Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Obama and the Earthquake

I hate to be insensitive, but I don't really give a shit about the earthquake. I'm from California and earthquakes aren't exactly rare (I can still remember having earthquake drills in elementary school). No one was hurt and there was no major structural damage. Basically there were just a bunch of surprised people who live in the post 9/11 atmosphere of paranoia and assumed they were being bombed. Just to put this in perspective, the earthquake that struck Haiti was a magnitude 7.0. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, "Each point in the magnitude scale represents a 30-fold increase in energy. So the Haiti quake was more than 30 times more powerful than Tuesday's quake."

Megyn Kelly's Sensationalism vs Shep Smith's Realism:

The most amusing part of this story though is the criticism towards Obama.

From the Washington Post:
Turned out it was a natural disaster, not the economy, which pierced his vacation bubble. But now we have a photo that shows him trying to balance work and play during the 5.8 magnitude quake — and, not surprisingly, it has stirred up some snark.

“Obama is still playing golf. Not even an act of God can stop him from getting at least 9 holes in today,” Washington Times opinion page editor Emily Miller wrote on Twitter.

“Obama safe on the golf course during earthquake, but gets briefed later anyway,” Los Angeles Times Top of the Ticket columnist Andrew Malcolm posted on his Twitter account.

Not to be outdone, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter of the current president of the United States: “WH says potus didn’t feel today’s earthquake. No worries. Another is scheduled for November 2012.”

...By 2:50 p.m., the White House felt compelled to issue a statement, saying Obama has led a conference call with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and other geological and nuclear regulatory advisers.

“The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance,” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, who is with the president in Martha’s Vineyard, told reporters. “The president asked for regular updates on the situation.”
As some random person on youtube said, "So? Was he supposed to put on tights and a cape, fly down and stop the continental plates from moving?" God forbid a plate fall off the counter. What do these people want Obama to do? The fact people would rather have the illusion of President Obama doing something in the White House rather than actually reacting appropriately is ridiculous.


  1. haha this sums up my point pretty nicely:

  2. Although I would agree that the coverage was overblown, the reaction ridiculously bloody dramatic, and the criticism of Obama bullcrap, I don't think it's fair to compare this to an earthquake in California. There is no training in schools around here for dealing with an earthquake...they don't happen. Have there been worse earthquakes elsewhere? Of course. I've been through a fair number myself. I've been through tornadoes, hurricanes, and more. It can make me pretty insensitive to others who are experiencing something ground-shaking (quite literally) for the very first time, so I have to try to remind myself: When you don't have that experience, no idea what you're supposed to do, and the ground just sits there and shakes under you for 30-45 seconds and you don't know what's going on? I think it's more than fair to feel a bit shocked, overwhelmed, and even a bit panicky.


  3. I'm not saying people can't react however they want and just because earthquakes are more common in CA doesn't mean they aren't surprising (being woken up to the sound of all your windows shaking is jarring to anyone). Plus, I would never say that just because worse earthquakes happen this one should be ignored. I mentioned Haiti for the perspective, which a lot of people seem to need in this situation seeing how people freaked out over nothing. There's a difference between the two. And while I totally get what you're saying, and even agree, I get shocked and overwhelmed all the time but the media doesn't make a national news story out of it. That's where my annoyance stems from. The fact this story shows the basic failure of the 24 hour news cycle. When you have to be reporting news all the time then everything becomes news. This leads to over sensationalism and unnecessary panic (as the video of Megyn Kelly perfectly highlights).

    So yeah, there was an earthquake and some people got freaked out. The end. I'm not trying to minimize anyone's experience, but I refuse to see this as a bigger deal than it is. It's merely surprising. That's all.

    And I swear I'm not trying to be short with you. It just drives me bonkers how the media reacts to things. And this is about the media. Not anyone who felt scared or uncertain.

  4. Actually, I appreciate your response. I was kind of surprised by this post, but now I know I was just getting the wrong message. ^.^ The coverage was absolutely ridiculous. There was one station with a reporter talking with a panicked daycare provider from a church in the area that practically asked for a report on each individual kid. *Shakes head* I think the first program I came across (small local network) handled it best. It was a meteorologist who literally shrugged on camera and said, "No. You're not crazy. The ground really did give a jiggle."

    Apologies if I came across as being pissy before. I swear it was a totally conversational tone in my head. >.<


  5. You didn't sound pissy at all! haha Tone is such a pain on the internet, but I get what you were saying. It sounded like I was playing a version of the oppression Olympics or something, but that's not what I was going for. I could have probably been more clear on that so no worries. :)

  6. Oh and "ground jiggle" sounds much more fun than "earthquake."

  7. I came home from college, turned on the news and wondered why the hell there was emergency coverage of a fairly minor earthquake. Yes, tell me that an earthquake occurred in an unusual part of the country and report death/injury/damage tolls but interviewing every person who ran out of their office building freaking out was a bit much. Then to freak out because the president didn't hold a press conference and send in FEMA was pushing it way over the top.

  8. Move to England we don't have Natural Disasters off any kind worthy of any mention. Only self inflicted ones.

    It didnt seem to me to be a massive earthquake that destroyed much, worse things have happened and Presidents have stayed away! Its just typical media crap... I'm getting pretty tired of the media making and issue out of everything and getting peoples backs up for no real reason other than they can!

  9. Both of you hit the nail right on the head. Craziness.

    Also, I'd be happy to move to England. :)


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