I listened to an interesting piece this weekend about the reporting of the Ebola outbreak. An infectious disease specialist commented that even articles that are accurately reporting on the outbreak can do damage with sensationalized headlines.
EBOLA OUTBREAK LIKELY TO GO GLOBAL
While this is technically true, as the outbreak might spread in isolated instances on a global level,it harkens much more apocalyptic images. It is extremely unlikely, statistically almost impossible, for the virus to hit the average person in the United States. But headlines like that elicit fear and emotion from the reader. As they are designed to. The infectious disease specialist was commenting that reporting like that has no benefit to society and is actually simply harmful.
It reminded me of Christina Stoy and her sensationalized website. Writing in the most inflammatory and insinuating way possible, she elicits fear,emotion, outrage and suspicion from her readers, where in actuality there is little foundation for alarm. She tagged my name, along with the name of my spouse (both of whom were praised by police for our Good Samaritan-ism and volunteerism while searching for a lost child) along side Jerry Sandusky and Jordan Van Der Sloot. Shock pseudo-journalism at its finest.
In my case, she even added false information to the mix to further the suspicion. I had a good laugh as I listened to the interview, thinking to myself that if Christina Stoy were reporting on Ebola, the message would be clear that the world is ending we’re all going to die from infection.