10.17.2014

Perspective, Reason, and Dignity Fall Victim to Fearmongering

Within the entirety of the United States, there have been five individuals who have tested positive for the ebola virus. Three of those contracted the illness outside American borders. Of those three, two were known to be infected when they entered the country. Of those same three, one has died; the other two were successfully treated and released. Two other individuals have since been diagnosed with ebola, due to their proximity to the person who later succumbed to the disease – and almost certainly resulting directly from their employer’s lack of preparation in properly dealing with this or other highly infectious illnesses.

With this in mind, the President of the United States may soon appoint a czar whose sole job is to “oversee the nation’s ebola response.” This czar will likely have no power to mandate any actions, restrictions, or protocols pertaining to how the ebola virus is dealt with in this country. Rather, this person’s job will be to act as a token, to embody the nebulous notion of "doing something," to serve as a now-necessary symbol for those who have succumbed to fear, anger, paranoia, and misinformation. 

All of which is being stoked with malevolent gusto by an irresponsible news media that has dug deep within itself, found whatever remained of the ideal that viewed journalism as a public service, has shredded that credibility, flung it to the ground, and danced upon it with fervid glee.

It’s troubling enough that such rampant antipathy for The Other already exists within what holds itself to be an exceptional, enlightened society. That media entities and, by extension, political partisans have chosen to knowingly fan these flames of suspicion and misunderstanding is truly beyond the pale.

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