You can count on one hand the number of cases in this startling outbreak, and we can predict with near certainty that they will not snowball into a full-blown epidemic. But reports continue to filter in of Fox hosts objecting on-air to their network’s fear-driven Ebola coverage.
How could this happen? Maybe Fox got embarrassed about the extent of the wacko hysteria it’s fueling, like the story of a woman in Louisville who sequestered herself because the plane carrying an Ebola-infected nurse from Dallas to Cleveland may have passed over her roof. Or maybe it’s because Fox News chief Roger Ailes wants to blunt accusations that Fox’s panic-mongering is interfering with public-health efforts to keep people safe.
Whatever the reason, last week it was Shep Smith and Greta Van Susteren who were telling their compadres to cool it; this week it’s Fox Business host Neil Cavuto (reportedly one of Ailes’s best Fox friends) ordering the right to lay off Obama’s Ebola “czar,” Ron Klain.
“I have a message for Republicans who continue to attack Ron Klain: Shut up and save it for issues that matter,” Cavuto said. “Okay, so the president’s Ebola coordinator doesn’t have any medical experience. Neither do a lot of you guys, but that hasn’t stopped you from pontificating as if you were Marcus Welby just the same.”
Cavuto notes that there wasn’t a peep out of the GOP when President George W. Bush appointed a political insider without a medical background to coordinate the fight against bird flu in 2004. (It’s probable that Cavuto caught this info from Fox nemesis Media Matters, where Eric Boehlert published it a day earlier.)
Still, most of the folks at Fox know the party line on Ebola (or on anything else): it’s not Fox that is sensational—it’s the accusations that Fox is sensational that are sensational. Catch the exchange between Kimbery Guilfoyle and house liberal Bob Beckel toward the end of another cockeyed conversation on “The Five”: