Thanks for the story about my documentary film Nuclear Savage, and the ongoing suppression of the US broadcast of the film by PBS for more than two years now. There was a serious misquote of the film in your story, and it also left out a couple of important facts that are necessary to understand the nature of PBS’ suppression. [Please see SFR’s correction below] Regarding PBS’ claims that the film is “biased,” and has questionable “facts,” it is important for readers to know that PBS already completely re-edited the show with their own PBS editor, and that PBS ‘World Channel’ executives accepted, scheduled and advertised the show nationally, only to reverse their decision and cancel the show at the last minute. The show was originally accepted and then later rejected by two different branches of PBS on three different occasions.
PBS executives promised to deliver to me a list of the precise points in the film that they felt represented “bias,” or questions of “fact,” and I promised to work with them to fix any problems. But PBS has still never delivered any specifics whatsoever of their complaints about the film. PBS’ Leanne Ferrer states in the story that one example of an “unsubstantiated fact” in the film is “Horowitz’ claim that the Marshall Islands are one of the most radiated spots in the world,” and that this claim is not “backed up in subsequent scenes.” In point of fact, and what should be basic common sense, is that when you blow up 67 atmospheric nuclear bombs, you radiate an area, indeed, beyond anything seen almost anywhere on the planet. The 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll was a single explosion bigger than 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. The only other places on Earth that have seen this kind of nuclear irradiation might be the Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, the nuclear bomb test site on Moruroa in French Polynesia, or the Nevada nuclear test site in the US.
And this is the kind of question that PBS has about the film, although at this point this is the ONLY precise criticism that I have heard about the film from PBS, and only because I read it in SFR.
The film has been widely vetted, and even acclaimed, you could say, making PBS’s claims of “bias” and “questionable facts,” hold a lot less water. Even if I am, as PBS’ Ferrer points out, “not a Pacific Islander.” Yes, that’s one “problem” with the film that I cannot fix.
ADAM HOROWITZ SANTA FE, NM
WRITING CONTEST, NOV. 27:
“MAY 1970: THE BUST AT THE SUB”
I was a part-time public speaking instructor. Students had planned a sit-in at Kirtland, knowing they would be arrested. I was walking west on Central and saw the National Guard marching east wearing helmets and riot shields. A lone student yelled at me, “Where are you going?” “I’m just going to check on my students.” “They don’t know that,” he said, so I woke up and went onto the campus where President Heady had forbidden them access.
Soon, they fired tear gas from the street. I drove my car around, picking up students who’d been tear-gassed and helping them wash their eyes. They all refused to let me drive them to safety. was proud of them for not trashing the Sub, as had happened on many campuses.
Later, I attended a massive faculty meeting to discuss their request to delay finals. There was noisy pounding on the locked door by students wanting to get in. Instantly, the faculty stampeded for the exits. When the students came in, only about 30 of us were still there.
All they wanted was to peacefully present their petition in person. I wondered, “Why are these professors so afraid of their own students?”
ELEANOR STEWART ALBUQUERQUE, NM
COVER STORY, NOV. 13:
Perhaps shrugging off these events as some indication of a “wild frontier” heritage is quaint to some folks, but leaves it me wondering: Why aren’t these thugs being prosecuted for dealing drugs? Why are they still armed? Why aren’t these businesses and about 20 like them being investigated for their “bait and switch” misrepresentation of “Indian” jewelry? Why do Indians do business with them? How will Santa Fe continue to be a credible shopping and tourism destination when it’s loaded with fake Indian knock-offs? What’s so “chic” about Heavenly Boutique? OK, forget that one.
Staff writer Joey Peters misquoted Tony DeBrum [Nov. 27, Savage Cut], who explains in the film Nuclear Savage that test explosions on the Marshall Islands were equivalent to 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years. The story erroneously included the word “million.”
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