CBSNews.com Yanks Quake/Warming Story, Blames AP; AP: 'It’s not an AP story'

Could this have been an, "Oops, we messed up" moment for CBSNews.com?

On June 18, CBS.com posted a story claiming that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago because of global warming. [see related NB story by D.S. Hube here]

The story had no byline, but was attributed to the Associated Press. The story was identical to a June 17 Market Wire press release attributed to Tom Chalko, the scientist that made the claim of the earthquake/global warming link.

However, as of 3 p.m. on June 19, the CBS.com story was no longer available and CBS.com was engaging in a blame game of sorts. (Hat tip: Marc Morano, Inhofe EPW Press Blog)

According to Mike Sims, director of news and operations for CBSNews.com, the story was an Associated Press story that came across their wire. But Susan James, a researcher for the Associated Press, told the Business & Media Institute no such story exists in their database.

"It's not an AP story," James said. "It's not turning up in our archives."

Sims did not immediately return an inquiry for a response to the Associated Press' claim.

The original story and the identical press release detail the alleged increased danger from earthquakes as a result of global warming. "New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago," the release/story said.

Dr. Luboš Motl, a former Harvard University physicist, called Chalko an "übercrackpot" on his blog on June 19 and questioned Chalko's claim about the increase in seismic energy.

"[T]he earthquake energy hasn't increased, of course," Motl wrote. "Read the FAQ by USGS who are responsible for seismology. The total energy is dominated by earthquakes at 7.0 or higher and they haven't increased - they have actually decreased a bit in recent years. However, many small earthquakes went undetected in the past."