During Friday morning’s episode of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough defended his fear mongering over the Ebola virus and claimed that perhaps this country needed a little fear and panic over the disease. The former Republican Congressman puffed himself up over his previous statements on Meet the Press a couple weeks back where he threw a hissy fit when David Axelrod told him he was overstating the large-scale threat of Ebola to the United States. While speaking with co-host Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough indicated that he felt vindicated that his insistence to “ask tough questions” is paying off with Republicans.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Mika helpfully set Joe up to be the hero throughout this segment. After letting him first state that it is OK to spread a little fear in the country to get your point across, Mika then played clips from Thursday’s Congressional hearing where the CDC head and others were grilled for hours, mostly by Republicans. Mika then continued the segment by essentially telling Joe that he’s fear mongering has proven to be right, since we are hearing from “both sides of the aisle” that we need to place travel bans to and from West Africa. Interestingly, Morning Joe only played clips of Republicans stating that bans are needed. When they showed who actually supports a travel ban, almost all of those from the Senate and House are Republican.
Of course, Joe’s extreme narcissism kicked in, and he patted himself on the back several times about how correct he was to act like we have a pandemic on our hands. In typical Joe speak, he insisted that he is “just asking tough questions” and all he’s looking for is answers from those in charge. He also said that everybody should have been doing that when he was weeks ago. Essentially, Joe wanted more people to be panicked from the outset, instead of waiting until now to overstate the widespread danger of Ebola in this country.
Worse is that Mika has jumped on board with the crazed hyperbolic reaction to this virus. Multiple times through the show, Mika made it appear that we are on the verge of a catastrophe of biblical proportions. To be fair, she is far from the only one in the news media to be inflicted with this syndrome. Tune to any of the cable news networks and you see reporters, anchors and commentators falling over each other trying to show who is the most scared and panic-stricken regarding this situation. Obviously, they see this as the super big story of the moment, and they will blow it completely out of proportion.
The fact is, we have had ONE person die of Ebola in this country. He brought the disease with him from West Africa. He was in contact with dozens of people while in Texas before eventually going to the hospital. None of them has tested positive for the disease. While in the hospital, at least 75 health care workers were in contact with him. Out of those workers, two have now tested positive for the disease and are being treated. Both workers were brought to the hospital while their symptoms were relatively light, meaning they weren’t extremely contagious and the likelihood of them infecting others was scarce.
However, this means nothing to the MSM or Republicans hoping to cash in on fear and panic to perhaps carry them to midterm victories. For the MSM, they see additional viewers. The more hyperbolic the coverage, the better. As for Republicans, in the short-term they might be able to score points on pure overblown rhetoric. However, they will eventually find themselves trapped as they’ll be arguing for more regulations and greater federal oversight.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).