Rachel Maddow is NOT a virus expert
Her distortions are much greater
than those in this caricature.
(2014 Nov blog post)
Note: I may add a few more images or links to this page in the future.
Home > Blog menu > This page on Rachel Maddow's distortions about Ebola (in an MSNBC broadcast)
Following is an open letter to Rachel Maddow (and Chris Hayes) of MSNBC. This letter was prompted by a Rachel Maddow broadcast on or about 2014 Oct 30 on the subject of the Ebola outbreak that was just hitting the United States in the previous month or so.
Some of the things that she said in that broadcast were such distortions of the truth that it was simply maddening.
I had recently read the book 'Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus' by David Quammen that had just come out around 2014 September. She needs to read that book to get her facts straight. For example ...
She was saying things like the Ebola outbreak is confined to "three teeny tiny countries" in Africa. And, in her usual irritating style, she repeated the phrase "three teeny tiny countries" multiple times.
On around the same date, Chris Hayes did a broadcast in which he was propagating the same kind of distortions.
Both of them were lambasting the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Maine for violating the rights of the nurse Kaci Hickox who was refusing to cooperate with a 21 day quarantine after returning from Africa, having been in close contact with Ebola patients.
Rachel's exact (repeated) wording was that the governors were "threatening" Hickox.
Hence I was prompted to write the following letter and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and an nbc email address --- after the 'Send' function failed at the Rachel Maddow web site at www.nbcnews.com.
Letter to Maddow :
It is amazing how you and Chris Hayes are mis-interpreting the comments of the Governor of Maine (and the Governors of New York and New Jersey). You are calling their statements 'threats' to the nurse Kaci Hickox.
They are obviously balancing the health of millions against the short-term (21 day) monitoring of one individual.
Your statement tonight (30oct2014) that Ebola is in 3 tiny countries in Africa is a SUPER, SUPER distortion of the situation.
Since 1976, there have been about 20 Ebola outbreaks all over Sub-Saharan Africa --- as far east as Uganda, as far north as South Sudan, at least as far south as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (See the attached 3 map images.) [below]
There have been outbreaks in Gabon, the Congos, Uganda, etc. --- in multiple locations within these various countries.
And the KEY thing is, scientists have not yet positively identified the 'RESERVOIR HOST' of the Ebola virus --- the host that keeps the virus alive and replicating between these outbreaks in humans. Bats are suspects due to 'secondary' evidence, but there may be other hosts (insect or plant, as well as mammal).
You need to read the recent (2014sep) 'Ebola' book by David Quammen, a science writer who has been writing about virus outbreaks over many years.
I used to think MSNBC was an outpost of liberal realism in a sea of increasingly tea-party-like news organizations.
You and Chris Hayes and Chris Matthews (and to a lesser extent Ed) are giving liberalism and the Democratic party a bad name. You are going to do more to help the tea party candidates take over the Senate than any stupid Republican campaign ads.
You and the 2 Chris's drive more and more 'liberal-tarian' people away from voting for Democrats. These voters would rather stay away from the polling places than vote for someone endorsed by you sad excuses for 'political analysts' and 'news reporters'.
End of the letter
Maddow and Hayes are distributing more misinformation than just
Maddow and Hayes are also spewing the nonsense that
I saw a couple of (women) doctors interviewed on a couple of different TV programs that pointed out that, although it is less likely to contract Ebola through the air than through direct contact with fluids, it would be possible for Ebola virus to be emitted in fluid particles from the cough or sneeze of an Ebola victim. And if a person were right next to that victim, it would be possible to inhale the virus and thus contract the disease.
This is just simple common sense. And it is when people like Maddow and Hayes and some CDC officials claim absolutely and without exception that it is impossible to contract the virus through the air, that these people cause the general public to lose all confidence in any words coming from their mouths.
Similarly, it defies common sense to believe that absolutely and without exception a person cannot contract Ebola from a person if that person is not yet showing outward signs of the Ebola disease.
Consider this scenario: Say 20 seconds (or a few minutes or so) before an Ebola victim starts showing outward signs like a persistent headache, a person comes in close contact with the victim (say a kiss or sharing a spoon or touching their sweat or having sex). Then it is impossible to contract the disease?!?!?!
This is like saying the Ebola virus was not in the victim at one point in time, and then a few seconds later, the victim suddenly had Ebola virus in their fluids.
If this is what Maddow and Hayes and certain top CDC officials believe, then I think they should put their bodies on the line. Ride a bus in Liberia on which none of the people are showing outward signs of Ebola. And keep riding that bus all day, every day, for at least a week.
And they should sit next to some bus passengers who are coughing and sneezing. They should be doubly safe, right? The virus can't be transmitted through the air, AND these people are not yet showing outward signs of the virus.
It is no wonder that Maddow and Hayes are spewing so much misinformation and distortions about Ebola. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have been stumbling to get their act together in the months around 2014 October as I have indicated in a page on Ebola and CDC obfuscation.
Talk is cheap, Maddow et. al. Life is dear.
For further information :
Here are a few Google searches you can use to get more information on this topic.
Here is a list of Ebola outbreaks (1976 to 2012) :
Keep in mind that scientists have not determined for sure the 'reservoir host(s)' for Ebola --- that is, the hosts (mammal, insect, plant) that can sustain the virus in between outbreaks in humans.
Hence the outbreaks in Africa are destined to continue --- and not just in "three teeny tiny countries", Rachel.
Even if they find the host(s), humankind may be far from a solution.
Note that quite a few life-threatening viruses are known to be harbored in mammals like raccoons and transitted via mosquitos. Even though that life-cycle is known, those viruses are still uncontrolled.
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Page was posted 2014 Nov 16.