Fox News erases 2006 Hawaii earthquake to attack Obama

Responding to President Obama's March 17 statement that Hawaii “went through an earthquake” and could benefit from a health care reform provision that would help Louisiana cope with Medicaid shortfalls resulting from Hurricane Katrina, Steve Doocy asked, “What Hawaiian earthquake?” In fact, as Fox News reported at the time, President Bush declared a “major disaster” after Hawaii was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in October 2006.

Fox & Friends' Doocy: “What Hawaiian earthquake?”

On March 18, Fox & Friends aired Obama's statement that the health care reform provision that benefits Louisiana “also helps Hawaii, which went through an earthquake.” Co-host Steve Doocy responded:

DOOCY: Hold it. What Hawaiian earthquake? There was an earthquake in 1868 that killed 77. There was an earthquake in 1975 that killed two. ABC is reporting that apparently on page 432 of the Reid bill, there's a section describing exactly how a state would qualify. It would have to be within the last seven fiscal years. Essentially it boils down to just one state, and that is Louisiana.

Bush declared “major disaster” after 2006 earthquake hit Hawaii

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Hawaii on October 15, 2006. As Media Matters' Adam Shah noted in response to right-wing bloggers who claimed Obama was “making up” an earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey states that Hawaii suffered a magnitude 6.7 earthquake on October 15, 2006.

Bush declared “major disaster” in “the State of Hawaii.” On October 16, 2006, the White House stated:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by an earthquake that occurred on October 15, 2006, and related aftershocks.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the counties of Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui and the City of Honolulu for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

R. David Paulison, Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael L. Karl as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

The Agency said that more areas and additional forms of assistance may be designated after damage assessments are fully completed in the affected areas.


Fox & Friends reported on earthquake at the time

On the October 18, 2006, edition of Fox & Friends, correspondent Lauren Green reported:

GREEN: President Bush declares a federal disaster in Hawaii following a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, and this opens up the door to more federal recovery dollars and programs to fix damaged roadways and bridges and schools. Early damage estimates from the quake could be as high as $73 million.

Fox News' The Big Story also covered Hawaii earthquake. From the October 16, 2006, edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson: [transcript from Nexis]

GIBSON: Now for the big natural disaster story out there in paradise. The massive 6.6 magnitude earthquake strikes Hawaii. The strongest to hit the islands in over two decades. The quake sparked mudslides, blackouts, collapsed roads. Luckily no deaths have been reported. Inspectors are now out in the area checking for major structural damage. Fox's Anita Vogel live on the videophone now with an update from Honolulu.

Hi, Anita.

ANITA VOGEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. I'm actually in Kona. We're on the Big Island now, not too far away from where the epicenter of this quake is. I can tell you one local woman we talked to probably put it the best when she said yesterday was a day that most Hawaiians will never forget. As you mentioned, this was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in so many years. And it caused as many as 40 aftershocks.

Now the initial quake was centered not too far from where we are right now, about 10 miles of off the coast of the Big Island, off the coast of Kona. It was a 6.6 or 6.7 magnitude temblor. It caused widespread power outages, landslides and rockslides and structural damage to many buildings, including homes. In one case it led to a house fire that caused major smoke damage. Even people who consider themselves veterans of earthquakes say this was indeed a very big one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I lived all my life on the San Andreas fault in California. I've never felt an earthquake like this before, ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it like? Describe it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shook the house for so long, everything flew. Everything in the house fell, everything.


VOGEL: Sixty seconds a long time for appear earthquake to be shaking. Yesterday the governor declared a state of emergency. She said she was relieved that despite the force of the earthquake, there were no serious injuries or fatalities. But there were plenty of close calls. At one extended care facility here on the Big Island, nearly 50 people had to be evacuated after the ceiling tiles fell town and the floor was flooded from a water main break.

Now, John, the work is hardly over here. There are plenty of teams out assessing the damage and we're learning this afternoon that FEMA is even sending a team of 75 people to go out and make sure that no one is trapped out there and in need of help. Back to you.

GIBSON: Fox's Anita Vogel in Kona, Hawaii.