Media Coverage of Ebola

Helpful or Hindering?

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The other day I was eating breakfast in the caf when I happened to glance at the headline on CNN, which was something along the lines of “is media blowing Ebola out of proportion?” Seeing as CNN has been almost exclusively covering the issue since word of the fiasco at the Dallas hospital where a man with Ebola was allowed to leave the hospital and thus needlessly expose many more people, the irony of the headline was obvious.

Although ironic, and perhaps even a bit hypocritical, the headline raised a good point. Has media coverage of the spread of Ebola done more harm than good?

One could argue that with a disease such as this, it is critical that people are aware of the effects, how the disease is spread, etc. But it could also be argued that constant coverage in a way desensitizes us to the issue; because it is always in our faces it becomes background noise.

I would argue that there needs to be a balance between the two. The need for awareness is critical, both among the general public and among those who are on the “front lines” such as hospital staff and customs officials.

But at the same time life must go on, and people cannot focus on Ebola to the detriment of the other aspects of their lives. The media, then, should do the same and lay off the 24-hour coverage of Ebola, as there are plenty of other things happening around the world which are just as important to report to the people.

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