Less than two years ago, the nation was gripped by hysteria over the possibility of an Ebola epidemic inside the US. Republicans, assisted by right wing media, largely incited a panicked overreaction with baseless conspiracy theories along with an irrational distrust of health officials.
Strangely, when it comes to Zika, Congress appear to be ignoring the problem altogether. So, what gives?
The Ebola Hysteria
Remember when Republicans and the right-wing media wigged out when they imagined Ebola was poised to attack the US?
There are a lot of members of Congress who, if they could, would prefer that everybody forgot the things were said and done during the so-called Ebola panic. Understandably too.
At that time, if you listened to right-wing media, (and much of the mainstream media) you might have thought the world's population was just about to be wiped out. Action had to be taken to save the US.
Fox News became the theater in the round for the performance which went on for weeks in September and October 2014. At one point, talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck demanded that the entire country be put on lockdown like a prison.
Hasselbeck is described as a "television personality," not- repeat, not a doctor nor political analyst and certainly not a journalist. Yet, despite her lack of serious credentials, before stepping down from Fox and Friends, she pulled in a million dollar salary at Fox News.
Nice work if you can get it.
In a bit of race-baiting, Andrea Tantaros of Fox suggested that people who travel to the country and show symptoms of ebola will “seek treatment from a witch doctor” instead of go to the hospital. Fox host Steve Doocy suggested the CDC is lying about ebola because they’re “part of the administration”. Fox also promoted a conspiracy theorist who is trying to claim the CDC is lying when they caution people not to panic.
Fox News was, by no means, the only outlet that used the Ebola crisis to boost ratings. Probably not since the days of yellow journalism has the mass media clamored so stridently for the sitting president to make such a sizable blunder.
The hysteria spread through the right-wing media faster than the most virulent contagion.