It’s the in­com­pe­tence, Stupid

There’s no Ebola panic, but the pub­lic’s mea­sured judg­ment of Obama’s bungling

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Tammy Bruce

There are a few things in the world that we know for sure, in­clud­ing the ex­is­tence of Ebola, what those in­fected go through, and the fact that, as of now, there is no cure or of­fi­cial univer­sal treat­ment that mit­i­gate its fa­tal­ity rate said to be around 70 per­cent. There is some­thing else, how­ever, that has also cap­tured the head­lines that doesn’t ac­tu­ally seem to ex­ist: panic and hys­te­ria about Ebola. If you Google the phrase “Ebola panic” you get 124,000 re­sults. At this rate, many Americans are likely look­ing out their win­dows wait­ing for this sto­ried panic thing to ar­rive. So far, it hasn’t.

There is, how­ever, a method to the mad­ness in the pan­icked re­port­ing by some lib­eral me­dia and hys­ter­i­cal com­ments by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion de­mand­ing that Americans stop do­ing some­thing they’re not — they want Americans to equate ask­ing ques­tions and mak­ing judg­ments with panic and hys­te­ria.

This is not a new ap­proach. His­tor­i­cally, women have been marginal­ized by be­ing as­sessed as pan­icky when we en­gage in de­bate, or chal­lenge lead­er­ship and the sta­tus quo. The Obama regime is now ap­ply­ing that in­fan­tiliz­ing meme to the Amer­i­can peo­ple as a whole. They’ve en­joyed not be­ing ques­tioned for too long, and they know their in­com­pe­tence can only be hid­den if ques­tion and judg­ment cease.

Those in charge are ir­ri­tated that Americans don’t like what they see and are not im­pressed with the smug, clue­less in­com­pe­tence ex­hib­ited by vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one at the fed­eral level. After years of be­ing mis­led on a num­ber of im­por­tant na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues such as Beng­hazi we now sim­ply do not trust the peo­ple whose first in­cli­na­tion is to mis­lead us about se­ri­ous is­sues. That’s not panic. It’s called judg­ment. This knee-jerk ef­fort to pa­tron­ize the Amer­i­can peo­ple fits the ap­proach of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion per­fectly. In bring­ing up fail­ures of those in charge and de­mand­ing an­swers, we are ac­cused of be­ing hys­ter­ics. This should, in their mind, shut us up. Lib­eral and so­cial­ist states never fare well when peo­ple peek be­hind the cur­tain and ask ques­tions. In Euro­pean and Latin Amer­i­can so­cial­ist utopias, those sorts of peo­ple tend to go miss­ing. Here, the at­tempt is to bully and at­tack peo­ple into si­lence.

At Fox News, a net­work with which I am proud to work, news an­chor Shep­ard Smith is be­ing praised for a seg­ment he did on Ebola. Over at Roll Call, their head­line re­flects the gen­eral re­ac­tion: “Fox News Gets It Right About Ebola Hys­te­ria.” In his seg­ment, Mr. Smith does a great job de­tail­ing the sit­u­a­tion, re­mind­ing peo­ple that only two health care work­ers are in­fected and that Ebola is not rag­ing through the United States.

“Do not lis­ten to the hys­ter­i­cal voices on the ra­dio or tele­vi­sion or read the fear pro­vok­ing words on­line. The peo­ple who write and say hys­ter­i­cal things are be­ing ir­re­spon­si­ble …” urged Mr. Smith. I agree, and while there may be a per­son or two in the me­dia be­ing con­spir­a­to­rial, the fact is, the rest of Amer­ica is not.

Yet, ev­ery day we are faced with ad­di­tional ev­i­dence that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC), is wing­ing its re­sponse to Ebola. At first, we are told any hos­pi­tal could han­dle the virus. Now, the two af­flicted nurses have been moved to Emory Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal in At­lanta and the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health near Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for treat­ment. Dr. Thomas Frieden, di­rec­tor of the CDC, con­veyed just last week, ac­cord­ing to CN­SNews.com, that “you can­not get Ebola by sit­ting next to some­one on a bus, but that in­fected or ex­posed per­sons should not ride pub­lic trans­porta­tion be­cause they could trans­mit the dis­ease to some­one else.”

Non­sen­si­cal ar­gu­ments about why they won’t im­ple­ment a travel ban to a nurses’ union ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor stat­ing that the White House and the CDC have “lied” to and “ig­nored” them and their con­cerns, shock the conscience dur­ing such a se­ri­ous time.

Th­ese are the rea­sons why Americans are ask­ing ques­tions and mak­ing judg­ments. A story in The New York Times used the phrase “pan­icked over­re­ac­tions” to de­scribe the choices some par­ents were mak­ing when fac­ulty or stu­dents at schools had been pas­sen­gers on the flight one of the nurses took. One fa­ther took his child out of school for a time and was quoted say­ing, “Every­body is con­cerned and won­der­ing how it will af­fect their chil­dren.”

This was la­beled “panic” in The New York Times story. It’s not. It’s a rea­son­able re­ac­tion from a par­ent, es­pe­cially when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment seems to have no grip on the sit­u­a­tion.

This at­tempt to con­flate decision-mak­ing and judg­ment with hys­te­ria is not only wrong, it’s in­sult­ing. We are a na­tion with a dra­matic his­tory, in­clud­ing wars, dis­ease and eco­nomic melt­downs. De­spite the in­com­pe­tence of politi­cians, not once have the peo­ple been un­done by some sort of hys­ter­i­cal break­down.

The world wars, a civil war, the Cold War, mis­sile crises, AIDS and, of course, Septem­ber 11. We’ve seen it all and emerged vic­to­ri­ous, with our dig­nity in­tact. Politi­cians, how­ever, can’t al­ways say the same.

Yet, the so-called elite point fin­gers, ac­cus­ing the ir­ri­tat­ing and noisy masses of pan­icked hys­te­ria for dar­ing to look, and ask, and judge. They bet­ter get used to it, be­cause some­one has got to be in charge, and the fu­ture is some­thing we will not aban­don to a sys­tem that prefers to hide its in­com­pe­tence. Tammy Bruce is a ra­dio talk-show host, au­thor and Fox News contributor.

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