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Bumper Sticker: Stop Freaking Out About Ebola

Over the last week, we’ve discussed the irrational exaggerations of the danger that Ebola poses to people in the United States. There is no Ebola outbreak in America.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a health emergency. There is. There’s a mental health emergency that is leading many Americans to support extreme policies that […]

Malaria Strikes The USA! Stop All Flights From Asia!

Earlier today, in order to justify a ban on flights from west Africa in order to respond to a tiny number of Ebola cases in the United States, an Irregular Times reader using the pseudonym “Mr. Conservative” wrote that, “I guess one death is insignifigant for you Mr Liberal. But for me one death, two […]

Ebola Ninnies: Names Of The Members Of Congress Who Are Encouraging Panic

There has yet to be even one case of human transmission of the Ebola virus in the United States. People within the borders of the United States are already extremely safe, very well-protected from the spread of Ebola. Screening for Ebola is already taking place at ports of entry to our country, and medical teams […]

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 […]

Americans’ Ebola Panic Reveals Afrophobia with No Sense of Scale

This morning, J. Clifford reports that people have called for the cancellation of flights from West Africa in order to stop Ebola, but refuse to take far simpler steps that would save many more lives. J. Clifford’s point is valid, but there are even more irrational reactions to Ebola surfacing in America.

Yesterday, someone at […]

Identity Theft: How to Build a Hype

How to build a hype:

1. Read a Bureau of Justice Statistics Report, which finds that:

6.7% of U.S. adults were on the receiving end of “identity theft” last year, but this definition includes “attempted misuse” that was unsuccessful, and the most common way adults found out about such activity was to be contacted by […]

While Gun Deaths Decline and Schools Remain Safe, Americans Flip Out

The National Rifle Association has been using the death of a small number of children to try and mandate the use of armed guards in every school across the country. Not coincidentally for a group funded by gun manufacturers, that would require school districts everywhere to buy a large number of guns. But is such […]

Picture of a Panic: Fear of Crime and Actual Crime

The Gallup Poll does a great job of juxtaposing two trends. On the one hand, we have Americans who are consistently convinced each year that crime has worsened compared to the year before:

And on the other hand, we have actual crime report data from the Department of Justice, which shows that violent crime […]

Behind the Footnotes, Jamestown Satanic Panic Founded in a Deluded Evangelical Zeal

Satanic Panic by Jeffrey S. Victor is a great book for its empirical thoroughness, tracking the spread of rumors about Satanic cults across the United States in the 1980s, documenting a complete lack of evidence for actual cult activity, and working to explain how an utterly fictitious threat could have aroused a vivid campaign of […]

As Fundamentalists Fume, Remember America’s First Faith-Based Initiative

The current symbolic aim of America’s Christian fundamentalists is to declare Islam and Muslims the enemy of America to be defeated. The current fundamentalist Christian rallying cry is “no mosques in America!” If the fundamentalists succeed, those who are members of the right religion will get to keep on building their houses of worship in […]

New York Times Exclusive News Flash on Times Square:


On visiting Times Square for a movie with his daughter:

As a parent, I confronted a new calculation. Asymmetric warfare had advanced from downtown to Midtown, from 2001 to the present moment.

As a reporter I had covered the aftermath of 9/11 and now found myself revisiting long-buried worries. I decided […]