The conservative media have never exactly been in a state of child's pose when it comes to Barack Obama, but what we're seeing right now from them is something new altogether. The sudden presence of Ebola inside Fortress America is causing a spontaneous freak-out on the right that almost defies description. The irrational rage is there, as it always is, only now it's electrified with the white-hot madness of an end-times prophet. Whereas we used to hear about how Obama was merely going to bring about the death of liberty in America, now we're hearing about how he's going to bring about the death of America and everyone in it.
Ebola is indeed a scary thing and at a time when the greatest scientists in the world are working hard to prevent its spread, they're also having to work doubly hard to prevent the spread of misinformation and willful disinformation that can create a panic far more frightening than the current outbreak. At a time when we should be keeping it together as a nation and appealing for calm from each other, because there's literally zero threat to 99.99999% of the country, an entire faction of one of our two major political parties is doing the only fucking thing it seems to know how to do, and that's shriek about the guy who's president at the moment.
In just the past 24 hours, the suddenly dangerously irresponsible Fox News has given quack shrink Dr. Keith Ablow a forum to claim that Barack Obama might be subconsciously allowing Ebola into the country because he wants America to suffer; ancient Sumerian curse Phyllis Schlafly told WorldNetDaily that Obama is consciously allowing Ebola into the country because he wants to make America more like Africa; and of course talking penis Donald Trump took to Instagram to lecture Obama about sending U.S. troops to West Africa. That, again, is just the past 24 hours.
But Twitter, man, that's truly where the action is. Over the past couple of days "#Obola" has risen up the hashtag ranks, becoming an online clearing house-slash-insane asylum for every imaginable kind of Obama/Ebola-related conspiracy. And what would an orchestra of white noise like that be without a virtuoso conductor to wave his arms gracefully -- or in this case, manically -- and bring everything into sync?
Enter Alex Jones, whose InfoWars site has, over the last several days, published articles with titles like, "Obamacare Will Help Ebola To Spread," "'Apocalyptic Scenario': Discoverer of Ebola Fears Virus Could Mutate," and of course "What You Need to Do to Survive Ebola BEFORE THE PANIC STARTS." (No, I'm not linking to any of them.) This whole thing is a dream come true for Jones -- what he's been waiting for his entire putrid career.
If you think Fox News is capitalizing on Ebola hysteria by trying to create more of it -- if you think Drudge's site looks like the apocalypse is going to happen tomorrow morning at 10am -- you seriously haven't seen anything yet. Jones isn't just publishing politically motivated Obama/Ebola panic, he's silkscreening it onto t-shirts and selling it.
Get yours while they last:
As you can see, there's the limited edition plain-white-T and the even more limited edition "blood-splattered"-T, for those special occasions. You can order these from Jones's website -- along with your "Propur" water filtration system and nuclear and biological preparedness kit -- for the low, low price of 19.95 each.
It's tempting to laugh this kind of crap off simply because under normal circumstances most people wouldn't know who Alex Jones is, wouldn't care, or wouldn't be interested in listening to anybody touting lunatic conspiracy theories about the ties between a dangerous virus and the President of the United States. But we're not really dealing with normal circumstances right now. People are undoubtedly nervous about Ebola, largely because even the most responsible press outlets have been guilty of alarmism over the past several days. They're nervous enough to where a guy who makes a joke about having Ebola on a plane can be dragged away by men in biohazard suits.
Even though there's little chance of it spreading here in the U.S, the virus is scary, no doubt about it. The thing is, the potential for blind, mindless panic is much scarier.
But don't tell that to people trying to score political points off this thing or, in the case of assholes like Alex Jones, trying to make a quick buck. This kind of irresponsibility used to be bad -- bad for the discourse, for the national intellect, and for the country at large. Now? Right now at this moment? It's not simply bad -- it's fucking dangerous.