How, exactly, did Ebola become a political cause? How did it become politicized at all? I haven’t the foggiest notion, but even in my disconnected-from-Facebook state I’m being constantly made aware of left-leaning people downplaying the danger of the Ebola virus, usually with a smug statement to the effect that only “ignorant” people — meaning white people who didn’t vote for Mr. Obama simply because he has an African father — are concerned about it.
Here’s a typical cartoon:
Just as a side note: Is it permissible to draw anybody but a white man like that? I’d suggest that it is not. But the talking points are clearly defined here: fat white hick Americans are all worked up about Ebola but they are grossly mis-estimating the danger compared to the things that are already killing them. Got it. When it comes to Ebola, Americans in general and Republicans in particular are just stupid and ignorant and stuff.
A factoid that is circulating around Facebook tells you that your risk of getting Ebola is considerably less than your risk of being bitten by a shark. Given that I live in Ohio, I can tell you right now that said factoid is incorrect, at least when it comes to me personally. But let’s look at how they’re calculating it. They are dividing the American population of 330 million by the nine or ten people who have been recently diagnosed and coming up with a one in 30 million rate, well below the one in 3.5 million rate for shark attacks.
So far, so good. But are shark attacks contagious? Can shark attacks create a pandemic of shark attacks? Not unless there’s a combination of Sharknado and vampirism. If I go swimming in the Gulf and the guy next to me is attacked by a shark, nobody needs to quarantine me until it can be conclusively demonstrated that I am not going to suddenly suffer a shark attack and/or pass shark-attack on to others.
For that reason alone, then, it’s silly to compare Ebola to shark attacks. It’s instructive, however, to compare the way self-styled progressives treat Ebola with how they treated AIDS back when it was still called GRID. Those of you who are older than fifteen years old or so will remember how we were all breathlessly told that anybody can get AIDS at any time through any kind of sexual behavior. Let’s take a look at the chart:
Although straight white women outnumber gay men of all types by at least ten to one, they are diagnosed with HIV just one-twentieth as often, for am infection risk approximately one-two-hundredth that of gay men. Straight white men? They aren’t even on the chart, because they are statistically insignificant.
That’s right, boys: your chances of getting HIV through sex with a woman are down there in shark-attack territory. Is that something the media has ever bothered to tell you? Or have they instead told you that you are at continuous risk for HIV? Have they told you that anyone can get HIV? Well, they lied.
Why spread lies about the risks of AIDS and Ebola? Well, whenever you see that the facts don’t match the behavior, it’s time to look at “morals” if the person is right-wing or “social justice” if the person is left-wing. It’s clear that the “social justice” narrative intends to protect gay men and Africans from being stigmatized by association with HIV and Ebola. This is a worthy cause on the face of it: under no circumstances should Americans of any preference or background face discriminatory behavior because of their increased risk for HIV or Ebola. But that message should be spread using truth, not convenient lies.
Still, even HIV among straight white men is more common than Ebola, even if the CDC doesn’t actually bother to give us the numbers for it because there aren’t enough numbers to report. Common sense tells us that more than eight straight white men caught HIV from women in 2014. Or does it? Well, let’s just assume that it does for now. Anyone can get it, even teens. Right?
Is there a phenomenon that is just as statistically rare as Ebola but which the progressive media has declared an “epidemic” in the same way that they refuse to call Ebola in the United States an “epidemic”?
School shootings are an epidemic! But how widespread is this epidemic? So far, and including the recent incident that is dominating the news cycle, seven students have been killed in school shootings in 2014. Two non-students were also killed, for a total of nine people. While there have been a couple of dozen “school shootings” this year according to Wikipedia, some of them didn’t kill anybody, some of them didn’t involve any students, and one of them only involved a knife.
Looks like Ebola and school shootings are running neck and neck for the coveted title of Most Breathlessly Reported Statistically Invisible Tragedy Of 2014. Taken together, school shootings and Ebola will probably account for about twenty-five deaths in 2014. This means that they are approximately as deadly as cases of Parkinson’s Disease in the state of Alaska. They don’t come close to “Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids” in the state of Delaware, which typically claims about sixty Delawareans a year.
So where’s the social-justice angle on school shootings? They’re done with guns, duh — and they’re also usually carried out by
Asians white people like Eliot Rodgers and, um, Seung-Hui Cho. School shootings are a good way for people to push for more gun legislation while using a non-Black face to make the point. The majority of homicides in this country are, of course, African-Americans killing other African-Americans. But you can’t push for gun legislation on the basis of black-on-black crime because you run into two kinds of racism. Progressives balk at associating African-Americans with violence, which is a bizarre yet very real form of racist thought, and conservatives are often less concerned with urban crime victims of color, which is also a very real form of racist thought.
Thus we see how the progressive media considers Ebola a non-issue and school shootings an epidemic, even though they appear to be about equally deadly. Fox and Friends, meanwhile, continues to blast Mr. Obama for his remarkably vague actions on Ebola while remaining tactfully (and tactically) quiet about school shootings. Are there any lessons we could actually draw from this?
- Treat fast media (CNN, MSNBC, Fox, television in general, Gawker, DailyKos, FreeRepublic) with the same suspicion you’d apply to a roadside hot-dog vendor.
- Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
- There’s always an agenda that means more to someone than the available facts do.
And we can end with this, courtesy of MS Paint: