Morning Show Earthquake Notes: CBS Only Program With Reporter in Japan, Morning Joe Goes Political

By Alex Weprin 

Not surprisingly, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami was the big story on all of the broadcast and cable morning shows this morning.

Of the broadcast shows, CBS’ “Early Show” was the only program to have a reporter file an on-air report from Japan, Lucy Craft:

NBC had a producer in Tokyo, but on-air coverage was mostly handled by Ann Thomspon in London and Jeff Ranieri in San Francisco, Ranieri is a former NBC WeatherPlus meteorologist, now chief meteorologist at KNTV.

Update: CNBC did have a correspondent report on-air from Tokyo, Kaori Enjoji.

ABC dedicated all of “Good Morning America” to covering the situation. Guests included Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, Brian Schiro of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and physicist and TV news regular Dr. Michio Kaku.

On the cable networks, CNN and Fox News dedicated their morning shows almost entirely to the quake (Related: CNN had correspondent Kyung Lah reporting live from Tokyo), while MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” took a slightly different angle:

“Morning Joe” covered the quake in news updates and in graphics in the lower-third, but 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 TV critic James Poniewozik recaps the coverage:

To be fair, the network did carry earthquake news in its lower third and broke in for news updates; but it also kept up a bizarre, Casual-Friday tone, with Joe Scarborough bantering about the iPad 2 and the Vermont screensaver on his Blackberry.