With just one week left before the consequential midterm election, the crackpot right-wing conspiracy theories are starting to erupt faster than they can be recorded. And the common theme among them is a frightening tale of some dastardly scheme devised by President Obama to rain misery on the American people who elected him twice.
The latest plot uncovered by the intrepid reporters on Fox News is that Obama has a secret plan to import Ebola patients from West Africa into the United States where they will consume our scarce resources and infect our children. The plot was discovered by the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, who claims to have confidential information that came to him via an “inside source” within the administration. Naturally he takes this skimpy, unverifiable gossip to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. He tells her that…
“There’s increasing evidence they’re making those plans. Members of the media, my office, have received confidential communications saying that those plans are being developed. […] If you are concerned about this problem spreading – and this is a deadly disease that we’re even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it – we certainly shouldn’t be bringing in the patients.”
The alarmist anxiety of Rep. Goodlatte is typical of the fear mongering that Republican politicians and pundits engage in so frequently. And as usual he has no on-record evidence of his allegations. This is just another unattributed assertion from a source whose credibility can’t be ascertained.
Not surprisingly, when the State Department was approached for a response they unambiguously shot down the conspiracy theory saying…
“There are absolutely no plans to MEDEVAC non-Americans who become ill from West Africa to the United States. We have discussed allowing other countries to use our MEDEVAC capabilities to evacuate their own citizens to their home countries or third-countries, subject to reimbursement and availability. But we are not contemplating bringing them back to the U.S. for treatment. Allegations to the contrary are completely false.”
Once again Fox News jumped way ahead of a story that had no foundation to begin with, that turns out to be untrue. In the process they terrified several million of their gullible viewers who will have heard the initial false reports on Fox, but not the State Department’s refutation. Plus, the original story got picked up by numerous right-wing media outlets (i.e. Washington Times, Breitbart News, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, etc.) that further spread the phony report.
Compounding his fake controversy, Goodlatte demonstrated his ignorance of the issue by telling Kelly that…
“The risk, of course, is that we still don’t even know exactly how this disease is spread.”
But we do know exactly how this disease is spread. Goodlatte is just trying to make the problem even scarier by characterizing it as a mysterious malady that threatens us all. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of Fox News and the Republican Party to keep the public afraid as they contemplate the coming election. The GOP stands to gain by casting the administration as evildoers plotting to harm the nation. And the more frightened they can make voters, the more voters will vote against the President’s party. It is a tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism: (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.