Instead of talking about jobs, the economy, or any number of important issues, the Obama White House had to send public health officials on the Sunday shows to calm media created Ebola hysteria.
Last week, CDC Director Doctor Tom Frieden had to appear on the Sunday morning shows to try to calm the Ebola panic. This week, it was Dr. Anthony Fauci’s, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, turn to debunk the media’s Ebola fear campaign.
Dr. Fauci’s basic message was the same on all of the Sunday shows. Ebola is not a serious risk to the American people.
On ABC’s This Week, Fauci said,
What it does is that it is transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluid. That is clear from literally experience that goes back to 1976. So although we understand the fear of the American people, we respect that fear, they need to understand that you will not get it if you don’t have direct contact.
So the people that we’re concerned about right now and that we’re trying to protect are the health care workers who are putting themselves at a risk to be able to take care of sick Ebola patients.
The general public, obviously, there’s fear. We try to calm that fear and tell them over and over again that the risk to them is extraordinarily low. We never — we always get caught when we say zero. Nothing is zero. It’s extraordinarily low, much less than the risk of many other things which happens to them in their lives.
The public should be outraged, not by the administration’s handling of the Ebola situation, but by the fact that the media has embarked on a campaign to terrify the American people about Ebola as a ratings stunt.
Because the media, local and national, has been pushing a non-stop fear campaign with every newscast, the federal government has had to waste time and energy pushing back against the media created Ebola hysteria.
The nation is a few weeks away from a very important election, but instead of helping to create an informed electorate, our media establishment has decided to push Ebola as the most important story in the country.
There is no widespread Ebola outbreak. New cases aren’t being reported by the day, so why is the media treating Ebola like a bigger story than what it is? The answer is ratings. Ebola is an easy story for the media to cover. Reporters can ask the question is Ebola spreading, then have a few medical professionals on to talk about.
Who cares about jobs, the economy, or the fact that the nation is in the middle of one of the closest midterm elections in decades? The media would rather discuss a virus that is difficult to spread and a low-risk threat to the American people.
Instead of spurring a productive discussion about the future of the country, the Obama White House is being forced to waste dealing with public hysteria.
A do-nothing Republican Congress has found their perfect companion in the sensationalistic and lazy mainstream media. As usual, the president’s administration is caught between these two inept forces as he assumes they assume the role of being the only adults in the room.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association