Please, Media, That Was No Quake

The only real damage was to one columnist's workday
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2008 7:23 PM CDT
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger points to a map of Los Angeles as he discusses the state's response to an earthquake that day, July 29, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The brouhaha over the California earthquake this week was generated as much by media as trembling ground, Joel Stein writes in the Los Angeles Times. The quake did damage Stein's workday, however, because he had to field so many calls from worried, out-of-state loved ones who saw the overhyped coverage on CNN. "Here's a good rule for my family," he writes: "If the news channel is telling you about a disaster, but it is broadcasting footage of a bright, sunny day, then I'm fine."

Stein also blasts the AP, which reported that people were "running into the streets." Stein only saw people walking outside, using the earthquake as an excuse to take a break from work and grab a coffee. He also slams the Richter scale, "perhaps the worst form of measurement since horsepower." It measured the temblor at 5.4, pretty close to the 6.7 Northridge quake that cost $40 billion in 1994. Yet this week's shakeup was only 1% as powerful.