Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ebola Hype

Take a Breath
“I wish everyone could take a deep breath and take a break from trying to pull viewers in by scaring them and that’s what we’re seeing here. It borders on irresponsibility when people get on television and start talking that way when they should know better. They should do their homework, and they should report in a responsible manner. Unfortunately it’s a very competitive business we’re in, and there is a perception that by hyping up this threat, you draw people’s attention. That’s a shame to even say that and I get embarrassed for our brethren in journalism.”

“It’s offensive on several levels and reflects a level of ignorance which we should not allow in our media.”

—Miles O’Brien, PBS science correspondent,PBS correspondent slams Fox News’ fear-based coverage of Ebola,”, Oct. 6, 2014

Editorial Comment: “Borders” on irresponsibility?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

College Cove

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Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
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  1. I don't watch FOX news or much of any other American national news broadcasts, so I can't speak to the validity of Mr. O'Brien's comments. But read The Hot Zone (1992 nonfiction about a similar virus), think about the last dose of ZMapp already being used and it taking months to develop more, think about how easily this virus can and has spread, and think about how little is being done to contain it. Then tell me we should not be concerned ... and maybe even a tiny bit scared.

  2. Steve Ross writes: My daughter, who is a public health expert currently helping to rebuild the healthcare education system in Africa, and who came through Dulles Airport entering the United States the same time this Liberian guy did, says that the ebola threat is real and there could be a massive epidemic in the United States. Small chance but if it happens it would be a disaster. She strongly urges monitoring temperature of all incoming International passengers.

    New England complex systems Institute also has a paper on its website explaining that if an epidemic happened in the United States or Europe it could spread very, very fast. I have worked at the institute and I trust its approach. The statement in the quote is thus foolish. The real problem is that the journalists are not explaining the situation well. There is a very remote chance of a very big problem. In EPA terms this results in a high hazard ranking so although the risk is indeed remote it is indeed worth worrying about and is indeed worth spending money on.

    I believe based on public relations materials I have been sent, that airlines and airport operators do not want to spend money on monitoring. I am in Taiwan at the moment and my temperature was checked when I got off the plane. It probably won't be tracked when I come back 2 New York City late Friday. This is wrong."