To the Shepard Smiths of the world, STFU!
Smith has essentially jumped the shark by lecturing the audience to remain calm and not to believe most of the media hype surrounding the Ebola scare. And Smith should know about media hype being one of the main purveyors of it during the Hurricane Katrina coverage. Anyone remember that? Yeah, me too.
But here’s the point. I’m remaining calm. I’m not panicking. However I am more than a little bit angry about the fiasco, the circus, that surrounds the US case of Ebola.
Here’s a hint about why the CDC has been so blastedly inept in its handling of a single freaking case:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a public-health agency, and public health is an uneasy combination of two very different things: emergency disease containment and nannyist do-goodism. It is a field that exists to save us from the plague and to tell us to drink less soda. To expect the same agency, and many of the same people, to be very good at both of these missions is a lot to ask, and the CDC is much better at the second than the first. Since (thank God) we don’t experience many plague outbreaks, public health spends most of its time on that second mission: preaching the virtues of green vegetables and contraception. So the CDC is for the most part an agency engaged in a kind of low-grade, often silly social activism much of the time. When we confront a disease outbreak or similar public-health emergency, the CDC turns to the other part of its mission, and has an impressive core of experts and resources to call upon in doing so. But the turn is no simple matter, and the fact is we (thankfully) just haven’t had much experience with public-health emergencies on American soil, so the people charged with handling them haven’t had much practice here. It is not hard to imagine how all of this could lead to failures of the sort we have seen.
And who is the head of the CDC? The same guy who helped NYC’s mayor Bloomberg impose tobacco bans, try to ban Big Gulps and chase your salt use. That’s right, a “nannyist do-gooder” who hasn’t the faintest idea, or so it seems, on how to address the core mission of the CDC (i.e. the mission for which it was originally formed). Shouldn’t we be angry and upset about that? After the initial whining by the bureaucrats about how “funding” was a problem we learned about how they prioritized the funding they got (which, by the way, was more than adequate). It certainly wasn’t primarily spent on the core mission as is now very obvious.
Ever hear of Dr. Nichole Lurie? Yeah, me neither. But she is the defacto “Ebola Czar”.
…Dr. Nicole Lurie, explains that the responsibilities of her office are “to help our country prepare for, respond to and recover from public health threats.” She says her major priority is to help the country prepare for emergencies and to “have the countermeasures—the medicines or vaccines that people might need to use in a public health emergency. So a large part of my office also is responsible for developing those countermeasures.”
Or, as National Journal rather glowingly puts it, “Lurie’s job is to plan for the unthinkable. A global flu pandemic? She has a plan. A bioterror attack? She’s on it. Massive earthquake? Yep. Her responsibilities as assistant secretary span public health, global health, and homeland security.” A profile of Lurie quoted her as saying, “I have responsibility for getting the nation prepared for public health emergencies—whether naturally occurring disasters or man-made, as well as for helping it respond and recover. It’s a pretty significant undertaking.” Still another refers to her as “the highest-ranking federal official in charge of preparing the nation to face such health crises as earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and pandemic influenza.”
Lurie is the Asst. Secretary of HHS for “preparedness and response, whose job it is to “lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters, ranging from hurricanes to bioterrorism.””
Really? Where IS she?! Instead, CNN reports, we’re getting a different Ebola Czar:
President Barack Obama is expected to name Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to two Democratic vice presidents, as the country’s Ebola czar, knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper today.
Klain is a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and also to former Vice President Al Gore. Klain is currently president of Case Holdings and General Counsel of Revolution, an investment group. He has clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court and headed up Gore’s effort during the 2000 Florida recount.
Yes, that’s right friends, we’re getting a lawyer and political hack inserted into the mess.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Belize, a Carnival cruiseliner is being barred entry to a port because one of the healthcare workers who treated our Patient Zero is on board (so far no symptoms, thank goodness). I guess it was too forward thinking to sequester all those workers to ensure they weren’t infected and didn’t pose a threat to others. I mean, you know, Epidemic Prevention 101 is so 20th Century … or something.
So Shep, STFU. You’re an overpaid news reader. Confine yourself to doing that. Talking about panicking because of media hype is about as hypocritical as anything you can do, given your history.
As for me, I’ll remain outspoken about how poorly this particular event has been handled and continues to be handled. It is all about ineptness and lack of leadership at many levels and in many bureaucratic agencies. It is the poison fruit of big government. The only silver lining in all of this is the media coverage is keeping that front and center for the public to see.
I’m fine with that.