I guess it never really occurred to me until it finally happened, what a gold mine Ebola was going to be for our media if it ever came to the United States. And while most of our media outlets have done their best to seize on fear of Ebola, nobody has done it better than Fox News.
But they haven’t just tried to hype up fear about Ebola, they’ve practically been trying to fabricating fear.
Like when Elisabeth Hasselbeck sat down with an infectious disease specialist and seemed “shocked” that this expert wasn’t more alarmed about the news that Ebola had made it to the United States. During the segment you could see Hasselbeck doing just about everything possible to get this specialist to say anything that would feed into the fear-mongering Ebola frenzy she was trying to push. But this expert was having none of it.
Or when Fox News tried to evoke conservative distrust in President Obama as a reason why Americans might not want to trust the scientific facts being presented by the CDC about the disease. You know, because the CDC is part of the government and Americans should never trust the government.
Those are just two examples of the many I’ve seen on Fox News over the last two weeks where several of the network’s personalities have seemingly gone out of their way to create as much panic about this disease as possible. Despite the fact that the only person who’s gotten Ebola has been a nurse who most likely didn’t follow correct protocols while dealing with the recently deceased Thomas Duncan.
And I can promise you, this nurse being diagnosed with Ebola will be heavily hyped on Fox News during the next few days. Because this obviously means that the CDC is lying about how difficult it is for this disease to spread. Even though not a single person Mr. Duncan came into contact with prior to being quarantined has shown any signs of having Ebola. But you probably won’t hear that said on Fox News very often, if at all.
So I thought I’d list a few facts to try to do my best to calm some of this irrational Ebola hysteria:
- Ebola is only spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids when an individual is showing symptoms of having the disease.
- It is not an airborne virus.
- Real life is not like the movies. Ebola is not going to spontaneously mutate into an airborne virus leading to a rogue Army disease specialist flying around the country trying to track down the original host to make antibodies to cure the new, much deadlier strain. If you weren’t aware, that’s the plot from the movie Outbreak.
- Around 4,000 people have died from Ebola. To put that into perspective, 20,000 Americans (and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide) die of the flu every single year. And the flu is much easier to spread that Ebola.
- Ebola can be killed with simple soap and hot water, bleach or detergent.
- Nigeria managed to contain the spread of the disease after it was first introduced – Nigeria.
And, again, outside of a nurse who most likely didn’t follow strict protocols when dealing with the late Mr. Duncan, not a single person he was in contact with has shown any signs of having the virus and we’re nearly past the 21 day window where signs of Ebola can still show up.
While I understand that many people are concerned about this disease, I still think it’s important that we remember to trust the scientific experts who are unanimously telling American that there’s essentially a zero percent chance of the United States dealing with a widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus.
And after nearly 2 1/2 weeks since Thomas Duncan was quarantined, with only one nurse who probably wasn’t following proper protocols when dealing with him falling ill to the virus, I think it’s safe to say that we should trust the experts. Even if our media, and especially Fox News, has done just about everything they possibly can to convince us that we shouldn’t.