By Alex Cardenas |Staff Writer|
Another poll conducted by the Harris Research Market Firm found that 75 percent of individuals believed that Ebola could spread from individuals who show no symptoms, a feat which is medically impossible.
The high percentage of misinformed Americans speaks volumes about the quality of news coverage on Ebola showing that the only “viral outbreak” to affect the United States has been one of media hype.
Why would the media be so focused on scaring its audience?
It could be that a scared public is more likely to watch, 24 hour news coverage on Ebola.
As the famous catchphrase from the film “The President’s Men” goes, “just follow the money.”
Since having more viewers would equal more revenue, it would be naive to rule out the possibility that news channels are purposefully trying to scare the public in an attempt to gain as many viewers as possible.
Ebola is not as big a threat as the media has made it out to be.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first cases of the recent Ebola outbreak were reported in the African nation of Guinea in March of this year.
Since then the disease has slowly spread into the neighboring African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The first and only Ebola related death in the U.S. took place in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 8, when a man who traveled to Africa contracted the disease.
According to the CDC, there have been an estimated 4,000 Ebola related deaths since March, with only one taking place in the U.S. and the rest centered around the poverty stricken Western coast of Africa.
While 4,000 deaths can seem like an astounding figure, we cannot forget that every single year at least 3,000 people die from the common influenza virus here in the U.S.
On a bad year, like 2011, the CDC stated the death toll from influenza reached over 50,000 in the U.S.
That same year the CDC estimated that a total of 73,000 Americans died as a result from diabetes complications, with diabetes still only coming in as the 7th leading cause of death.
Heart disease came in first and cancer in a close second with over 500,000 deaths contributed by each.
One possible explanation for all the focus on Ebola might be the value of timeliness, which suggests that news should center around the most current topics.
Diabetes and influenza are considered old news, but deadly diseases should not be treated like fads.
So as news channels continue to jump on the Ebola bandwagon, have no fear.
The Ebola news hurricane will soon go the way of the Justin Bieber spectacle, becoming nothing more than a distant memory.