What Could Happen With Ebola Is A Possibility, Say U.S. Military Geniuses
The state of reporting on Ebola was best represented today by Jim Garamone of DoD News, who wrote breathlessly that, “The potential spread of Ebola into Central and Southern America is a real possibility.”
What this sentence seems to mean, in the context of the current panic, is that the spread of Ebola into Central and Southern America is likely.
What the sentence actually means is that what could happen could happen. It’s a tautology, and thus, brings no useful insight into policy discussions of what the U.S. government should do about the current Ebola outbreak that has almost completely been contained to a few countries in west Africa.
Journalists, and the people who read their work, are tending to interpret predictions about what could happen in the future as revelations of what is certain to happen, or in the worst cases, as reports of what is happening right now. Intelligent readers will pay attention to the facts of what is actually going on with Ebola, which, outside of west Africa, isn’t very much.
Ebola is a serious disease, which is why we need to remain calm and not get swept up in a panic. It won’t help anyone to waste resources implementing outlandish policies, such as shutting down air traffic between the United States and Africa. We will all be better off if experts in infectious disease are allowed to lead the way in containing and eradicating Ebola, rather than hyperventilating pundits who are mostly interested in gaining audience share for their advertisers by keeping their fans in a state of eager anxiety.