Newsweek’s fictional news report about the Montana earthquake

Newsweek’s fictional news report about the Montana earthquake

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Natural Disaster: 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Montana, Raising Supervolcano Concerns

Yellowstone National Park, which covers parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, lies on top of a supervolcano that could effectively wipe out the United States if it were to explode. The last time it did, 640,000 years ago, it expelled 240 cubic miles (think about that) of rocky debris into the sky.

Early Thursday morning, residents of southern Montana feared the worst when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region. Though its epicenter was only 230 miles from Yellowstone, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) says the seismic activity was not irregular, and the supervolcano is not expected to erupt anytime soon.

Newsweek

This news report uses exaggeration and hype to target the emotions of readers – an exaggerated headline and first paragraph which is then negated by the last sentence of the second paragraph! This quake has nothing to do with a past or present super volcano!

The goal is to hook your emotions – especially fear about a supervolcano wiping out the United States.

This “news report” meets the definition of fake news – a false or exaggerated statement designed to appeal to the emotions, for the purpose of selling eyeballs to advertisers. The above example is not funny – its insulting and rude to readers.

Update: I checked with my personal consulting geologist who actually lives in Montana and she said there’s a separate tectonic zone near the epicenter of the quake which is probably the cause of this one. There’s a lot of old faults in the region that occasionally rupture.…it wasn’t even a disaster”

The news media has demonstrated this week it is incapable of learning anything from their own behavior. This is irresponsible reporting.

Update: The Missoula newspaper explains this in more detail. Newsweek’s fictional story isn’t even close.

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