This afternoon, Shepard Smith stepped up to the plate and simply by virtue of his calm and authoritative demeanor, took a punishing swing at the often panic-stricken response by the media to Ebola. He provided the facts on the virus as they now stand, free of irresponsible hype, and implored everyone watching and listening to ignore the alarmists and react to these latest developments logically and reasonably.
“For the next few minutes I’m gonna give you the facts on Ebola. It’ll take just three minutes. But first, today, given what we know, you should have no concerns about Ebola at all — none, I promise. Unless a medical professional has contacted you personally and told you about some sort of possible exposure, fear not. Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television or read the fear-provoking words online. The people who say and write hysterical things are being very irresponsible. Here are the facts: a man contracted Ebola overseas. Tragically, he was dying in a Texas hospital. He was his most contagious while showing the most symptoms; that’s how Ebola works. And a healthcare worker at the hospital got the virus from him. She is doing well she says, Skyping with her family from isolation just yesterday, saying she’s blessed to have so much support and such great medical care. The CDC director told us, all of us, yesterday that he did indeed expect other healthcare workers at that hospital who treated that one dying patient to contract the virus — and that’s now happened. Another healthcare worker at that same hospital now has Ebola. They tell us they’re transferring her to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Now, before she showed symptoms she flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Frontier Airlines. They say she should not have done that but she did. But as we all now know, if you don’t show symptoms you are not contagious. She did not show symptoms, according to the doctors. Still, medical professionals are contacting everyone who was on that plane to make sure each person is okay. The CDC director says chances are very slim that any of those passengers is sick.
Now, big picture, and this is important. You have to remember that in the middle of all of this, you have to remember that there is politics in the mix. With mid-term elections coming, the party in charge has to appear to be effectively leading. The party out of power needs to show that there is a lack of leadership. So the president has canceled a fundraising trip and is holding meetings and his political opponents are accusing his administration of poor leadership. For the purpose of this fact-dissemination exercise, those matters are immaterial. Again, these are the facts. We do not have an outbreak of Ebola in the United States, nowhere. We do have two healthcare workers who contracted the disease from a dying man — they are isolated. There is no information to suggest that the virus has spread to anyone in the general population in America. Not one person in the general population in the United States. Suggestions have been made publicly that leaders and medical professionals may be lying to us. Those suggestions are completely without basis in fact. There is no evidence of any kind, of which we at Fox News are aware, that leaders have lied about anything regarding Ebola. I report to you with certainty this afternoon that being afraid at all is the wrong thing to do. Being “petrified,” and that’s a quote, is ridiculous. The panic that has tanked the stock market and left people fearful that their children will get sick at school is counterproductive and lacks basis in fact or reason. There is no Ebola spreading in America. Should that change our reporting will change. But there is nothing to indicate that it will. Best advice for you and your family at this moment? Get a flu shot. Unlike Ebola, flu is easily transmitted. Flu along with resulting pneumonia killed 52,000 American last year alone. A fly shot will reduce your chance of getting flu. So get one.”
It’s breathtakingly lamentable to have to say that what Shep said and did and the tone he took was extraordinary, but it is. Every news organization and journalist should be delivering the facts on Ebola in this way and yet very few are. Shep’s own colleagues at Fox News are guilty of some of the most irresponsible and cynicalpanic-incitementwe’ve seen over the past two weeks regarding Ebola. Maybe this is why, when Shep wrapped up this segment, he called out the media specifically, saying about that Ebola alarmism, “It’s not worth ratings and it’s not worth politics and we need to stop it.” We. His own network included.
Bravo, Shep. And while a trivial consideration, this was your Cronkite moment.
RELATED: Shep Smith has a long history of speaking his mind and bucking the narrative at Fox News. You can read about it here. And more recently, he hasn’t taken any crap over attempts to pry into his personal life. You can check that out here.