Last night, Bill O’Reilly demanded President Obama bar the door to West Africans in a ridiculous, but politically expedient, argument that this will protect us from the non-existent threat of Ebola. He also disingenuously suggested that President Obama’s failure to do so is out of some kind of allegiance to Africa over America.
Business Insider explains why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not endorse O'Reilly's prescription:
Aside from being “simple and wrong,” quick fixes like isolation will make it even harder to get help into the countries that need it, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden told reporters on Thursday. All isolation will do, said Frieden, is “enable the disease to spread more widely” in the most affected countries, which will in turn create “more potential for it to spread elsewhere and become more of a problem.”
The longer the outbreak goes on, the more opportunities there will be for the virus to jump from the region. The first priority should be to focus all resources on containing the outbreak, not sealing off the area that needs the most help.
Yet, O’Reilly – an intelligent and knowledgeable guy – either missed this or deliberately ignored it.
Instead, he announced, “A possible reason for the inaction is political correctness.”
We know what that means: “too sensitive to racial or gender issues.”
O’Reilly said, “Listen to this!” with excited indignation as he played a clip of a guest on CNN saying, "I mean, we in America – how dare we turn our backs on Liberia, given the fact that this is a country that was founded in the 1820s, 1830s because of American slavery? We have a responsibility to stay connected with them and help them see this through.”
The guest, David Quammen, is an author with no apparent connection to either the Obama administration or American public health systems. There’s no reason to conclude that Quammen’s opinion has anything to do with decisions not to prevent travel to and from West Africa. Yet without any evidence, O’Reilly suggested that Obama shares Quammen’s thinking. Then, after playing the CNN clip, O’Reilly exclaimed, “That’s insane. Insane!”
O’Reilly went on to call it “humane and proper” to send the American military to Africa. So we know he’s not anti-African. Just not above using the continent for political expediency. Nor above using the outbreak to suggest that Obama is reckless with Americans’ safety:
Thinking ahead and taking precautions is simply responsible policy. Time and again the Obama administration has failed to do that. Right now, former Secretary of Defense and CIA chief Leon Panetta is saying the president could have mitigated ISIS if he had only thought ahead and left some troops in Iraq.
…Now, the Ebola virus will eventually be controlled. I believe that. But right now, action is needed to make sure Americans are protected. So let’s get on it, Mr. President.
The fact is, as O’Reilly almost surely knows, Americans are not at much risk from Ebola. Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious disease specialist and the deputy physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is someone who knows a lot more about the subject than O’Reilly. In an NPR interview today, he explained that it’s “really not feasible” for us to have the same kind of outbreak here as is happening in West Africa:
We have health care here. We have the CDC. We have health care infrastructure. We have all those things that tax dollars have been supporting all this time, but more than anything else, we have a tradition of getting supplies to and from places. We have enough rooms. We have enough beds. We have enough gloves. We can afford the type of over-the-top waste creation that of taking care of an infectious patient can make.
…If we were talking about smallpox, if we were talking about flu, my answer would be entirely different because those are highly contagious infections.
Sepkowitz also explained why, besides the morality, O'Reilly's plan is probably fatally flawed: “The practicality is that most flights from Africa go through other airports outside of the U.S. and to actually track every person leaving Africa through the airports in Belgium, Amsterdam, London, et cetera, strikes me as an impossible task.”
Ironically, O’Reilly claimed he “despises panic and irrational fear.” But that’s exactly what he was deliberately stoking.
LOL — has somebody already placed this in the Wingnut HOF Quote Thread in the Forum, or should I?
For someone who thinks we’re so stupid, you sure have a hard time staying away. You’ve been banned again.
That doesn’t sound like a fully formed thought. It’s a little early to be knocking back tall boys so what’s going on?
The suits and Photo Op Hannocchio have full blown racism disease. It’s incurable.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Close down all flights from Ebola stricken nations until proper quarantine facilities can be set up for travelers. You get your visa then go into quarantine. After the Ebola incubation period, if you aren’t symptomatic, you can cross the border.
That’s what Ellis Island was for—keeping symptomatic would-be immigrants out of the general population until it was safe for everyone to let them come ashore. Nothing crazy about it. Any doctor or researcher wanting to help in Africa should be allowed to go—with stipulation of a proper quarantine before returning here. I quite agree with Frieden that this outbreak is best contained at the source.
But intentionally leaving this country open to the pandemic is insane and political correctness is the only willful blinders powerful enough to obscure this obvious fact.
Yeah — right after he announced,
“A possible reason for the inaction is political correctness.”
Make up your mind, BillO . . .