Irresponsible fearmongering over the Ebola virus ignores the real issues at stake -- the state of health care in this country, ignorance, and the effect of poverty.
August 4, 2014

There has been far too much fearmongering about the Ebola virus. Every single Sunday show addressed it in some way, but none of them did it meaningfully. This clip of Norah O'Donnell is pretty typical coverage.

First, the handwringing. "Are you absolutely convinced that Ebola will not spread here in the United States," Norah asked.

Oh, audience, be afraid. Because no doctor ever will guarantee something like that unequivocally.

Do yourselves all a favor and don't rely on what you're seeing in the media when it come to the Ebola virus. Go get some facts.

Facts are something they sort of focus on after they've scared everyone half to death with their ambulance-chasing breathless coverage of the one single American who contracted the disease in Africa. In CBS' case, they ran a segment just after this one with their own 'medical expert' who explained how transmission of the disease works, and how to slow its spread.

It's actually pretty simple. Transmission is by direct contact with bodily fluids. It is not an airborne virus. There must be contact with blood or needles in order to contract the virus.

If anyone really needs something to be afraid of with regard to Ebola, consider this. If Medicaid had been expanded in every state, millions more people would have access to health care. And if those people had that access and a doctor they could see if they started feeling ill, the odds of spreading a virus like Ebola would be miniscule.

The question the media ought to be asking is whether those populations in this country -- the rural and urban poor in red states -- are at risk of contracting a virus like Ebola or the next strain of killer flu because they have no access to health care. The answer is clearly yes, which should lead us all to sharply question Republicans about why they hate America so much they want to see the spread of killer viruses rather than provide health care to everyone.

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