Ebola is the hot topic of the month. The paranoia surrounding the outbreak has now led to a nation-wide sense of paranoia that is sure to find it’s way into history books soon enough! With the latest death toll nearing 4600, media sites and sources have rushed to present an accurate depiction of Ebola and it’s current scope.
Many have accused media outlets of shedding a negative light on “under-developed” West African nations. This Week’s article for dissection, “Crying Racism on Ebola”, is a play on the tale of “the boy who cried wolf”. I chose this article after reading an October 17th piece from the Washington Post poking fun at Syracuse’s School of Journalism for participating in the hysteria surrounding Ebola. It was odd that a nationally ranked Journalism school would participate in this sort of commotion when they teach the importance of proper journalism and sourcing techniques.
We’ve learned through Environ 320 that there are multiple angles and perspectives to every story. Keeping in mind that journalists have a responsibility to accurately report on issues affecting society (See huffington post article), the “Crying Racism on Ebola” piece debates the possibilities of the hysteria being well-warranted and necessary versus the idea that the paranoia is simply a way to share a “fear of the black patient”. If one were to google a phrase like “differences in treatment of Ebola patients”, one would see better precautions, better facilities, and better overall care of Westerners in contrast to their West African counterparts. The article also discusses Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man charged with “bringing Ebola to America” was painted as a villain, as the writer notes, Nina Pham, a nurse in Texas who also spread the disease, was “immune from criticism”.
Ultimately, the question up for discussion is this: reflecting on the way the media has portrayed the Ebola outbreak, are the lives of Americans worth more or viewed as more important/more valuable than the lives of West Africans?