Media Malpractice and the Manufactured Ebola Crisis

As news broke about a second healthcare worker in the U.S. being infected with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) – commonly called Ebola, though formerly known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever – a few things became obvious: There is too much panic being cultivated by the U.S. Press and too much misinformation about what Ebola is and how to contract it, and the U.S. public is still extremely gullible. The biggest threat we face from Ebola is not contracting it. The biggest threat we face from Ebola is how much ignorance, and in some cases criminality, is on display.

For Americans, when it comes to the media’s reports about Ebola, stupidity based on inexperience and poor decisions runs rampant. Terrorizing us with sensational propaganda headlines about the crisis has resulted in most Americans having a weak grasp of the facts about Ebola which doesn’t speak well for the coverage we have received from our media so far. Because our media caters to Washington and the corporations that own it regardless of fact or truth the public is being lied to and often purposely misinformed. The Ebola crisis is no different than any other crisis when it comes to Washington purposely misinforming the U.S. population.

In fact, the U.S. public has been bombarded with stupidity over the Ebola crisis. Right-wing ignorance over the crisis has been on full display, especially for Fox “News” viewers who are the most uninformed group in the country. Consequently, hundreds of millions of people have been infected with Ebola hysteria which of course inevitably fuels racism and targets xenophobia. It is rather telling that the first person to die from Ebola in the U.S. was a black man who was treated more like a criminal than a victim.

Politics — particularly of the Republican variety — also plays a major role in the fear and panic American media has concocted which has been highly reminiscent of the AIDS crisis from the 1980s and a lot of the same misconceptions, including stigmatizing the victims, misguided calls for travel bans, unfounded overblown fears over the proximity to those infected, the lack of leadership from the top, gross misunderstandings on the transmission of the disease to healthcare workers and the plethora of crazy rumors and fabricated myths made back then are being made today without question. Instead of checking facts our media pushes lies for political gain.

US DEVELOPING EBOLA AS A BIOWEAPON

When it comes to Ebola doing something stupid is not always better than doing nothing. Americans face a much bigger risk of being killed in a car accident than they do of actually contracting the EVD. Putting hysteria over common sense is easier for most people who seem to have lost the abilities to think for themselves or rationalize. Ebola is not new. The U.S. just hasn’t been aware of it. There is not going to be an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. regardless of the hysteria our media keeps promulgating. Ebola is only an epidemic in Africa which is one of the poorest continents in the world.

Despite the fear-mongering and overblown hysteria over Ebola, things are not as bad as our government and their media would have you believe. There are sensible solutions to overcoming the hysteria and dealing with the disease rationally. There also a few mistakes that we cannot afford to be making:

  • Don’t turn the “war” on Ebola into another national security cluster-you-know-what. All the money wasted on the National Security apparatus after 9/11 has proved a massive failure. Treating Ebola the same way we’ve treated the so-called “war on Terror” would prove catastrophic;
  • Allow public health professionals to do what needs to be done. Letting medical professionals do their jobs and deal with the crisis instead of militarizing it will have much more effective results;
  • Do not shroud the government’s response to Ebola in secrecy. Since the “terrorist” attacks of 9/11 Washington has cloaked their illicit actions in secrecy to avoid accountability for their criminal actions. As we’ve seen over the past 13+ years, secrecy only serves one purpose and the U.S. public will pay yet another hefty price for Washington’s ineptitude; and
  • Do not treat quarantines with a “black site” approach that punishes innocent victims of the Ebola crisis. Obviously an infected person needs to be in isolation but there is no reason to treat a victim of Ebola as a criminal. Fears of massive quarantines will only make matters worse.

As Karen Greenberg noted, the U.S. is about to be tested by a disease we know little about. Instead of purposely scaring and misinforming Americans we should be countering Ebola with a whole new set of protections and priorities which should come from the medical profession, not America’s war machine.

Missing from the narrative in the U.S. media hysteria is any mention of the evidence of the U.S. development and testing of airborne Ebola. It seems the U.S. has been developing Ebola as a Bioweapon as evidenced by a long paper trail, though there is currently no smoking gun backing it up. The fact that the U.S. has laboratories on the West coast of Africa which may be the origin of the current Ebola crisis offers more than circumstantial evidence indicating that those claims may be true. It appears that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Canada, France and the UK are all implicated in conducting tests on Ebola.

In fact there appears to be a lot of information available suggesting that the U.S. knew about and expected a much larger outbreak of Ebola than it admits and it may have actually been planned. In early September the U.S. government purchased 160,000 Ebola hazmat suits which we learned after the manufacturer announced it. While purchasing the Ebola hazmat suits and activating military units to allegedly fight the disease in Africa, it seems the U.S. government purposely withheld potentially lifesaving information from the American public, opting instead to allow its media to stir up hysteria. The fact that alternative media is the only ones telling the truth doesn’t bode well for the U.S. public. There are many things we’re being told about the Ebola crisis by the U.S. media that don’t quite make sense.

A FEW OVERLOOKED FACTS ABOUT EBOLA

Ebola isn’t a problem in the United States. Hysteria over the crisis which is being sensationalized by our media and politicized by corrupt Congress critters is. Hysteria is causing chaos and stupidity to run rampant and we need to get a grip on it before it gets completely out of hand. Helping Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea get a grip on the disease will prevent it from becoming a problem over here. Media outlets that continue fabricating hysteria and the politicians who continue trying to manipulate it to suit their own ends need to be recognized for what they are the dealt with accordingly.

Obviously Ebola is dangerous. It is often fatal – the average EVD case fatality rate is around 50 percent but case fatality rates have varied from 25 percent to 90 percent in past outbreaks according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – and highly contagious when the proper precautions aren’t taken, but it is also easily avoidable when the proper precautions are taken. Just because 3 people in Texas contracted it does not mean everyone in the U.S. will get it, nor does it mean that there will be an epidemic. Americans have a couple of choices: Keep living their lives in unfounded fear, or start educating themselves and rise above the constant state of ignorance the U.S. media constantly cultivates.

Because there is so much misinformation and so many misleading headlines about Ebola it’s important to learn the facts about it. Here are some of the more important oft overlooked facts about Ebola from the WHO:

  • Community engagement is the key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Effective outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization;
  • Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival. There are currently no licensed treatments proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development and there are 2 Ebola vaccines being evaluated;
  • The most severely affected countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — have extremely weak health systems which lack human and infrastructural resources needed to fight the virus due to extended periods of conflict and instability;
  • Ebola is spread to humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. The virus spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing, etc) contaminated with those secretions. People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus;
  • The incubation period for contracting the virus is 2 to 21 days — though some argue that more time is needed — and humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms of EVD can include the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pains, headaches or a sore throat which is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney or liver functions, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stool, etc.); and
  • It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis. A series of investigations which includes a antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), antigen-capture detection tests, a serum neutralization test, a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, electron microscopy and virus isolation by cell culture are necessary to identify it.

Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is the most effective way to reduce human transmission of the EVD. More facts and information about EVD can be found at the WHO.

More information on Ebola and the facts about it can be found from the Global Alert and Response (GAR) center from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. One of the best defenses for fighting EVD can be from Ebola survivors. Allowing privately owned companies to block cures for profit is unacceptable. Exploiting a crisis to expand political control is inhumane and immoral. Diseases like Ebola thrive because of the social devastation created by capitalism.

EXPLOITING A FABRICATED CRISIS FOR POLITICAL GAIN

Despite the perpetual hysteria being concocted by our media to terrorize the country, cooler heads are prevailing and scientists and healthcare professionals are busily trying to find out more about EVD and to find a vaccine for it. Ten years ago a vaccine for Ebola was ready to be tested on humans but it went nowhere because no one thought there was any money in it since Ebola outbreaks have been fairly limited and only occurred in poor countries. Will there finally be a cure found for Ebola? One can only hope.

For obvious reasons, natural treatment options to Ebola have long been ignored – in part because as mentioned above, there was no money to be made. Hysteria produced by the media drowns out rationale so you hear very little about natural ways to guard against the disease. Natural treatment options for fighting Ebola are inexpensive and often build up in the immune system but the status quo in which government creates and protects drug company monopolies is and always has been outrageous.

The New York Times (NYT) reported that psychologists are increasingly concerned that the hysteria over the Ebola crisis. The risk of Ebola remains extremely small in the U.S. but people judge risks based on a sophisticated balance of emotion and deduction, though the former often trumps the latter. Instinctual reactions are quick and automatic while analytical reasoning is much slower and much harder. According to the NYT report, experts note that the Ebola outbreak has many of the elements that could easily stoke panic which is worsened by the fear spread by the U.S. media. The most important factors for the government to control the hysteria is competence and fairness, communicating the risks clearly, reporting all cases quickly and treating each infection with the maximum level of care.

Perpetuating fear for profits as our media and politicians keep doing has become the norm for the U.S. since 9/11. Purposely misinforming the public and creating a nation of lemmings results in a nation of cowards who are too stupid to think for themselves. Ebola, like the fraudulent War on Terror, Iraq WMDs, the bird flu and ISIS is but an excuse to manipulate the population while eviscerating their rights and freedoms. Ebola can be dangerous, but having corrupt politicians and their presstitute media spreading fabrications is more dangerous.

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