CNN's Rick Sanchez Saturday actually needed someone to explain to him what nine meters measures in feet.
As tsunamis approached Hawaii following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, CNN rushed in a scientist to discuss what wave detection buoys in the ocean were showing.
After CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras set up Dr. Kurt Frankel of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the professor explained that a nine meter drop in the ocean didn't necessarily mean we'd see waves of that size hitting Hawaii.
Sanchez interrupted asking, "By the way, nine meters in English is?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN: So Jacqui, let's us know what's going on.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So, these are the detections that are out there in the Pacific Ocean. And you can see the flashing ones. These are active. These are the ones that we're going to be watching. And there's Hawaii right from there. About 140 miles away from the Hawaiian Island we've got a buoy out there, and this is what it is showing here. There you can see the line, and notice this big drop down here. We have this big drop. This is about a nine meter drop.
RICK SANCHEZ: Nine meter drop. What does that mean?
JERAS: Well, it means that the ocean waves are doing something, that we're seeing some changes. It's been going down, and look at that. We've got a big rise. And so we're going to get our expert in here who is way smarter than you and me put together. It's Dr. Kurt Frankel. Dr. Frankel, tell us a little bit, you know, we talk about how the tsunami waves will come in, or how the water will pull back before we start to see. Is this a sign of that?
DR. KURT FRANKEL: I think that's a sign of that. I don't think you can translate that nine meters into any specific wave height that will hit Hawaii. So, may be careful about that. It doesn't necessarily mean there's going to be nine meters of runup in Hawaii. But it is showing that you the tsunami in fact did pass by...
SANCHEZ: Nine meters. By the way, nine meters in English is?
FRANKEL: Oh, about 27 feet.
SANCHEZ: 27 Feet.
FRANKEL: About 30 feet.
SANCHEZ: So, we're seeing a 27-foot drop in that area right there? Sorry about that.
FRANKEL: That's right. And so this is recorded by a pressure sensor on the bottom of the ocean that is attached to a buoy. So that pressure sensor feels the pressure of the ocean changes as the wave comes through, it sends a signal up to this buoy which relays it to satellite and then down to NOAA.
SANCHEZ: Well, hold on a minute. Wouldn't it follow that if all of a sudden a part of the ocean just dropped 27 feet, the reaction to, you know, the yang of that yin is that it will also go up at some point?
FRANKEL: It will go up. But that does not mean, again, that there is not going to be 27 feet of water...
SANCHEZ: I'm not asking you to do 27 to 27. I'm saying if there's a drop, will there be an increase?
FRANKEL: There should be an increase.
SANCHEZ: So, so there will be some kind of wave activity there. What you're saying is we can't exactly measure ...
FRANKEL: You can't extrapolate that to what's going to happen in Hawaii. Okay, it's the function of the coastline topography, of how the -- of the slope of the continental, well those no continental shelf in Hawaii. But, the slope of the land coming off of the coast, and so forth. So, there is a whole other number of factors that play into this.
SANCHEZ: But what we can say is, tell me if I'm wrong, there is a tsunami there, and it was just detected that it caused a 27-foot drop?
FRANKEL: Yes, we recorded the tsunami passing that buoy, yes.
SANCHEZ: That's important. Sorry. Well, this is interesting. I mean, I have never seen something develop like this and science being used the way that you guys use it to get all your material.
Amazing. Kind of reminds you of the newscaster in the first "Die Hard" film: "As in Helsinki, Sweden."
For the record, the folks at the left-leaning Mediaite also found Sanchez's performance to be rather pathetic:
While networks scramble to come up with original content on the tsunami coverage, CNN's Rick Sanchez has taken an interesting approach: acting like he's talking to a bunch of 9-year olds who don't deserve to be on big-boy news.
As such, it appears left and right agree: Nice job, Rick!