Why Isn’t the US Media Covering Andrea Rossi and the E-Cat?

A recent article by Anne Landman providing a thorough description and analysis of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat has an interesting conclusion.

“Most of the news about the E-Cat has been reported in blogs operated by people and organizations interested in energy issues, and in the general press and media in Italy, Sweden, Greece and throughout Europe. By contrast, the Energy Catalyzer has received virtually no coverage in the U.S. mainstream media. The American media seems either unwilling or unable to grasp the significance of the Energy Catalyzer, or is omitting discussion of it for other reasons. The absence of news about the Energy Catalyzer, we could postulate, might be because it poses a threat to powerful American corporations that both control big media outlets and are vested in the energy production status quo. (Think General Electric, which both owns NBC and manufactures traditional nuclear fission reactors.) There would also appear to be motive enough to continue this news block as climate change pushes more policymakers to reconsider the more dangerous traditional nuclear power, and as corporations that benefit from recent huge price hikes in fossil fuels continue to rake in fabulous wealth with no end in sight.”

There has been very little coverage of the E-Cat in the US — and I would add in all the English language media. Landman’s theory about why this media silence is interesting, but I think there are other factors that could be in play.

There seems to be a fairly tight relationship between mainstream science and many mainstream media outlets. When major science stories are covered, the media will often call upon prominent people in the scientific community to comment or even author pieces. We live in a time when the prevailing scientific opinion carries a huge amount of weight, and those who publish conclusions that go contrary to this prevailing opinion often find themselves shamed for doing so.

The accepted wisdom is that cold fusion has been discredited, Mr. Rossi’s invention is one that according to most prominent scientists should be impossible.  It’s likely that media organizations don’t want to go out on a limb in taking something so suspect so seriously

The media was burned badly when it paid so much attention to the Pons and Fleischmann announcement in 1989. That event turned out to be a flop, and there was doubtless a lot of embarrassment for the media that followed.

The interesting thing in all this is that there might a way for the media to cover the Rossi story without going out on a limb. They could cover it as an interesting example of deluded scientists chasing the cold fusion dream. But I suppose there is a danger in that — they might find it hard to pick holes in the fairly rigorous way that Rossi and Focardi have presented their technology. In other words, they might find themselves in a position that they could become convinced.

Whatever the situation, the silence cannot go on forever if Rossi has discovered a new source of cheap and plentiful energy. Something this valuable will not be able to be ignored, and the emergence of this technology could turn out to be an important educational moment for both the mainstream media and mainstream science — sometimes the “impossible” happens.