism. In _Beyond Fear_, Bruce Schneier makes some points about thinking sensibly about security in an uncertain world that are equally applicable to the Fukushima situation:
* People exaggerate spectacular but rare risks and downplay common risks.
* People have trouble estimating risks for anything not exactly like their normal situation.
* Personified risks are perceived to be greater than anonymous risks.
* People underestimate risks they willingly take and overestimate risks in situations they can't control.
* People overestimate risks that are being talked about and remain an object of public scrutiny.
Unfortunately for everyone, most of the media takes advantage of this skewed perception of risk to grab attention for themselves.