Media Matters takes a look back at some of the more bizarre instances of either paranoia or demagoguery (take your pick) by right wing politicians, pundits and radio talk show hosts. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe we aren’t all dead from Ebola, isn’t it?
This fall, media outlets were swept up in panic about a widespread domestic Ebola outbreak that never materialized, devoting significant column space and TV segments to fearmongering about the issue.
But according to certain conservative and fringe media figures, not only was a domestic Ebola outbreak imminent, it was also an intentional plot by President Obama inspired by his desire to destroy America.
Radio host Michael Savage, who has largely flown under the mainstream radar in recent years but still commands an audience of millions of listeners, suggested in October that Obama was guilty of treason over Ebola. According to Savage, Obama wanted to “infect the nation with Ebola” to help “make things fair and equitable” in the world.
Savage’s conspiracy (as many conspiracies often do) found a receptive audience with prominent radio host Alex Jones. Previewing an interview with Savage, Jones told his listeners that Obama was “letting Ebola in” as part of an elaborate conspiracy to bankrupt the country and potentially “start a civil war with Obama at its head as the new Lincoln.”Morgan Brittany, a WND columnist and conservative activist, wrote a column on Ebola in early October wondering “If The Conspiracy Theories Are True.” Brittany detailed a dinner party she had attended, during which the conversation “veered into conspiracy territory,” including concerns over the government owning “$1 billion worth of disposable FEMA coffins.” (The government is not stockpiling $1 billion worth of disposable FEMA coffins.) Brittany wondered whether Ebola and other crises were all “orchestrated” by the government to declare martial law and seize people’s guns.
Also at WND, Alan Keyes quoted extensively from Machiavelli’s The Prince before launching into a barely comprehensible diatribe about how the president was intentionally importing individuals infected with Ebola as human “biological weapon[s] of mass destruction” in order to help fight off challenges to the Affordable Care Act, or something.
And then the election took place and — voila! — Ebola magically disappeared. Gee, it’s almost as if they were pushing unjustified fear to scare people into voting for them. Nah, that couldn’t be, could it?