Descent into Propaganda

NBC Nightly News - 2 Oct 2014

Last night’s NBC Nightly News began with a vaguely Mickey Mouse rendering of the Ebola virus behind Brian Williams as he told us about the Ebola case in Dallas, bad weather (since when do thunderstorms make the national news?), and deaths from high school football.

But then he began the report of the lead story:

The spread of Ebola is now a truly scary, very dangerous epidemic in Africa, made even scarier for Americans now with the first case diagnosed in this country….

I can accept that a live news reporter, witnessing something truly horrendous, might refer to the events around him as ‘scary.’  I can accept that, after having reported the facts, a news announcer might deliver an editorial summary and characterize something as ‘scary,’ although it’s not a word I’d use in a mass media report.

But when we’re told that something is ‘scary’ at the start of the story, we’re being told to how to feel about it before we’re presented with any evidence.

That isn’t news: it’s propaganda.

4 thoughts on “Descent into Propaganda”

  1. Just a comment of my own:

    Way back in August of 1981 when I was working the night shift at my lab job, one of the nurses came to the lab, carrying tubes of blood for testing.

    The house doctor drew the blood.

    She was all gowned up.

    There was a sticker on one of the tubes:

    “Caution: AIDS.”

    I looked at the sticker and said to myself “What’s AIDS?”

    We had to find out for ourselves what “AIDS” was. Our hospital never had an in-service or anything.

    Why I am making this comment:

    How much does the average person know about Ebola? its method of transmission, the symptoms and so forth? Have we been educated about it by our government? Ya can’t leave it to everyone to go to the net and do a fact finding mission.

    How much do they want us TO know?

    Why are these patients being permitted to stay in mainstream hospitals? Why are they announcing who is going to what hospital if they have it?

    The whole thing is just screwy.

  2. It’s a clear indication that they’ve been passing out the stupidity pills when, after a couple of weeks of mainstream media reporting about Ebola, the guy goes to a hospital, sick, notes that he was recently in Liberia, and they send him home!

    Everything that I know about Ebola came from a Robin Cook novel, and I like to think I’d know not to do that. And my work has absolutely nothing to do with health care.

    I want to say that there are other infectious diseases besides Ebola, and that that in the US we (a) know how to contain them, and (b) have the resources to carry out that knowledge. But it isn’t the technical expertise: it’s that some damn fool can screw it all up.

  3. That would have been cute if I cut myself and I infected myself with that blood.

    Back then, they gave you a tetanus shot and drew bloods for baseline liver enzymes and then did another panel of enzymes about 8 weeks later to make sure you didn’t get Hepatitis B.

    No body used gloves in those days — this was the golden age of pipetting by mouth, sandals in the lab and a “meh” if you cut yourself on something blood or stuck yourself on a used sharp.

    I know of nobody who got sick or developed anything. I know of a nurse that seroconverted — but they say that is normal if you work around lots of blood products or bodily fluids. Never happened to me.

  4. As diseases go, any hemorragic fever is scary, if only for its fatality rate. Treated, you have about a 50% chance of surviving ebola. Untreated, it’s around 10%, if that. From what the news is saying, you appear to have to have bodily-fluid level contact with a person, but what makes it dangerous is the incubation period of about 21 days before fever appears. The person is infected and we don’t know. The best that we can do is to restrict entry to the country from infected areas, creating a sort of refverse quarantine here.

    That the FDA is allowing the use of drugs for ebola that have been shown effective in animals, but haven’t had human trials yet, is interesting.

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