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Bill O'Reilly Unconvinced: Ann Coulter Says Excess Radiation Good For You

Norman Byrd's picture

Ann Coulter has written that excess radiation might actually be beneficial to humans and act as a cancer preventive. She also argues that such theories aren't sensationalist enough for the media to report. But Fox News' Bill O'Reilly notes that sometimes worst cast scenarios, like the reports coming out of Japan, are responsible journalism.

Controversial conservative author and Fox News contributor Ann Coulter is of the opinion that higher levels of radiation than those stated by government regulations as safe could actually be beneficial to good health. She maintains that mainstream media keeps Americans in a state of hysteria, especially during the aftermath of disasters such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that have led to worries over the destabilization and possible meltdown of several Japanese nuclear power reactors, over even the slightest amounts of radiation, even though there is ample evidence that higher amounts of radiation are not only good for the individual but might also work as a preventive to certain cancers.

Writing for the Human Events website, Coulter argued in "A Glowing Report On Radiation" that "at some level--much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government--radiation is good for you." She then cites several examples of studies, including one referred to in the New York Times and another conducted by the Department of Energy (both entities that Ann Coulter fans will attest she has no problem attacking), where those exposed to purportedly unsafe levels of radiation actually showed an inverse number of cancer cases in comparison to the general population. Using the Chernobyl meltdown as a case of radiation exposure misrepresentation, she suggests that there has been no study that has conclusively pinpointed radiation from the nuclear plant as responsible for the thousands of deaths of those who died later from various cancers. After presenting her case, she then notes that studies such as those trumpeting the benefits of increased radiation are given little or no media time, while the dangers of radiation, even the smallest amounts, dominate the media.

She writes that "good radiation stories are not as exciting as news anchors warning of mutant humans and scary nuclear power plants" while pointing out that the same anchors delivering the news often inject themselves with toxins to look younger. In fact, she adds, people put poisons -- like multi-vitamins, caffeine, and flu shots -- into their systems on a daily basis with seemingly non-disastrous or life-threatening effects.

Coulter concludes that with all the evidence that higher doses of radiation might be beneficial (she does admit that was "hardly a fact that excess radiation is a health benefit"), those exposed to radiation in Japan might "outlive all of us over here in hermetically sealed, radiation-free America."

After her story caused a bit of a stir on the Internet and in the media, Coulter appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor." After giving her a chance to restate her argument, host Bill O'Reilly joked, "So by your account we should all be heading for the nuclear reactor. Kind of sunbathing out there..." But O'Reilly had grown skeptical, adding, "Come on..."

But Ann Coulter, never one to back down from a debate, offered another example of the benefits of higher doses of radiation. She said that a group of scientists wrapped up their conference on "hormesis," the beneficial effects of radiation, by adjourning to a mine/spa in Boulder, Montana, where they were irradiated by massive amounts of radiation.

O'Reilly then attempts to add a touch of prudence to Coulter's argument, stating that the audience should use caution with regard to radiation levels, because all the information presented was still theoretical.

"The point is," Coulter pressed, "the media will not report this." She says it just isn't sensationalist enough.

Bill O'Reilly, agreeing that the media probably wouldn't cover the story (oddly denying the actuality of his #1 news show as media covering the story), opts for responsibility, however, and suggests it should not be a "hard news" item. Coulter disagrees, stating she thinks O'Reilly should have some of the scientists on the show as guests.

"You have to be responsible in a sense that the prevailing wisdom is that there is a level of radiation that is going to hurt you and perhaps kill you. All you have to do is look at what happened here in New York City on 9/11. The people exposed just to the debris coming from the collapsed towers are having a myriad of health problems. Alright? Health problems all day long. And there's a variety of them. So you have to err on the side of caution. What you say may be true. There may be some doses of radiation in the human body that can ward off infection, but in something like this, you have to get the folks out of there. You have to report worst case scenario. You have to."

Coulter says what O'Reilly had just said was not true. She maintains that the media reports that the "tiniest drop of radiation is dangerous and that is absolutely not true." She bolsters her argument by adding that scientists are contending that the factors of death surrounding incidents of high radiation exposure are of correlation and not causative.

It is unknown if Ann Coulter, in order to test her observations, has booked a flight to Japan to be nearer the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that has been emitting unsafe levels of radiation (according to government standards) since becoming unstable after the 9.0 earthquake and the subsequent massive tsunami struck Japan on March 11.

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