Media irresponsibly mishandled the Ebola crisis

by Max Carter

For the first time, the Ebola virus has infiltrated the previously supposedly impenetrable walls of the United States’ health system. Now, in a culture obsessed with post-apocalyptic thoughts and zombie culture, the news media have abused their power, and sent many people into a naive frenzy.

On Sept. 20, Thomas Eric Duncan arrived back in the United States from Liberia, having no idea what he was about to put in motion. Several days after arriving, Duncan began exhibiting symptoms of Ebola and was isolated immediately. However, two of the nurses who treated Duncan, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, were infected with the virus as well due to a breach in protocol during the treatment. Since then, the only thing that has spread quickly is national news coverage on the story.

Indeed, the Ebola virus is a terrible, deadly infection that has plagued many African countries since its discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. People in the United States have become aware of these issues outside of our borders and have been active in supplying help to those in need. However, now that the virus has threatened our own nation, the U.S. as a whole has become much more proactive in addressing the issue.

On Monday, Oct. 21, the United States began testing a Canadian-made vaccine for the Ebola virus. This is positive news, as the epidemic has now taken nearly 5,000 lives worldwide. More good news hit on Monday when 43 people who had contact with Duncan were cleared of Ebola through the three-week monitoring period. In an interview with NBC Clay Jenkins, the top elected official in Dallas County, assured the public that “there’s zero risk that any of those people that have been marked off the list have Ebola.” These people will now be allowed back to their jobs and schools.

However, therein lies the problem. Why do we all need to know about this? Why do I, here in Spokane, Washington, need to know that there are 43 other people in Texas that might have a deadly disease that could destroy our race if contained poorly? To me, the media have been irresponsible with the Ebola crisis. They have spawned fear and questions across the whole country about a very concerning topic. All that we need to know is that one man has died from Ebola in the United States and two women who treated him have been infected and are receiving treatment. There is nobody else in this great nation that has the Ebola virus.

If I were the media as a whole, I would have watched my steps and left it at that. But being the Hungry Hippo that the media are, they gobbled it all right up. Unfortunately, this is confirmation of a historically corrupted media. Many times we do a fantastic job and provide news and entertainment in an ethical manner. But although there has been no media law broken during the Ebola outbreak, poor judgement was used by the media as a whole.

I would like to end by reminding you all that Ebola is a very serious virus. I would advise us all (myself included) as students to stay caught up on this issue and to be aware of how we can be involved. Lastly, I would like to hopefully ease any worried minds with this: There are only two people in the United States that are currently infected with the virus and both are improving in health. Small numbers of people have been exposed at one point to one of the three people that are or were infected. They are being closely monitored and contained from exposure to anybody else. As of Nov. 8, anyone who was exposed to the virus iscleared of any chance of infection according to an article from The Atlantic. Remember, this is America, we’ve got science on our side.

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