Filling in for Martin Bashir on his eponymous program on Thursday, MSNBC's Richard Lui treated viewers to an alarmist environmentalist's take on news of trace amounts of radioactive iodine being detected in milk from cows in two West Coast states. It's believed the radiation is linked to the failed Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.
After noting that the Environmental Protection Agency has said the levels are "far below an amount that would be considered dangerous," Lui introduced Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth (FOE), asking him "What do you think of what we're hearing right now with milk being affected?"
The FOE climate and energy project director jumped straight in with his talking points:
Well, I think, I think it is scary. I think it indicates that we're really facing a global disaster here. I think the bottom line is that this radioactive contamination should not be in the milk and this is coming from an industry that promised everything was safe. And it's clearly not safe and it's not clean.
So what are Moglen's credentials for asserting this? Surely he's a medical doctor or physiologist, perhaps with specializing in radiation poisoning.
Nope. According to FOE's website he's a professional political activist:
Damon leads Friends of the Earth’s Climate and Energy team. He came to FOE from Greenpeace USA where he was their Global Warming Campaign Director. Damon started his work on environmental issues with FOE in DC in 1984—since then he has worked on climate, energy and nuclear issues for nearly twenty years with Greenpeace, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has also worked for the ACLU as a Field Director and for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as their International Advocacy Director. He has extensive experience directing campaigns at local, national and international levels. Damon is married to an environmental engineer at the Inter-American Development Bank, has two sons, and lives in Takoma Park.
Even so, Lui's next questions to Moglen were:
But why are we seeing the effect of milk specifically, here? Are there other products at risk?
Moglen answered that the government was "not doing a good enough job at doing monitoring and providing information."
At no point did Lui bring on a guest who disagreed with Moglen's alarm-clanging assertions, nor did Lui note that FOE opposes nuclear energy altogether, not to mention virtually any other energy source outside of wind, solar, and geothermal.