By DANIEL KLAPHEKE
The one, the only, Ebola.
For weeks, CNN and other major news sources have been screaming about how deadly the disease is and how no one is safe. Parts of West Africa have been ravaged by it, and New York and other major cities have made emergency plans for it. Have you started preparing to face the invisible menace?
Of course not. But don’t feel behind; neither have the millions of others keeping up with the Ebola craze.
The virus is the new villain for America to fight against this year, but it didn’t spring up out of nowhere. Ebola has been around since 1976. It is a rare virus that can spread rapidly through contact with infected bodily fluids and can leave a person dead within a month of contraction.
This year has seen the worst Ebola outbreak in history, and it deserves to be in the public eye. Parts of the world are suffering and they need help. The problem with the media’s Ebola coverage is that it has been grotesquely exploited.
If you can’t see it, think about the last time CNN banked entirely on a single story.
In the spring, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 vanished over the Indian Ocean. The story spread like wildfire because no one had a clue what happened; there was no evidence of anything.
For CNN, this was the perfect piece. A story fueled only by speculation can cycle the same information over and over again by taking new angles. Every possibility besides alien abduction saw its own story, though some probably didn’t rule it out.
For weeks, the front page of every major news publication was plastered in Flight MH370 theories and so-called “updates.” There was even the day where the front page of CNN only featured Flight MH370 stories, and that was a month after the initial disappearance.
The reason I bring up Flight MH370 is to show the similarities between the media attention for the plane disappearance and the Ebola outbreak. For weeks, the focus has been Ebola. Before that it was ISIS. These are big issues in the world, but the reason they’re so prevalent right now is because they are still fresh and have room to keep inflating.
Ebola will eventually be on the backburner, replaced by some new crisis to freak the world out. That doesn’t mean Ebola won’t still be a harrowing epidemic; it just gets less frightening the longer it is mainstream.
It isn’t as if it’s an absolute impossibility to stay clean of the virus. There are vaccines in the works and Ebola has for the most part been contained in West Africa. It spread so rapidly through that area because of poor hygiene practices, health systems and limited knowledge of the virus. It is of little threat beyond its currently inflicted area.
Ebola is certainly a world issue. It’s an awful epidemic that demands help and attention, and my deepest condolences go out to those affected in Africa. But don’t be fooled by what the media is portraying it to be. The world is not in any grave danger and you don’t need to be working on your emergency plan. Instead of being afraid, be knowledgeable and be aware.