When the media overreact to terrify us all
Welcome to my Friday Rants from the Soap Box in my Living Room. A small space in the week where I can have a chunter about things that have made me twitch with annoyance or made me question if the world has gone mad or not….
I also linked up with MummyBarrow for her Ranty Friday. You can find her blog and link up here if you’d like to join in. A good rant can be therapeutic. Click on the link at the end to join in!
This week, I feel like ranting about the news, and how the various news companies seem to like to instill fear and panic in the public by ramming news down our throats about illnesses that are out there!
We have all heard of SARS, H1N1, (otherwise known as Swine Flu) H5N1 (Bird Flu)? Now apparently there is a new virus looming on the horizon, that apparently is going to kill us all off if we believe what is printed in the media and on the news.
This new Coronavirus, MERS-nCV, which has killed 44 people since it first emerged last year, is a nasty one, by all accounts, and the medical community and researchers are wondering how it has come to spread to humans as it seems to be similar to the virus found in animals. It however, has only killed 77 people and doesn’t seem to be spreading like wildfire. I clearly remember the fear, panic, media fire-storm, and ridiculous behaviour around the Swine flu epidemic, and whilst that was no joke, either, it wasn’t the pandemic to end the world that the media, and frankly The WHO predicted it would be! Why does the media like to put this stuff out there, and broadcast and publish the scary details that will frighten and alarm people, but not actually help anyone?
The BBC today wrote
“A man infected with the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-nCV) has died in a UK hospital.
The patient, who was 49, was being treated for kidney failure and acute respiratory syndrome.
He was flown to St Thomas’ Hospital in London from Qatar in September last year.
There have now been 41 deaths from the virus, which emerged last year and is similar to those that cause Sars and the common cold.
A hospital statement said: “Guy’s and St Thomas’ can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated despite every effort and full supportive treatment.”
Around the world, 77 people are known to have been infected with the virus. It causes fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Most patients have developed pneumonia”
This is tragic news, for the man and his family, of course, and I am sorry for them. BUT, he had been ill since September, if this account is correct, and he is only one of 44 people, yet the way the media is behaving, it’s the next plague… Only 44 people have died, of 77 confirmed cases since last year. When you consider how many people die of “normal” flu every year, or other infectious diseases, this is hardly the stuff to send us all into isolation, waving bells and putting crosses on our doors! This virus is frightening, I agree, in that it makes people very ill, and has a high mortality rate, and they aren’t sure how it spreads, yet, but is it really necessary for the media to spread such doom and gloom? There are many frightening illnesses out there, that we hear little about, the news writers clearly enjoy the propagating of this news, to stir us all up into a panic.
The post exerts of interviews from infectious disease experts to fill the story they are writing and scare us with facts and figures.
Yes, this virus is nasty, yes it has killed people, yes, it could mutate, and indeed be the killer virus that wipes it all out, but I think they said that about SARS and then Bird Flu, then Swine Flu? Surely, at some point, we are all going to get bored and lackadaisical about things, and when a really scary, spreading like wildfire illness does arrive on the scene, and the WHO and the media are telling us things about it, we will all ignore them, and think it’s yet another media panic fest, when actually we should be worried? A bit of “the Boy who cried Wolf” syndrome?
The Independent posted a similar story, and so did the Daily Mail
By the way, I not belittling or making light of the H1N1 virus and others. It was a nasty illness, we actually became infected with it, and it wasn’t pleasant and the children and I were quite ill, (despite being vaccinated, that’s another rant, for another day) and I know these viruses are horrible and do make people very unwell, and even kill, but I do also think that the media is responsible for hyping things up and causing mass hysteria and fear.
So, that’s my rant for today! What do you think? Should we all be panicking and wearing masks and living in fear or are the media fear-mongering as usual?
It’s shocking how the media get away with doing this every few years. No doubt there will be a vaccine that we should all have to ‘protect’ ourselves against it while making the pharmaceutical industry even richer… This kind of nonsense is why I don’t read newspapers 😉
Totally agree! The media like to keep us in a semi permanent state of fear so they can then provide all the answers. I fail miserably in getting all het up about the next BIG virus… and hopefully that will continue 😉
I swear newspapers employ somebody to sit there and come up with these stories.
I read one once that said your toothbrush can give you back ache.
There is also somebody on Twitter who posts links to “This week this will give you cancer” posts that they find. It seems everything can, and yet next week that very same thing is linked to the next wonder cure.