Just over a year ago, the Ebola virus arrived in the United States via Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who eventually died after being treated in a Dallas hospital. Despite the West Africa Ebola outbreak beginning months prior to that, not too much media coverage was given to the tragedy that was overseas, much like what were seeing now.
However, with the arrival of the first and only Ebola infected individual (not including health workers transported back to the states for treatment) one year ago, the media grabbed hold of the issue running it 24/7 with loads of fearmongering, hyperbole and whatever else it would take to get ratings.
Ebola: How the ‘mainstream’ media was really no help
I am no liberal, but I found Fox News was particularly bad at this with a slew of their top TV hosts spewing fear and pointing fingers (interestingly, one month prior to an election), videos can be found peppered on YouTube and here area couple of examples- HERE and HERE. Of course there was the intelligent and lucid exception of Sheppard Smith.
Even Republican Presidential frontrunner, Dr. Donald Trump and and the always bombastic “conservative”Anne Coulter had nonsensical things to say about bringing home infected American health workers back home for treatment.
About six weeks before the Mr. Duncan Ebola in Dallas situation, I was a guest on Jesse Ventura’s “Off the Grid” TV show to discuss Ebola.
Several commenters blasted me for things I said on the show– let’s take a look:
I told Gov. Ventura, “there is no risk for a real global pandemic for Ebola, is it as bad as they say in West Africa, absolutely.”
YouTube commenter, Roy Lavecchia wrote: No risk for a global pandemic? Do me a favor people….contact me in 12 months and tell me Ebola isn’t a global pandemic. I dare you. Well Roy, it’s been 12 months and no global pandemic.
Ventura asked me about spread of Ebola in the US if it came here. I said, “The question is if an Ebola patient arrived in the US, is it possible there could be secondary spread? Yes, if I said it would be impossible, I’d be lying. If so it would most likely be family or someone like that.”
This is pretty much what happened, instead of being close family members, it was two nurses (HERE and HERE) who cared for Mr. Duncan who had close contact with the patient and his fluids and were not properly protected.
Commenter coolrob73 wrote: Really will not spread to the U.S? I am beginning to think Jessie is not to much different than some government people because if he was right it would not be in texas right now
Noah Stone wrote: That was two months ago, what do you say about this now?
And Justin Craig was a little more blunt writing: This guy obviously doesn’t know shit. A secondary spread already happened and now the infected patients are getting shipped all around the U.S. For treatment. Why are you not talking about this
It happened pretty much as I said.
Related: Dallas Ebola cases: What went wrong?
YouTube commenter Earl Yetman did offer a very true statement concerning what was happening at the time: The USA main stream media is spreading this panic because we need to bomb somebody! Our government propagates fear as a means to control the populace. And fear is a very powerful friend to the government.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch
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6 thoughts on “Ebola hysteria in the US retrospect: The media, US outbreaks and a global pandemic”
It’s amazing that people think there was never any risk of a pandemic. What data is that assessment based on? I know the CDC and other government agencies claimed that we know the virus, that we could easily contain any outbreak here. However, their position was pure bravado – not based in reality. I’m no fear-monger. I analyzed all information carefully in my research on Ebola, interviewed many experts. Please consider the fact that even one patient overwhelmed a modern US hospital completely. Also, here’s a reality check: