Here’s Some Common Sense In The Face Of Conservative Fearmongering
It has been 21 days since the first case of Ebola was confirmed in the United States. While the best way to combat the virus is to know the facts, some elected leaders have made misinformed claims that seem more apt to incite panic and score points rather than a healthy dose of vigilance.
These false claims got a boost this weekend from conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will, who wrongly suggested that Ebola could be transmitted through the air. Here are just three of the most irresponsible things conservatives have said about Ebola:
It is airborne: On Fox News Sunday this weekend, conservative pundit George Will claimed that the disease is airborne and that “in a sneeze or cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious.” The independent fact checking organization Politifact analyzed this claim and rated it “False.”
It is more contagious than AIDS: Sen. Rand Paul has told Bloomberg News and CNN that the disease is more contagious than AIDS. In an interview with CNN he said, “[The Obama administration] has downplayed how transmissible it is. They say it’s the exchange of bodily of fluids. Which makes people think, ‘Oh, it’s like AIDS. It’s very difficult to catch. If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party they’re contagious and you can catch it from them. [The administration] should be honest about that.”
Terrorists will bring it across our border: New Hampshire Senate nominee Scott Brown told a local radio station, “We have a border that’s so porous that anyone can walk across it. I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border. It’s dangerous.”
BOTTOM LINE: In contrast to some conservative fearmongering, steps are being taken to fight Ebola, but more can be done. President Obama appointed Ron Klain to coordinate response among the various federal agencies. However, President Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General has stalled in the Senate because the NRA blocked it from moving forward. Former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told MSNBC “The surgeon general is America’s doctor, delivering information to the American people in a language they can understand.” The Ebola outbreak is an all hands on deck moment. It should be a time when we come together to solve a problem, not spread false information to incite panic for political gain.