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Ovation: Shepard Smith Explains Ebola.

10/16/2014
Shepard Smith

Shepard Smith

I watch the local news on television each morning when I get dressed for work.  Generally, I tune in to see the weather forecast and to learn about any significant traffic issues that might interfere with my commute.  I find much of what they report to be old news that I’ve already learned about via social media or other online news sources and they rehash what they deem to be the biggest stories in thirty-minute cycles as each morning progresses.  They do their best to make each story sound important and exciting but, for me, news stops being news after you’ve heard it a few times.  And it really grates on the nerves when they desperately try to make news when there isn’t any.

Yesterday, Fox News (which I never watch) host Shepard Smith chastised his network and other news colleagues asking them to stop instigating widespread panic concerning potential Ebola cases in the United States.

Earlier this week, in an episode of CBS’s procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation focused on a case involving the potential for an outbreak of deadly infectious disease resulting from the release of a weaponized virus engineered by a bio-terrorist.  It seems to me that the plot of this television show was much more plausible than the zombie apocalypse/doom and gloom scenario that many news outlets would have us believe our future holds.  Yet, the heroes on CSI were able to save the day with minimal casualties.

“We don’t have an outbreak.  We have two sick people from one dying man.  And the rest of this should stop, because it’s not productive.  And it’s not worth ratings, and it’s not worth politics, and we all need to stop it.” – Shepard Smith

Of course, while Smith is correct that people in the United States are relatives safe from the virus, it is also important to note that the situation in West Africa is getting worse.  There may not be an actual outbreak in the U.S., but the World Health Organization warns that there could be as many as 10,000 new cases per week in West Africa by December and an escalation in the number of occurrences could create serious worldwide political and economic as well as health-related consequences.

“Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and television or read the fear provoking words online.  The people who say and write hysterical things are very irresponsible.” – Shepard Smith

While Smith’s remarks may simply be a different route to win the ratings he says he doesn’t want I must agree that, despite the ramblings of conspiracy theorists nationwide, widespread panic will serve absolutely no purpose and that reporting news when there’s nothing new to report isn’t news reporting.

When all the “talking heads” are talking about Ebola it’s nice to hear one that says the others should stop.  For that I commend Shepard Smith.

Are you, honestly, worried that you will die as a result of the Ebola virus?

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8 Comments
  1. To put it into perspective [as I heard yesterday on NPR]: More people have been married to Larry King in this country than have died from Ebola but no one is suggesting we quarantine Larry, or ban him from traveling!

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  2. Bob puts it in perspective. I wrote a similar post this morning, but very much like Smith’s speaking out. If you don’t have a chance to read mine, while in a waiting room at a hospital, I saw two hours worth of very US centric EBOLA coverage on CNN. It was akin to the local weather people scaring you about coming storms.

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    • You’ve hit the nail on the head with this analogy! I think we can all relate to that weather man!

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      • I have heard talk that Smith is taking some hits by his friends for this. Have you heard the same?

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        • No, I haven’t. But in light of last night’s news from New York City things could change.

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          • I saw a director of infectious disease research from a major university who noted on PBS Newshour last night that a key reason a travel ban from West Africa is a bad idea, is people who must travel will do it underground using more circuitous routes. Then, we won’t know that they are traveling from West Africa and we will not be able to identify them and quarantine them like the family of six was. I had not thought of this and found it excellent rationale.

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          • I completely agree. It’s in our nature to rebel against anything that is forbidden. A ban will probably make some want to travel all the more!

            Thanks for sharing!

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