Journalists Must Think Critically About Coverage Of Health, Development Issues

Vox: Ebola was incredibly important to TV news until Republicans decided it shouldn’t be
Matthew Yglesias, Vox senior correspondent

“The large, ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not attracting much coverage on American television news because TV news producers believe (likely for good reason) that the American viewing public is not incredibly interested in public health in sub-Saharan Africa. That said, there was a time when TV news covered Ebola in Africa a lot: in the immediate runup to the 2014 midterms, when Republican Party political operatives decided that trying to alarm people about Ebola would be a good way to win votes. … Today, of course, a new ongoing Ebola outbreak that happens to coincide with a U.S. midterm election is not something the Republican Party wants to emphasize in its midterm messaging. Consequently, the question of African public health continues to languish in its customary obscurity. … When pressed as to why they are allowing President Trump to serve as their assignment editor, most reporters tend to say that presidential statements are inherently newsworthy — if Trump says something is a national emergency, then that’s big news. I would urge people involved in the industry to think about this question honestly…” (10/23).

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