Friday, October 24, 2014

Tip of the Hat

It's been quite a while since I've done one of these features; to be honest, with David Frum sort of out of circulation, I haven't seen a whole from the other side to tip my hat to. That is until now.

As most everyone knows, Ebola is now a full-blown pandemic that will wipe out every single American in a matter of weeks and Obama is to blame.  Of course, there are a few doubting Thomases who aren't falling for all the paranoia and you'll never guess who one of them is. Even better, you'll never guess who this doubting Thomas works for.

Our doubting Thomas, and this month's Tip of the Hat recipient, is none other than Fox News' anchor Shepard Smith. In what has to go down as one of the most surreal moments in the history of a network that has spent the last eighteen years riling up an awful lot of gullible people, Smith not only called out his own colleagues for inciting the country to hysteria over the virus, he managed to do something few in the main-stream media have had the courage to do: he actually talked about FACTS.

In a little more than three minutes, Smith calmly spoke to the audience, most of whom I'm sure weren't buying what he was saying, and told them they should have "no concerns" about the virus. That those who were spreading fear were being "very irresponsible." He rightly called out those who were making political hay out of this and steadfastly said that the United States does not have an outbreak of Ebola.

And then Smith did something truly remarkable. He encouraged everyone to ignore suggestions that medical professionals were "covering up" the real facts or that leaders were "lying" about the virus. And he said the best thing all of us could do was to "get a flu shot." Because as any reasonably person should know, more people are vulnerable to getting the flu than contracting Ebola.

Imagine someone in the media being that reasonable. Imagine someone working for Fox News being that reasonable. If I hadn't seen the video, I wouldn't have believed it. I've spent a large part of the last decade blasting the hell out of the Right and its Godfather - Roger Ailes. Now one of his employees has gone completely off the reservation and good for him for doing so.

It's bad enough to spread lies about politicians or healthcare laws or banking regulations or global warming. But ginning up the general public over an epidemic that doesn't exist is beyond the pale, even for this lot.  I not only tip my hat to Shepard Smith, I implore more people like him to find the courage to speak truth to the hysteria that is being caused by these reckless ideologues.

Way to go, Shep!

1 comment:

Prof. Walter Jameson said...


If you spent some time actually watching the Fox News channel (not just a video feed), specifically for its news content, you'd know that Shepard Smith is a first-rate journalist. They actually DO have a few of them over there. It's the commentary/opinion programs that are far-right - with the exception of Greta Van Susteren, who seems to be very reasonable in her approach to the issues. On occasion, I'll even watch a few of the other hosts. In my view, it's absolutely essential to listen to, and to try to understand, those views that are in opposition to your own. That is the only way that you can hone and strengthen your own arguments. And sometimes, believe it or not, you're able to detect a weakness in your argument when you give the opposing view an honest hearing. Scoring debating points is not the be-all and end-all. Keeping an open mind and, perhaps, learning something new is always a worthwhile pursuit.

With regard to the Ebola outbreak and the delivery of information to the public, things could've been handled a lot better on the federal end. The Director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden, may be a competent physician, but he is an awful disseminator of information. In fact, over the past several days, he has contradicted himself on more than a few occasions. This does not engender confidence. And the fact that the Governors of New York and New Jersey felt it necessary to institute a mandatory 21-day quarantine for all medical personnel and travelers who have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, does not engender confidence in the leadership at the White House. You see, THAT should've been a federal action, not a state action. So be it.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.