Ebola Ethics Train Wreck Update

train wreck - b

Wow! THAT train wreck picked up passengers fast!

  • News Media Car: “Good Morning America” co-anchors Paula Faris and Dan Harris, who  told their audience members, thereby lowering their IQ’s, that a flight ban makes no sense since Ebola can only be passed via contact with bodily fluids. Well, let’s just let the infected fly, then! How much imagination does it take to think of ways passengers can get another passenger’s bodily fluids on themselves?  (HINT: bathrooms).  Faris and Harris also know that infected people can move around the country quickly using planes—hell, do they watch their own medium, television? Movies? Thomas Eric Duncan had no  symptoms when he boarded a plane to the US, where he infected at least two people before dying.  In a situation such as this, effective pubic education is one of the most critical functions of the news media. Choosing to blurt out spontaneous misinformation instead is incompetent and irresponsible.
  • Desperate Obama Defense Derangement Car: American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, who in an Ebola-like outbreak of the DODD that he has been suffering from for years, issued a truly despicable post including vile statements like these:
Put a scary disease together with a new terrorist organization and the ever-present threat of undocumented immigrants sneaking over the border, and you’ve got yourself a putrid stew of fear-mongering, irrationality, conspiracy theories, and good old-fashioned Obama-hatred that they’re luxuriating in like it was a warm bath on a cold night…When people are afraid, they’re more likely to vote Republican, so it’s in Republicans’ interest to make them afraid. And you couldn’t come up with a better vehicle for creating that fear than a deadly disease coming from countries full of dark-skinned foreigners. So what if only two Americans, both health care workers caring for a dying man, have actually caught it? You don’t need facts to feed the fear. And they only need two and a half more weeks. 
Yes, when all else in your party’s government fails and is failing, blame it on racism. After all, nobody would be worried about a highly infectious, horrible, organ liquifying disease with no vaccine and a 70% fatality rate if it came from Asia or Europe. This is all because Republicans hate the black President. By all means, keep pushing that slander: maybe a real Rodney King-style riot can be launched in St. Louis! That should turn out the base! The fact that the Center For Disease Control that said trust us, we’ll stop this disease “in its tracks” was revealed to be a clown act has nothing to do with the criticism.

Ideology-driven hate-mongering, race-baiting and dishonesty like this can kill people, and employing them during a potential epidemic is the way to do it. Does the American Prospect apply any editing standards at all? I have a hard time thinking of a more obviously dishonest and self-evidently stupid statement than “So what if only two Americans, both health care workers caring for a dying man, have actually caught it? You don’t need facts to feed the fear,”  and I won’t insult your intelligence by elaborating. How can any fair editor let a publication be defiled by something like that?
  • Michael Moore Car (because nobody wants to sit with Michael Moore): Michael Moore, who in a series of tweets blamed the NRA and Wall Street for the emergency. Such a tone-deaf, obnoxious, silly man. Why don’t progressives tell him to go away? Any club with someone like him as a member is suspect.
  • Elephant Car: Republicans, who reflexively attacked Obama’s choice of Ron Klain as “Ebola Czar” before he has had a chance to show what he can do or why he was chosen. The Republicans called for such an appointment, then don’t like it. Yes, yes, I know: he’s not a doctor or an expert on Ebola or infectious diseases. He’s (we are told) a competent manager, brought in to coordinate, not make technical decisions. But if he’s a competent manager—unlike virtually everyone else in the Obama administration—he might be able to help. Journalist Ron Fournier, savaging the appointment (and making some astute points, I must admit), concludes, “We shouldn’t need an Ebola czar. The President needs to do his job better.”

The President can’t do his job “better,” Ron. Isn’t that obvious? Technically, you are correct: we shouldn’t need an Ebola czar. After six years, we should have a competent President with competent advisors and appointees. We don’t, and I think six years is more than enough time to conclude that we aren’t going to get any of these. (Four years was more than enough time. I don’t want to hear about Obama voters with “buyers remorse.” Shut up, and live with your shame.) There is always a chance that by sheerest moral luck, this typical-looking Obama appointment based on team loyalty and political savvy will prove to be the exception to the rule, someone who is interested in results rather then “the base,” votes, and optics. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, even if the Obama administration itself doesn’t.

  • Oliver Wendell Homes Memorial Car:  Emanuel Smith, who, in the Ebola equivalent of false shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, told a dealer at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland that he was gambling there to avoid his ex-wife, who was stricken with Ebola. The dealer passed along the comment, causing a panic and requiring part of the casino to be shut down. Now Smith is jailed and facing charges. If they are going to charge him with “inducing panic,” police should charge the dealer too. Perhaps especially the dealer: he had an obligation to investigate and to handle the question of the patron’s health status without causing a panic. I doubt that Smith was trying to panic the place and get arrested. Is being an idiot a crime now? The Dallas nurse who decided that after treating an Ebola patient is a dandy time to fly home to visit is a bigger idiot than Smith by any measure.

I’m sure this train wreck will be packed to overflowing before it done rolling.

8 thoughts on “Ebola Ethics Train Wreck Update

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