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.