The Worst Reactions to the Japanese Earthquake

State Department spokesman compares real tsunami to metaphorical one in Mid-East

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News outlets and government officials are reacting swiftly to news of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami and tsunami alerts elsewhere in the world. But how they're reacting--well, that's another story. Some people are struggling to strike the right tone.

The State Department's P.J. Crowley: Mangled Analogy of the Day  Early on Friday, the State Department spokesman tweeted, "We have been watching a hopeful tsunami sweep across the Middle East. Now we are seeing a tsunami of a different kind sweep across Japan." Perhaps in recognition of the fact that now is not the best time for questionable metaphors, the tweet has since been removed from Crowley's Twitter feed without explanation.

It's been a rough 24 hours for Crowley. At an intimate event on Thursday, he characterized the treatment of alleged Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning in the Navy brig in Quantico as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid," though he added that Manning was "in the right place." The State Department says Crowley's comments reflect his personal opinion, not official U.S. policy.

Morning Joe: Distracted by the iPad  TVNewser's Alex Weprin observes that while the MSNBC morning show did cover the earthquake in news updates and graphics, it "still dedicated a good chunk of its program to political coverage, including interviews with David Axelrod and Pat Buchanan, as well as a roundtable on the political showdown in Wisconsin." Time's James Poniewozik describes the affair as ahving a "bizarre, Casual-Friday tone, with Joe Scarborough bantering about the iPad 2 and the Vermont screensaver on his Blackberry."

Chad Myers and CNN: Multiple Misfires According to The Wrap's Dylan Stableford, CNN's meteorologist informed people along California’s coast who wanted to catch a glimpse of the waves that they better ascend “200-foot bluffs.” Otherwise, Myers added, "we’re gonna lose you.” Myers joins another CNN correspondent who has made some Twitter users very angry by, supposedly, giggling on air about a Godzilla joke while reporting on the earthquake in Japan. We were not able to obtain video clips to confirm these reports and, near as we can make out, the only quotes around on Twitter suggest more that the anchor made vague reference to the shoreline destruction looking like something out of "a monster movie."

Ann Curry: Here, Celine Will Make It Better  On NBC’s "Today Show" Ann Curry set up a Celine Dion song by noting that  "on a morning like this, it sure is reassuring and calming," according to Jezebel.

ABC Nightline: What Earthquake? Ben Grossman at Broadcasting & Cable criticized the ABC show for airing taped segments about a Justin Bieber-esque YouTube sensation and comedian Kathy Griffin late Thursday night while other networks were broadcasting news about Japan. A spokesperson told Grossman that news of the earthquake broke about an hour after the Nightline staff had gone home.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.