We have been closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa here at PoliticusUSA, and have tried to show you how vast is the contrast between the Republican and the Democratic reactions.
Just yesterday we presented the White House plan, which avoids scare tactics and shows in clear, concrete terms, the steps the Obama administration is taking to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa and to prevent its spread to North America.
We have shown that for the GOP, the threat of Ebola exists only as an excuse to attack President Obama, that it’s all Obama’s fault (of course) and that, Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s going to kill us all! Cue to Rand Paul diving under his bed.
We have also been closely following the rise of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and have tried to show you the contrast between the Republican and the Democratic reactions.
We have shown that for the GOP, the threat of ISIL exists only as an excuse to attack President Obama, that it’s all Obama’s fault (of course) and that Oh my God! Oh my God! They’re going to kill us all! Cue to Lindsey Graham diving under his bed.
It is surely significant that yesterday Time Magazine should profile the Republican response to the ISIL “scandal”: GOP Ad Claims ISIS Plot to Attack U.S. Via ‘Arizona’s Backyard.’
As Time’s Zeke Miller and Alex Rogers describe the ad, which was posted to YouTube yesterday,
The National Republican Congressional Committee ad opens with grainy footage of black flags and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) holding rifles on military vehicles. “Evil forces around the world want to harm Americans every day,” an ominous voiceover states. “Their entry into our country? Through Arizona’s backyard.” The spot goes on to recount how Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), locked in a close re-election fight with Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, has voted against border security legislation, suggesting that she “leaves Arizona vulnerable.”
Chris Wallace of Fox News has already planted the suggestion in viewers’ facile minds that Ebola could come across our Southern Border and that it could be used as a weapon. It doesn’t matter after those words are spoken than an expert debunks them. The damage has been done.
Joe Coscarelli at New York Magazine put it more bluntly than Time: Ebola Coverage Goes Extra Dumb on CNN, Fox News.
Safe to say.
Coscarelli pointed to the example of CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, who suggested, “All ISIS would need to do is send a few of its suicide killers into an Ebola affected zone and then get them onto mass transit.” As Tim Cavanaugh of the National Review Online put it, Banfield’s claim that Ebola is the “ISIS of biological agents,” is certainly “this week’s most hysterical metaphor.”
Then there is Elizabeth Hasselbeck, formerly of the View, where she said all the dumb things nobody else would say, and who seems to have been brought to Fox News to fill the same role there: “Why are we still letting people into the country who could have possibly been exposed? Why not just shut down the flights and secure the borders?”
But you don’t have to go to Fox News, or even The Washington Times and its headline, Hiding the Truth about ISIS and Ebola, to get a fear-bomb dropped on you.
If The Washington Times warned that “The Islamic State, also called ISIS, hasn’t (yet) invaded America, but Ebola has,” it was left to the eminently respectable Forbes to climbed into the clown car and hit us with Ebola as ISIS Bio-Weapon?
Never mind that the article is full of previously debunked ideas, Forbes tells us,
ISIS may already be thinking of using Ebola as a low-tech weapon of bio-terror, says a national security expert, who notes that the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” and terror groups like it wouldn’t even have to weaponize the virus to attempt to wreak strategic global infection.
As Time says of the Republican ad, and this is true also of these other instances of Republican scare tactics,
The claim is clear: The same terrorists targeted by U.S. bombers for destruction in Syria and Iraq are coming to the U.S. to attack the homeland through the Mexican border. Yet federal law enforcement officials have repeatedly stated that there is no active plot against the U.S. from ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, and no intelligence to suggest incursions on the Southern border.
We have seen time and again that the impossible means nothing to Fox News and its viewers. Because, you know, people are tweeting about it. It must be true.
So National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Daniel Scarpinato insists, being an expert – if not on ISIS and Ebola – then on getting Republicans elected through fear of Democrats,
ISIS presents an imminent and dangerous threat to the United States. Anyone who doesn’t believe that having a porous border made of chicken wire is leaving our country at risk, should go explain that to people in Arizona who actually have to live with this problem and are upset that politicians like Ann Kirkpatrick are ignoring it.
The reason for all this fear is clear enough. As Time concludes,
By juicing the threat of ISIS, Republicans are hoping to take advantage of global volatility and the understandable fear surrounding it for their own electoral purposes. ISIS has been used as campaign fodder since at least the summer, as the terrorist group took control of major cities in Iraq and started beheading Westerners.
One thing is for certain: if Time has noticed Republican idiocy, perhaps it is time for Fox News to dial it back a bit. While this might seem a good idea, we can’t count on good ideas from any conservative outlet, media, think tank, or political. They have all, collectively it seems, lost control of their filters. They just can’t help themselves at this point.
After all, they are witness to the perfect storm of fear-mongering, a deadly disease and a terrorist group without mercy. It’s a match made in conservative heaven. Sneaking drugs across the border in their anuses is one thing, but ISIL terrorists with Ebola, that’s fear-monger gold.
In 2010 the threat was, as I wrote here, Hezbollah and drugs:
And the federal government, trumpets FOX, isn’t letting poor defenseless Arizona protect itself from a heinous attack by these deadly-unemployed-anuses stuffed with drugs- migrant terrorists.
Now it is ISIL and Ebola threatening Arizona’s white folks.
It’s just too much for the weak-willed viewer to resist, that siren-call of fear, not only of a government run by a black man, but of a disease that kills only white people.
Until they hear what they want to hear, conservatives like Cal Thomas at The Washington Times will continue to insist,
“Our leaders underestimate the ability and desire of the public to respond to the truth with sober minds. We can handle the truth, if our government will only tell it to us.”
What gets forgotten in all this is that almost every single victim of Ebola so far has been an African, and that almost every single victim of ISIL so far has been a Muslim.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.