Eric Duncan has passed away in a Texas hospital from the Ebola virus he contracted in Liberia. Two health care workers have tested positive for the disease after an apparent break down of protective protocol for hospital staff attending to Mr. Duncan in his final days. The CDC warns that more health care workers who treated Mr. Duncan may be at risk of having contracted Ebola.
Meanwhile, the 48 other people that Mr. Duncan had contact with, before it was belatedly realized that he was infected, have continued to be monitored but have exhibited no symptoms of the disease. A deputy sheriff who came down with a fever after spending time in Mr. Duncan’s apartment tested negative for Ebola.
The Ebola outbreak in Texas, while obviously very troubling, in no way poses a panic-worthy threat to the United States and the chances of contracting the disease remain very low. That’s not the impression you would get, however, from much of the media coverage in the country.
Ebola is not an airborne virus, but the media airwaves are being infected by an epidemic of fear, lies and sensationalized misinformation that is transmitted into the homes of millions of Americans.
A well informed and coolheaded citizenry is an essential line of defense against the spread of infectious disease. Panic, misinformation, groundless fear and reckless rumors are the enemy in this fight and must not be allowed to take root in the public imagination.
Distinctly culpable are the bottomlessly irresponsible demagogues of the right-wing-media-noise-machine, whose very reason for existing is to create a self-perpetuating media bubble of hyper-politicized misinformation.
Just as a virus uses the normal functioning of the organism to carry infection and corrupt the health of the body, media demagogues infect the free flow of credible information — the very life’s blood of a democracy — with rhetoric, conspiracy and propaganda designed to inflame the fear centers of its victims and undermine reasoned response.
Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham — along with Fox — have dropped the most bottomlessly irresponsible, intellectually unhinged and morally bankrupt ravings imaginable right into the middle of a public health emergency.
While doctors, scientists and officials are working to maintain public calm and to disseminate facts, they find themselves drowned out by a deluge of noise and nonsense.
Politicizing, distorting and demagoguing on issues where the public understanding requires calm, clarity and trustworthiness are nothing new for the microphone-wielding miscreants of the right-wing echo chamber, but they have now rampaged over a line that must not be crossed. They cannot not be ignored, denied or tolerated in this regard.
It must be said, directly and firmly, that the monsters of the right-wing media scare machine, in that they traffic in fear and inflammatory misinformation, are the enemy in this fight.
Laura Ingraham, aside from her gigs as radio host and Fox commentator, is also on the payroll as a contributor with ABC News, thus adding a veneer of mainstream credibility to her campaign of malignant misinformation.
Major news organizations, which seek to maintain their credibility and good name, should not be providing journalistic cover for inflammatory and hyper-politicized misinformation which endangers the public health and safety.
You can sign our petition here calling on ABC News CEO, James Goldston, to remove Ingraham immediately.
It has long been obvious that Fox “News” is not news at all, but rather a misinformation machine that exists to promote a political agenda. There is a substantial and growing body of empirical evidence that confirms this truth.
Right-wing, Tea Party politicians who have made a career of amplifying Fox/talk radio misinformation should do the right thing and step up now to condemn the politicization of the Ebola outbreak by these outlets.
Keith Rothfus is the representative of PA Congressional District 12 where I live in Beaver County. Mr. Rothfus has been endorsed by the “Tea Party Express” which itself has been heavily promoted by Fox and right-wing talk radio. At the endorsement rally in Boyce park in 2012, the event MC, Sean Hannity radio fill-in and Fox panelist, Rose Tennent joked with the crowd about the Obama-birther conspiracy as Mr. Rothfus stood by casually, waiting to be introduced.
Many of us are not laughing. Manipulating peoples’ fears and prejudices for financial and political profit isn’t my idea of yuks. And playing around with a public health crisis is my idea of evil.
There comes a time when you have to say, “Enough.”
We should all contact our members of Congress to tell them to publicly call on Fox to stop their hyper-politicized, misinformation campaign on the Ebola outbreak.
It’s going to take a ground swell of public outrage and revulsion to change the course of extremist media in America.
A massive political propaganda operation sewing the seeds of mass panic cannot be allowed to go on disguising itself as a “news” source. But it will unless we push back.
Look up your representative and Senators here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org.