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Inside the latest media scare: Ebola

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ebola4“I’m pretty sure I’ve got ebola.” This was my friend Eli. Who tends to be a hypochondriac. In addition to conspiracy theorist and the rest. Guy watches a lot of news.

“Um …”

I didn’t know what to say in response.

“I had a fever the other day.”

That settles it. Ebola, no question.

“Don’t you have to have had contact with somebody who has ebola to contract it?”

A logical question, I thought.

“Sheeple.”

A logical response.

Eli continued.

“The guy in Dallas who just died. Let me reinforce that, just died.”

He paused, for dramatic effect.

“He got off a plane in Dallas. And I’m sure bumped into somebody there.”

“And …”

“Well, duh. That person coughed, touched his face, and it spread from there.”

“I’m not sure …”

“We’re all going to die.”

You don’t want to dismiss the possible spread of a pandemic virus, but 24 hours a day of coverage of an outbreak that has to this point claimed one life in the U.S., and that person contracted the illness in Liberia, I don’t know, do we need to push people over the edge the way we are?

“Absolutely.”

Another friend, Ralphus, who runs a camera on the weekends for a local TV station, and thus feels empowered to speak for the entirety of the news media.

You know, because he works in, like, the 200th biggest TV market in the United States.

“Ratings, man. It’s all about ratings.”

I had assumed he was going to pontificate on the media’s role in educating the public to protect itself, so this was an unexpected revelation.

“We make money when companies buy ads. Companies buy ads when people are watching. People are watching when they’re scared out of their damned minds.”

Nice insight for a part-time camera operator.

“You’re both socialists.”

Eli again. Who was doing OK managing his ebola with Robitussin.

“Don’t knock it. A little Tussin can go a long way.”

No arguing that point.

“This is all about Democrats trying to declare martial law to cancel the midterm elections and make Obama dictator.”

“How …”

“This ebola thing started in Africa, right? Obama is from Africa. Dude was born in Kenya. You saw his birth certificate.”

No arguing that point, either. You can’t argue with people who are high on Robitussin spouting racist theories about how the government is fanning the flames of a pandemic to be able to declare martial law.

– Column by Chris Graham

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Contributors

Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

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