Thursday, October 23, 2014

If the world's not ending, then its not news

Network news, cable news, even those morning news shows that spend endless hours sharing cooking segments, all of the news lately seems to be suffering from the Chicken Little Syndrome.  Do you remember the story of Chicken Little, running around town yelling that the sky was falling. 

The problem with the 'Chicken Little' Approach to the news is that like the animals from the classic storybook, when someone constantly yells about dangers that aren't real, eventually we all stop listening; we loose the ability to recognize actual danger.  The news simply becomes noise to us.  When we all stop listening, the news media has to try even harder to get out attention.

The more dramatic the story – the more the ratings go up.  In other words, Chicken Little would be great at getting ratings today. 

Looking at all the recent Ebola hysteria is a good example of this.  Make no mistake, Ebola is a serious issue.  It is a deadly virus.  It is contagious.  We should be concerned, but what we should NOT do is panic. 
Here are some facts;
  •       Only one person in the US has died from Ebola.
  •       Two healthcare workers who had direct contact with that patient have contracted the disease from direct contact with an infected person.
  •       Protocols for healthcare workers were not followed correctly, and these protocols have been reviewed and updated.
  •       Our healthcare system, despite its many flaws, is incredibly effective at providing care, even for individuals with a contagious disease. 

Should we be concerned – YES!  Ebola is deadly, thousands of people have died from it in West Africa, but something that is even more deadly than Ebola is Panic!

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