Sunday, October 15, 2006

A P.S. -- Earthquake in Hawaii

A 6.5 earthquake is nothing to sneeze at, but in this era of 24 hr a day news coverage, I have had many laughs today watching MSNBC trying to fill the hours before actual video of the situation on the Big Island is available. They are trying so hard to find something catastrophic to report. So far we've learned that.

* There are road closures.
* There is no major damage to the hospital
* There were landslides
* TVs were knocked over

Hoping for sensational material, they interviewed someone from the hospital, continually asking her about people whose life had been put in danger, but only found out that all but one patient was removed to the Sheraton Hotel, where there is apparently power.

An artist gave a plug for her paintings and talked about how one painting fell off the wall and "almost" hit them on the head. The news concentrated on the dog, who was under the painting, uninjured.

Finally film came from a geologist, who said that there was ...uh... shaking that was ... uh ... strong enough to topple chimneys (if there are chimneys in Hawaii, he added). Turned out he was being interviewed in Los Angeles and was just speculating. But it filled a few minutes.

Someone was questioned about why there was so much damage in Northridge, and so little in this earthquake, when magnitudes were similar. The reporter was told that Northridge was a more densely populated area and the topography was different. Duhhh.

All the while they were showing pictures of Waikiki beach filled with sunbathers, which they then point out is archival footage.

"We're talking to the mayor who is going to tell us about the chaos on Maui earlier. I understand there was kind of a chaotic situation."

"Well, there wasn't really any chaos," said the mayor.

"Are you going to be helping your neighbors with all the debris?" the reporter asked another person, hopefully.

"Well, there's not a lot of debris," the subject replied.

"I hear the police are out in force," the reporter pressed on. "How many police officers, would you estimate?"

"Oh--I don't think we have more the 10 on the whole island," she was told.

Finally came video footage of what looked like a normal street on a normal day, except that there was one ambulance.

"As you can see, there are ambulances on the street," said the reporter.

A man was stopped at a gas station, and gave a plug for a food and products show.

I sincerely hope everyone in Hawaii is all right, but I have to admit that my main sympathies are to the poor reporters who (a) can't pronounce the names of a lot of Hawaiian towns, and (b) have to try to make something out of what sounds like really nothing!


Anonymous said...

Live from Hawaii Civil Defense information.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I found you easily. Not quite as pretty here, but otherwise it seems fine.

Unknown said...

I meant to e-mail you, your husband has family in Hawaii, doesn't he? I hope everyone is OK. Our in-laws in Oahu are fine but it sure took a while to get through the phone lines.