Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Media, Pols Use Ebola for Ill Purposes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Media, Pols Use Ebola for Ill Purposes

Article excerpt

One day in the not too distant future, we're going to look back on these weeks of Ebola fever in media and politics and feel deeply ashamed - if we're lucky.

Those fanning the flames of panic right now will be exposed as the motley assortment of xenophobes, hucksters and political charlatans that they really are.

If our mass media have any shred of integrity left at that point, there will be unprecedented bouts of soul-searching once this fever has broken. Admittedly, there wasn't as much finger-pointing at figures in media and politics after the Iraq debacle as there should have been, but there was some. I consider that a precedent of sorts.

Eventually, even many among the ill-informed American public came around to the consensus that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was one of the greatest catastrophes in our nation's history, but many of the sycophants who happily occupied the amen corner for that disaster are still in positions of influence and responsibility in our government and media.

Their voices have been among the loudest calling for sealing the borders and canceling flights to and from West Africa. For the past two weeks, they have scaled new heights of sophistry to make the infection of two medical workers in Texas all President Barack Obama's fault.

The paranoia has reached levels that are already beyond satire. Some politicians fear Islamic jihadists will purposely infect themselves with Ebola and, with their dying breath, smuggle themselves into America across our southern borders with Mexico.

Once stateside, these terrorists will presumably head for our malls, supermarkets, churches and reservoirs oozing their weaponized bodily fluids to make all manner of contagious mischief.

Last week, there were rumors that Ebola was in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Something as innocuous as a person vomiting on a subway platform, train or bus could trigger the arrival across the country of first responders wearing hazmat suits.

One Florida inmate cleared a courtroom with a false claim that he had Ebola. Flights have been canceled, and planes have made emergency landings because of such claims. …

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