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fine example of horrendous "journalism"
Old 03-19-2011, 01:21 AM   #1
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fine example of horrendous "journalism"

Google News the other day linked to this Newsweek article:

The Scariest Earthquake Is Yet to Come - Newsweek

which from the headline already seemed alarmist. I got more and more incensed as each new paragraph mixed unfounded conjectures (sometimes flat-out wrong ones) with emotionally charged language, seemingly aimed at inciting panic in the reader. For instance in the second paragraph: "all geological events are sudden, and all are unexpected if not necessarily entirely unanticipated."
His conclusion: because "there is little doubt" that quakes tend to occur in clusters, the US west coast should be very nervous due to the recent quakes around the Pacific rim. No references are cited for any of his assertions.

I ranted about the article to some friends and then calmed down. Until today, when another alarmist headline on google caught my eye:

Japan's quake: Why California is next - The Week

It's just a summary of the Newsweek article! What a great example of how bad journalism begets more bad journalism.

It's not clear to me whether the original article was meant to be an opinion piece, but that hardly clears the author from spouting unsupported conjectures on topics aimed to panic people. I'm so annoyed at how common this has become.

Ok, rant over.

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Old 03-19-2011, 02:39 AM   #2
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Oh, they've been saying earthquakes and volcanoes have been overdue since I was in school, and probably long before. I wish I could get paid for writing something that's been repeated for decades. Then, like this article, I can just generalize and give a lot of vague information and collect my dues.

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Old 03-19-2011, 08:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by RetiredGypsy View Post
I wish I could get paid for writing something that's been repeated for decades. Then, like this article, I can just generalize and give a lot of vague information and collect my dues.
And, if an earthquake DOES hit (entirely by chance) you can parlay the article into lots of money. Talk shows, a book, your own "Today's Nostradamas!" web site--you're set for life. All one has to do is squeeze out one of these predictions every week and eventually one will pay off. Mix in some long-term and short-term predictions--sorta like laddered CDs--so you'll always have something in the payoff zone.

"Dow 36,000!"
"Inflation to 20% by 2015!"
"Arctic Ice Gone by 2020"
"Gold, GOLD, GOLD will skyrocket!"
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
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