Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ebola, Panic, Politics and Meet the Press

Some guests from October 5th's Meet the Press, and the show's moderator, have agreed to step into my blog and say exactly, verbatim, from the show's transcript, the same things they said on that show. You can read along with them via the transcript, found at the show's website. 

Welcome everyone!

Let me just, let's test one thing. One case of Ebola in the United States, right? One. 3,000 people dead in West Africa, which we weren't talking about last week. So all of a sudden, we are panicked. 

[BELANGER]: Right on, Gwen.  And the one case of Ebola is a guy who came from West Africa.  Not one transmitted case here, and yet we're panicked?  [Edit from Oct. 19, 2014--Two nurses treating this patient in Texas had Ebola transmitted to them from this man, probably from a breakdown in procedure and protocol when they removed their medical suits and gloves.  They are the first two, and so far the only, people to be transmitted Ebola while in America.  Reports indicate the second nurse was not showing symptoms--and was therefore not infectious--while she flew on a commercial flight to Ohio.]  What about the tens of thousands who've died of Ebola in Africa over the last few decades? Why haven't the American masses panicked for them?  Who worries for them?  Thanks for starting off our discussion with some logic and some facts.

I think you guys spelled it out pretty well when you had Mr. Pfeiffer on. From the real unemployment rate, for the how many people are out of work, the labor participation rate is at record lows. People today don't feel better off than they were five years ago. And obviously, whether it's the GSA, the IRS, Syria, Ebola, the Secret Service, I mean, what's going well in regard to this administration and those senators that have followed this president lockstep? 

[BELANGER]: So now Obama is to blame for Ebola?  And ISIS?  Those two things are in no way related to the American unemployment rate or to the Obama Administration or to any senator.  You're an idiot.  Get off my blog.


No, I don't feel better. And I don't think most Americans feel better. You have everybody saying, "Hey, let's stay calm." That's what the World Health Organization said back in the spring when this broke out. And then they said, "Let's stay calm," when the head of Doctors without Borders, as The Washington Post reported this morning, went to them in late July and said, "This is a crisis." They said, "You're panicking, you're panicking."

And we're hearing the same thing now. Let's look at it. The World Health Organization has been dismal. They've ignored all of the warning signs. And then the African countries, the governments there have failed miserably. And right now, a lot of Americans are seeing what happened in Dallas and looking at your laundry list, what happened with the secret service, what happened with the IRS, what happened with the VA, what happened with ISIS being a JV team. So when anybody, any member of the government says, "Hey, just relax, everything's going to be okay," Americans don't believe that. 

[BELANGER]: Just because you're clearly panicking, Joe, that doesn't mean that all Americans are panicking.  Nor does it mean that there's something to panic about at this exact moment.  Let's break it down.  The World Health Organization said that Ebola was a crisis in Africa at that time, which is still where the Ebola crisis is, at this moment.  So don't take a serious thing like Ebola and purposely misrepresent it for your political gain.  Second: The African countries have indeed failed with the treatment and containment of Ebola, noticeably because of ignorance of how the disease is spread; ignorance of basic procedures (such as burning the dead Ebola victims rather than burying them with unprotected hands) and basic medical care (the world's doctors are there to help them, not to hurt them); ignorance of religion versus fact (it is perhaps NOT true that God is killing sinners with Ebola), and so on.  These are the same exact things that help to spread HIV / AIDS in that continent as well.  BUT...the failures of these African governments have zero to do with the American government.  Just because those governments have failed miserably, that doesn't mean that this government is failing miserably, especially in terms of Ebola.  Again, do not skewer the facts for your political gain, sir.  Lastly, Ebola and ISIS do not exist because of the Obama administration or because of WHO.

Stop trying to cause panic and have it directed at Obama.  You're an idiot.  Get off my blog.


You also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship. Where is disease most transmittable? When you're in very close confines on a ship. We all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily and the whole ship gets sick. Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?

[BELANGER]: You're misunderstanding how viruses work--though your phrase "diarrhea viruses" is misleadingly amusing.  But one does not "catch" Ebola as one would "catch" a cold.  There are many different kinds of viruses.  The viruses you speak of, these diarrhea-viruses, are more of an airborne / touch virus, like the common cold, which is also a virus.  But HIV / AIDS is also a virus, and you can't catch it like you'd catch a cold.  Chances are, if you're not getting infected blood from a transfusion during an operation, and if you're not sharing needles with an infected person, and if you're not having carnal relations with an infected person, then you cannot--repeat, cannot--get HIV / AIDS.  (However, reader, I'm a blogger, not a medical professional, so you should not be seeking medical information from me.)  Anyway, that's the key here: How is the virus transmitted?  You, Senator, are perhaps thinking of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, but of course Ebola is not the flu, and it cannot be transmitted in the same way.  Furthermore, the U.S. soldiers, of course, won't have Ebola when they're shipped over there, so they won't "catch" Ebola on the way there.  And one would have to assume--unless one thinks that everyone is a complete idiot, which even I don't--that each soldier will be tested for Ebola before they're shipped back.  Plus, we know more about viruses and virus transmission, and containment, and treatment, now than we did in 1918.  

You've been a speak-first, think-later-if-at-all guy for a long time now, Rand.  You're an idiot.  Get off my blog.

Why though, I guess go back to the question. I understand about the outbreak, but are you going to try to do more measures? I think this is a public that is very fearful right now, because you say one thing here, and then all of a sudden, Ebola walked into a Dallas hospital. 

[BELANGER]  Sounds like you just finished Stephen King's The Stand, Chuck.  Rather than cause panic and sensationalize Ebola, wouldn't it have been better if you'd made this point: Over 75% of all people coming into America from West Africa do so via four or five different American airports, including the one you mentioned in Dallas.  So wouldn't it make sense to have medical personnel at these airports to screen these people?  Also, this is the upteenth time this episode, Chuck, that you have said that the American public is "very fearful."  Just because you repeat phrases like that, and words like panic and worry, that doesn't mean that the average American is in fact panicked or worrying about Ebola at this point.  Saying something over and over doesn't make it so.  Or--at least, it shouldn't.  But I've read Animal Farm.  Perhaps you have, as well.  Or, your bosses have.  A real newsman informs, Chuck.  He doesn't incite misleadingly-educated riots.

Well, let me ask you very quickly though. We've got flu seasons going to be coming up. Can the U.S. healthcare system handle the incoming that if you mix sort of fear about Ebola with your typical flu season, and people feeling sort of similar issues, fever, stuff like that, are you worried about a crush of the American healthcare system because of the Ebola fear mixed in during flu season? 

[BELANGER]: I repeat:  A real newsman informs, Chuck.  He doesn't incite misleadingly-educated riots. 

People will not typically "mix sort of fear about Ebola with your typical flu," but they may as long as ratings-minded and panic-causing people as yourself, Chuck, keep telling them to.  But, since you're a newsman, and since it's your job to just say and report the news, and not to sensationalize, misreport, or purposely mislead people with the news, then that's not going to happen, right? If you, as a responsible and professional news expert, inform the American public about the difference between the flu and Ebola, and insist that they not panic, then your question has no merit, does it?

There's a litany of problems that the government and the American public are having to worry about. The first case of Ebola in the United States...

[BELANGER]: Again, Chuck, just because you tell us that the American public has to worry about Ebola, that doesn't mean that we really do.  And it also doesn't mean that many people actually are.  And, by the way, this is NOT the first case of Ebola ever in the U.S.  What about Ebola Reston?  Ever read The Hot Zone, Chuck?  By Richard Preston?  About a (very luckily) non-lethal form of Ebola that made it to Reston, Virginia?  Now that was actually the first--

America is on edge. Ebola's been diagnosed on U.S. soil for the first time...

[BELANGER] Dammit, Chuck, have you been listening to a damn word I just--

This outbreak is the largest in history, causing the president to send U.S. military personnel in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. 

[BELANGER]: Yes, Chuck, I know, but shouldn't you also say that this is still in Africa?  That the U.S. military personnel has been sent to Africa?  And that--

The highest alert. The CDC has now increased the emergency response to the Ebola epidemic.

[BELANGER]: Y tu, Brian?  Shouldn't you also say that this emergency response is to the Ebola epidemic in Africa?  Dammit.  I can't believe this is all from the same one episode of this show--

Ebola. Just one of the frightening but true stories that have been seen on TV, newspapers and the internet. 

[BELANGER]: That's it, Chuck.  I've had it with you.  You're purposely inciting and misleading the American public.  Get off my blog!

Ebola in the U.S. 

[BELANGER]: Yes, Brian, I know.  But, again.  They came home from Africa to get treatment here.  They got it in Africa.  So help me, Brian, if Alison wasn't so beautiful I'd kick you off this blog right--

The first confirmed case of Ebola. 

[BELANGER]: No, it's not.  We just went over that.  Wait--Who the hell are you?  Get off my blog.

A man in Texas has just been diagnosed with Ebola.

[BELANGER]: Yes, I know, the guy from Dallas.  But, although he was diagnosed with it here, he actually got it in Africa.  We've been over this.  Why are you guys trying to create panic?  So all the panic-stricken will watch your show?  And are we still in the same one episode?  We are?  I don't believe this.  By the way, Scott, get off my blog.

Because Ebola has left Africa and walked into a Dallas hospital. 

[BELANGER]: I thought I told you to stop this misrepresentation and get off my blog?

Isn't anyone listening?




  1. Lol very clever!
    We've had one case here too - it makes me want to roll my eyes!

    1. Makes me angry at the "civilized" world for unrealistically panicking now when, for decades, tens of thousands of people in Africa have been dying of this. Where were the panic and anger for them?

    2. I am so glad I was born here as opposed to there. You'd think more people would be glad and share that gladness in the form of helping :/

  2. I have to admit I have to remind myself to actively be grateful for things. We're all spoiled and selfish. True fact: The vast majority of the world's population does not have consistent access to good drinking water.

    Enough food and water is not a given for much of this world's population.