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Monday, April 27, 2009

From Historical Rants

I posted this on my historical rants blog. All weekend I have been angry at the obsession with the new flu strain that they media has had. Drudge started it a few nights ago and the rest of the media followed suit. I know that this is not blues, or even blues related, but I also know that far more people will read this here than at historical rants.

Thanks

Tom

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fear Mongering

The news all weekend has been the stuff that legends are made of. Flu pandemic sweeps Mexico. Hide the kids! Death stalks at every doorstep!! Don't leave the HOUSE!!!!

I know that the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization(WHO) are doing what they need to do. A new strain of the flu needs to be investigated, but the media is doing no favors by hyping this beyond reason. I first saw this on Drudge and as of Sunday night(April 26) he has several red links(you can find his site yourself, it is not like he needs any help) and over the top headlines about what is going on. Then CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, followed suit. However, no one has taken the time to even look at the facts.

Here are a few things you need to know about the flu. First the flu kills 20-30 thousand people in the US each year! Read that again. 20-30 thousand! Why isn't the media playing that stat up! So far in Mexico the number of people who have died from the new flu is 100. As of 11:30 pm Sunday April 26th no one has died of this new strain in the US.

Of course, 100 people dying in a few weeks is a scary stat. So perhaps those who catch this version of the flu are more likely to die?? At this point no. The death rate for the flu is 8% while the death rate for this new strain at 11:30pm tonight is 7.69% or basically the same as the flu.

So why all the gloom and doom? Why all the panic? It really isn't rational. I suppose part of the fault lies with the CDC, and the WHO who tend to not speak in the most optimistic terms. They don't want to encourage the spread of this, and really a lot of this is to cover their backside. The media is the true blame for this. If they would just look up the stats for the flu they would see that this is not something to cause panic over yet.

The real problem, is that at some point people will stop taking the media seriously. (LIKE ME!) and then if there really is a problem how many people will pay attention. It is the boy who cries wolf syndrome. At some point the villagers quit running out to see what is going on, and when the real wolf shows up no one is there.

I certainly hope that this new bug turns out to be just like any other bug, but the flu is nothing to play with. My mother died from complications of the flu 10 years ago, so I know how dangerous it is. However, the media has a duty to not screw around with our fears just to get higher ratings.

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