Fox News hypes fears of Ebola on the ‘Mexico border,’ quietly debunks idea in same report
Fox News used several quotes from conservative politicians on Tuesday to suggest that Ebola was causing a “health risk” on the U.S. border with Mexico — an assertion that the network debunked in its own report.
In a Monday story titled “Ebola outbreak fuels concerns over health risks along US-Mexico border,” Fox News reported that there was a “growing health risk, with statistics showing dozens of people from the epicenter of the Ebola scare illegally entered the U.S. — or tried to — this year alone.”
To back up that claim, Fox pointed to a Breitbart.com report alleging that 71 undocumented immigrants entered the U.S. this year from countries that were fighting an Ebola outbreak.
It noted that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) had recently raised concerns about child refugees from Central America with “swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis.”
The article also said that Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) raised concerns about Ebola after drafting a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Rokita, who is a heart surgeon, told WIBC-FM that the children might pose a public health risk “with Ebola circulating and everything else.”
But the Fox News article, which had no byline, also pointed out that PolitiFact.com had given Gingrey a “Pants On Fire” rating for the claim that immigrants might be bringing the virus over the Mexican border.
New York University’s Langone Medical Center Director of Medical Ethics Arthur Caplan explained to PolitiFact.com that anyone who contracted Ebola would most likely be dead before they finished making the long journey through Central America.
“The reality is that Ebola has only been found in Africa — and experts agree that, given how the disease develops, the likelihood of children from Central America bringing it to the U.S. border is almost nonexistent,” the fact-checking site observed. “[T]he CDC and independent epidemiologists say there is zero evidence that these migrants are carrying the virus to the border.”
As the FoxNews.com article reported, a CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that calls to “hermetically seal this country” did not make sense.
“I can understand why people are scared of Ebola. It’s deadly. It’s gruesome death. It’s a terrible, merciless virus,” Frieden explained. “But I hope and I’m confident that our fears are not going to overwhelm our compassion.”
Listen to the audio below of Rep. Rokita speaking to WIBC. His Ebola remarks begin at around the 13:55 mark.
[A frightened lady. Photo: Shutterstock.com.]