“What Hawaiian earthquake?” Fox News again runs with Internet falsehoods to attack Dems

Fox & Friends perpetuated the false claim advanced on right-wing blogs that President Obama was incorrect in stating during a Fox News interview that Hawaii suffered an earthquake in 2006 -- a disaster Fox News itself reported on at the time. In a 2007 memo, a Fox News executive reportedly warned staff that “seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC.”

Obama cites earthquake in Hawaii during Fox News interview

Obama: Medicaid fix “also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake.” During an interview that aired during the March 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Obama discussed certain provisions in health care reform legislation that would affect various states and said of a proposal to adjust Medicaid reimbursement rates for states affected by natural disasters, “It also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake.”

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Hawaii on October 15, 2006. As Media Matters for America's 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.

Right-wing blogs: “What earthquake in Hawaii?”

Jim Hoft: “Um... What earthquake in Hawaii?” At 6:54 p.m. on March 17, right-wing blogger Jim Hoft wrote a Gateway Pundit post that stated, “Either Obama's completely making up stuff now or we all missed some horrible devastating earthquake in Hawaii.” He later wrote: “In 1868 there was a major earthquake in Hawaii that killed 77 people. In 1975 an earthquake in Hawaii killed 2 people.”

Breitbart.tv links to Hoft. At 10:18 p.m. on March 17, Andrew Breitbart's website Breitbart.tv linked to Hoft's post and displayed the headline, “Puzzling statement: Obama says 'Louisiana Purchase' will help with the earthquake in Hawaii.”

Drudge links to Breitbart.tv post. From the Drudge Report:


Hot Air follows Hoft focusing on 1975 earthquake. At 10:20 p.m. on March 17, HotAir's Cassy Fiano embedded video from the Fox News interview and wrote: “This moment, from Bret Baier's interview on Fox News with Obama, might just be one of the biggest 'WTF?!' moments from Obama's presidency yet. Obama is either completely making things up, living in an alternate reality, or really, really confused.”

Malkin links to HotAir post. At 12:15 a.m. on March 18, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin linked to HotAir's post on the Hawaiian earthquake in her blog, posting the following passage from HotAir:

Cassy Fiano and Allahpundit intrepidly attempt to decipher:

Apparently, there was a devastating earthquake in Hawaii that we all somehow missed.

Oh, wait, no. That's right. There was no earthquake, and Obama is just totally clueless, as usual. In fact, the last earthquake in Hawaii to cause any deaths at all was in 1975, and two people died.

In any case, why is he using this argument, anyways? He's turned this health care bill into a one-size-fits-all solution for everything. Not only will it fix our health care, but it will apparently create jobs and give disaster relief around the country!

...Update (AP): ...My guess is Obama meant to say that Hawaii went through a tsunami caused by the quake in Chile and got distracted in his irritation at Baier. But who knows what goes on in his mind at this point? This is a guy who thinks universal health care is going to reduce the deficit.

Internet's earthquake falsehood spreads to Fox News

Doocy follows talking points from right-wing blogs. During the March 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy played the quote in question from Obama's interview and responded: “Hold it. What Hawaiian earthquake? There was an earthquake in 1868 that killed 77. There was an earthquake in 1975 that killed two.”

Ex-FNC VP for news Moody: “Seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right.” Fox News has a documented pattern of news reports based on Internet rumors that turn out to be false. In January 2007, after Doocy retracted his false assertion that Obama “was educated in a madrassa,” then-Fox News' vice president for news, John Moody, reportedly said in a memo to Fox News staff: “For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC. The urgent queue is our way of communicating information that is air-worthy. Please adhere to this.”