Science Reporter Destroys Fox News’ Ebola Coverage: ‘Level of Ignorance We Shouldn’t Allow’ (Video)

miles-obrienOver the last week or so, ever since the first Ebola case was diagnosed in the United States, there’s been quite the panic with many people in regards to the illness. And while I understand the concerns felt by many, some of those concerns are misconceptions about Ebola rather than facts.

Then again, it’s to be expected since some media outlets seem to be doing just about everything they can to stir up as much fear about Ebola as possible. After all, fear sells. When you push fear, ratings go up and these people make more money.

And when it comes to pushing fear in the media, nobody does it better than Fox News. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that they’ve been doing just about everything they can to ratchet up as much fear about Ebola as possible. Which isn’t really all that difficult to do with conservatives.

Well, science journalist Miles O’Brien had some harsh words for Fox’s coverage of this situation. During an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources, they played a clip from Fox & Friends where co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck seemed shocked that a medical expert wasn’t more alarmed about this Ebola patient being in the United States.

“I wish everybody could take a deep breath and take a break from trying to pull viewers in by scaring them,” O’Brien said. “It borders on irresponsibility. But there is a perception that by hyping up this threat you draw people’s attention. It’s a shame to even say that, and I get embarrassed for our brethren in journalism.”

“We could digress into what motivated that, the racial component of all this, the arrogance, the first world versus third world,” he continued. “It’s offensive on several levels. It reflects, frankly, a level of ignorance we should not allow in our media and in our discourse.”

He also went on to say how it’s embarrassing that practically no major media outlets regularly staff science reporters to cover scientific topics.

But his comments about the media’s coverage of this situation, and Fox News’ coverage in particular, is exactly right.

I’ve seen medical experts on various cable news channels explaining some very basic facts about Ebola, only to have these various media personalities essentially doubt everything they’re saying because it doesn’t sound “frightening enough.” Which is essentially what Hasselbeck was doing. She wasn’t getting the proper level of panic she was looking for, so she tried to create some of her own.

When I see reports about this situation I see headlines like “Up to 80 People Exposed to Ebola,” instead of “Nobody Exposed to Ebola Showing Signs of Catching Disease.” Because, of course, the first headline generates much more interest because it sounds much more alarming.

But the fact is, it’s now been over a week since this man was quarantined in Dallas and not a single person he had been in contact with has apparently shown any signs of having it. And while we’re not out of the woods yet (21 days seems to be the magic number), we haven’t seen this massive Ebola pandemic breakout here in the United States that many media outlets seem to be pushing as a real possibility.

Again, I’m not saying we can’t be concerned about this situation. But there’s a difference between our media pushing for cautious concern and blatant fear-mongering. That’s the problem when our news is driven by ad dollars. The stories are no longer about being contextually factual. It’s about what’s “best for business.” And, unfortunately, fear makes for really good business.

Watch the segment below via CNN:

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Asher Frost

    I live in Texas, and I’m not scared. It’s real simple, neither my wife or myself are in a position where we get puked on, bled on, peed on or pooped on by anyone, so our risk of catching Ebola seems really low.

    Now if I was a medical professional treating that poor, dying man in Dallas, I might worry a bit, but then I would also have the medical training to protect myself from the increased risk.

    • Macdoodle

      What if someone sneezes in your face?Doesnt the mucus also carry Ebola?

      • Asher Frost

        First, that’s also a really rare occurrence in my life (Every adult I know has more tact than to just sneeze on someone, especially their face) However even in that case, it takes a LOT of mucus, and washing my face will pretty much take care of it.

      • Dee

        NO! It takes only 1 molecule! Boy are stupid!

      • gian keys LOVES shemale porn

        yeah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and if the bleed on U or pee in your eye.
        it has to be SOMEONE sick with the virus-
        so– don’t go to africa

      • Dee

        Illegals are being stopped at the border from those countries. Do you want to risk it? Ebola has a 90% death rate.

      • gian keys LOVES shemale porn

        I live in se florida and I have no fear of another 3rd world breakout–I have more fear of white trash regressive religious scum in this country restricting voting and keeping many americans ( women/ gays/ minorities) from getting equality and freedom
        any questions?

      • Steve Brains

        He haS TO HAVE THE VIRUS FIRST DUMBASS!!!! HOW IS HE GONNA GET IT? By breaking into a secured, quarantine safe room?

        By emailing snot to Republican LIARS like YOU? LMAO!!

    • GenerallyConfused

      Thank you!!! You are one of the rational people who doesn’t need someone to calm down. It is a breath of fresh air.

    • Steve Brains

      Not to mention PROTECTIVE suits and quarantined facilities. The guy who stepped off the plane in Dallas was in a HAZ MAT SUIT!!! i PROTECTS BOTH WAYS, keeping a hazard INSIDE as well as out.

      Just remember HOW many lies the REDS have told starting with “The Supreme Court ruledthat the new president’s BRother has the legal right to discount and deny 100,000 Floridians the right to have their vote recounted”and “30,000 weapons of Mass destruction…” through Mission Accomplished” and “The fundamentals of the economy re fine.”

      Then the REAL outrageous lying began. “Kenyan Muslim”, Communist, Socialist” , “Death Panels” , “MAssive voter fraud” , “PPACA raising costs and costing jobs by the HUNDREDS of thousands”… and finally “EBOLA is Obama’s revenge for slavery on the WHITES.”

      If you want MORE LIES from your government, vote RED. If you want the lying about EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to end, Vote BLUE and give the President the House back.

    • Dee

      Oh…I guess you don’t touch items other people touched just before you. Ebola can live on an object for up to 2 hours. And what about the nurse in Spain who now has it in spite of using all the protective gear (moon suit, mask, etc.) after helping to care for 2 Ebola patients at a hospital???

      • Asher Frost

        No it doesn’t, stop lying.

      • bobby

        She recalls touching her face when removing the protective gear. So… what about that nurse?

    • ineluctable

      you’re part of the problem here. everything you just said is propaganda. the virus is extremely contagious. don’t be a fool.

  • I think the last few seconds of that clip show the stark contrast of this country and others, and shows a very good reason why people in the U.S. should not panic.

  • Dorothy Dill

    I know everyone hates the lies and misinformation that Fox News engages in but I also hate the way they are proclaiming something MIGHT or COULD happen. It’s not news until it DOES HAPPEN. To speculate …. and especially to ALWAYS SPECULATE THE WORST is TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE 🙁

    • Steve Brains

      But THAT is their business model. To deceive for political gain.

  • rd-33

    Tabloid news just like British tabloids – thank you Murdock.

  • GenerallyConfused

    It was extremely irresponsible of the media to shout Ebola like symptoms.. When Ebola like symptoms could, in fact, be anything since they are flu like symptoms. The whole debacle made me so exasperated trying to calm friends and loved ones down.

    • Steve Brains

      CAtch it early with mass testing (a 4th amendment violation if Obama does it for public safety, an Act of Patriotism if a Bushie does it) then treat it with a cocktail to let the body reject the infection.

      • GenerallyConfused

        The main thing anyone can get while in the grip of Ebola is get fluids to prevent dehydration. The cocktail of meds we just don’t really have yet..not really

      • Steve Brains

        Serious antibiotics like the Killall Keflex have been replaced with even MORE effective. But you are right about hydration. Gatorade and anti diuretics.

      • GenerallyConfused

        Antibiotics do nothing for a virus though. Antivirals may help but it would depend on which. Researchers are working it, just a matter of time.

      • Steve Brains

        You’re right, My bad. I forgot the difference. They don’t have a universal Anti- VIRAL yet,

  • mre2000

    There is one case of ebola in the US. One.

    Enterovirus infecting 500 people across 43 states and killing kids… Reaction from Fox News? (crickets)

    • Cemetery Girl

      Hey, if more than one disease gets attention at one time then people might start thinking everyone should be able to have healthcare. Gotta cause enough panic that people will watch but not enough that they want sick people to have healthcare so they aren’t spreading these diseases. Keep perspective.

      • mre2000

        We cant have that. Healthcare is a priviledge.

      • Steve Brains

        Excellent point!!!!

    • gian keys LOVES shemale porn

      im getting the ONE infected person a FOX “news” appearance and NOT letting them know that he is sick…. and sprinkling pepper all over him so he cannot stop sneezing- maybe pirro’s or huck(ster)abees show?

    • Steve Brains

      REAL dangers ignored, fake dangers magnified beyond the ridiculous.

  • FD Brian

    once all the people too old to look something up on the computer die, fox won’t have much of an audience for the ‘sky is falling’ routine.

    • Steve Brains

      hehehehe YEP, ancient truckers are the worst because almost all of them fit the serial killer profile 25 years ago.

  • Guest

    Good for him.

  • Steve Brains

    I have seen the usual fearmongering about isolated AND UNDER CONTROL cases in America. Just as with the AIDS epidemic, the stigmatization that accompanies dangerous diseases and the misinformation from the Reagan Administration, accomplished the HIDING of the disease from health officials, making treatment and containment much more difficult and deadly.
    Coupled with the COMPLETE DISREGARD for public safety that Aids research was Government funded at ZERO DOLLARS and you had mass panic that created lees treatments and containments and more secrecy within the affected HIV communities.

    And if the REDS have their way with closing off the borders with continued LIES and misdirection political advertising… Ebola will expand exponentially.