I'm all for
...impartiality in the international investigation when the dust clears.
But while the struggle is still ongoing, I'm actually for reports that are truthful (as perceived) or even a bit on the sunny side. Panic is a legitimate concern, and there's little else pessimistic information would do anyway.
Right now, all else being even, in general foreign experts are considered reliable, while Japanese experts are considered to have conflicts of interest. While I won't deny the Japanese have conflicts, the foreign experts are working on extremely little information (a fact they blame the Japanese for, but nevertheless leaves them poorly qualified to comment), and worst of all, have no responsibility and yet a conflict of interest.
To be blunt, they can hardly lose by making the most pessimistic assessments that are even marginally supported by the facts at hand.
If things don't go to their worst-case, they won't get castigated. They will just mumble "Well, we were lucky" or "Good work, Japanese". Given our mentality, the world will forgive them for "conservative, worst case thinking". Any panics their irresponsible, ill-substantiated statements cause will be blamed on the Japanese nuclear authorities for "not being open enough". No skin off their backs.
(And no, giving them more information is not the answer, because now they'll use the increased information to make worse case assessments now given the aura of being more substantiated by more info).
It is only if they try to be more optimistic, and things go bad could they get castigated for "underestimating the situation", not using 'proper', worst-case thinking. Blah.
The media, not even being experts, have even less responsibility and are even more inclined to go worst case for the same reasons, plus of course that the worst case has better news value.
It is only those that are actually in it that are pressed under conflicting, instead of one-way forces. In such an environment, to be one of the minority that tries to impose a calmer interpretation on what's going on is an act of bravery that deserves only praise. Even if Fukushima goes Chernobyl tomorrow, I stand by my statement.
I don't always agree with Lewis, but nice series, man!