Earthquake coverage

Filed Under (Reporting techniques) by on 28-02-2010 and tagged ,

I was in Rio de Janeiro this weekend so I only got bits and pieces of the news from Chile.

Sunday morning (2/28) we were watching CNN and I so wanted to throw something heavy and large at the TV screen.

And I’ll skip right past the grammar issue. (I don’t know how many times I heard the the pair of anchors say “more better” during their constant chatter.)

During one segment the two anchors were looking at e-mail and Twitter questions and comments about the earthquake. (And I really can’t remember the names of those two. Must be some sort of defense mechanism.)

The complete lack of understanding about plate tectonics and global warming came through in these questions. There were a lot of questions if global warming was causing this rash of earthquakes.


The anchors dismissed the questions by just saying no.

With just two seconds of work by an intern they could have added information that dozens of earthquakes happen every day. Some are just stronger than others. They could have learned that this latest earthquake in Chile is most likely the aftermath of the 9.5 earthquake in 1960. And they could have explained that plate tectonics has nothing to do with global warming.

Then a question — logical if a person never looked at a map — about any link between the Haiti earthquake and the Chile earthquake.

Within minutes of the Chilean quake seismic experts were saying the two are not related. Different plates and different types of quakes.

The male CNN anchor reported that information.


The clown added something along the lines of “But I don’t know. I see a big earthquake in Haiti and then another one soon after in Chile and I have to think they are related.”

Why did he do that? The experts said their is not connection.

This is the same crap and mentality of the anti-vaccine crowd and the Know Nothings who claim global warming is a myth because of all the snow in the mid-Atlantic region.

Unless there is some real controversy about the scientific conclusions, reporters need to butt out of the discussion.

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