Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dumb Headline

Strong 5.3 quake rumbles off Oregon coast

Okay, short item, the kind of thing I appreciate knowing about, even though this happens all the time. Two comments, though: first, 5.3 is not a strong earthquake. Had it happened onshore in a populated area there might have been minor damage- it would have startled people, and if someone had been in the wrong place, there could have even been some fatal accidents. (see, for example, two fatalities from a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Klamath Falls in 1993: one from a tumbling boulder hitting a car, the other from a heart attack). But second, and more to the point, a "strong" 5.3 earthquake as opposed to what? A weak 5.3 earthquake?

One more example of an editor trying to add a little punch to a headline, and damaging the value of the story. Minor, sure, but this is the sort of stupid mistake that makes many people question the credibility of media to get anything right, and unfortunately, leads many people to disregard news entirely, instead relying on "impartial" commentators like Beck, Limbaugh, Stewart and Olberman.

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