Eruptions

Redoubt could destroy mankind

Sorry for the headline, but this is a quick update to emphasize the media and their love of destruction. For example, Redoubt is, indeed, showing signs of a pending eruption, but how large of an eruption is anyone’s guess. Most news sources have been fairly restrained with their headlines, such as:

You get the idea. However, this afternoon FoxNews came out with:

Now, talk about sensationalizing a potential eruption. Sure, there is that chance, but along the probability tree (pdf link) for eruption at Redoubt, “burying Anchorage” in ash might not be one of the most likely events possible. If you read the FoxNews report, it actually is almost exactly the same was most of the wire reports we’ve seen so far, so no new data that would suggest the volcano going “going nonlinear”. I think we have another fine example of what happens when the media gets a little bit of information and tries to spin it for more readers.

Comments

  1. #1 volcanophile
    January 27, 2009

    Yup.. that’s it… If, if if…

    All those media have to sell copies, nothing less… so let’s make it spectacular… Let’s go for an all-out eye-catching attention-grabbing tale on an impending Armageddon for even more public visibility (that’s to say, $ $ $, don’t care if there’s no scientific backup)…

    Of course, Redoubt may blow its top… but WHY NOW????

    Same thing with what happened at Yellowstone several weeks ago… some people went nuts and predicted the end of the world as we know it.. So far, what did we see? Nada.

    Keep cool, don’t get overexcited, and, most importantly, don’t fall for self-promoting sensationalism….

    There’s a french saying which goes like this… “Keep your head onto your shoulders…” Time to think about it.

  2. #2 Simon
    January 27, 2009

    Its typical media sensationalism. Its all about viewer count, readers, web hits etc etc so any chance to blow something out of proportion they jump on it.

    Im grateful for sites like this one and John Seach for putting the news out in a simple non sensationalist way.

  3. #3 Monica Thoune
    January 27, 2009

    How fantastic that I ran into your blog this afternoon. I happened to hear something about Redoubt preparing to blow its top while the TV was on in the background (perhaps on a Fox station….smile) last night (1/26/09. So since I am just starting a volcanism lecture with my Bay Middle College/Fitzharris High School students this week, I am adding your blog to the end of my presentation.

    Never hurts to teach them something about the corrupting of the accuracy of news while they are learning about scienctific concepts. Thank you for your dedication as a scientist!!

  4. #4 george wohanka
    January 30, 2009

    Information about potential impact on global temperature would be appreciated.

    Was any climatic impact attributed to the last eruption?

    tia

  5. #5 Susan Lee
    January 31, 2009

    Curious if anyone has been observing the Redoubt Webcam (Hut)? The site posts a temperture reading in it’s upper left corner that confounds me. What does it mean when it reads 79 then 82 then 71 then 40 then 8.0. Can’t figure what the measurement is of and where it’s being taken from but sure would like to know.

  6. #6 dawn
    January 31, 2009

    i live appx 45 miles from redoubt, we are prepared here with extra water, dust mask ect….i am a little shaken up only because i have only lived here for 2 yrs, former cheesehead…lol…thu the night it has settled down a bit, none the less i will keep my head down just in case, we are not panicking like the other states are for us, we will deal with what blows our way…medai is just doing what they do best..God bless and just keep us in your prayers
    kenai, ak

  7. #7 Laurie
    February 5, 2009

    A science journalist speaks. Let’s keep in mind that before Dr. Klemetti listed the sensationalized headline, he listed four that were restrained. Yes, some media members are intent on sensationalizing, but there are others (both editors and writers) who devote much time to developing and publishing an accurate story. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. :)

  8. #8 dallas
    December 2, 2010

    Well said! – I looked at the Wiki on this and it did not have as good info – thanks!

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