In the field of politics, it seems that lying is just part of the game. And honestly as we take a look back at 2014, there were so many Republican lies carelessly bantered about that it really is difficult to choose just one. The mid-term election cycle alone provided us with countless whoppers. But according to Politifact, the biggest lie of 2014 was all about Ebola.
Of course the the award for aggressively spreading these blatant irresponsible lies should absolutely go to Fox News and Republican politicians. They made it their mission earlier this fall to spread fear and mass hysteria across the country. And they did it just in time for the mid-term elections. Go figure.
Some of the most repeated Ebola lies were that
- it’s easy to catch
- illegal aliens and terrorists were carrying the virus across our southern border
- ISIS was planning on using Ebola to attack us
- we were about to face an uncontrollable epidemic
- the whole thing was some sort of government conspiracy
Obviously none of these turned out to be true. But unfortunately that didn’t stop righties from repeatedly insisting they were factually correct. And it also didn’t stop Republican voters from believing it.
The Fox News analyst and right wing extremist, George Will, insisted that we were all being lied to by our government and health officials. He claimed that Ebola was actually much easier to catch than we were being told. And he insisted that it could really be spread through a simple cough or sneeze and that you could be up to 3 feet away from the carrier. Will continually made the point that direct contact with bodily fluid was not the only way to contract the virus.
According to Will,
“The problem is the original assumption, said with great certitude if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone, because it’s not airborne. There are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious.”
This of course is completely false.
And then we have Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky. He claimed that Ebola was not only very easy to catch and extremely contagious, but also that it was “very transmissible.”
And again this is a total lie.
Several Republican politicians, including Senator John McCain, tried to say that the only real liar was President Obama. They repeatedly accused Obama of promising that this country would remain Ebola-free and that no case of Ebola would ever reach American soil. But the truth is that Obama didn’t actually make those claims.
But personally some of my favorite lies came from right wing conspiracy theorists. They successfully spread rumors like President Obama was really orchestrating the entire epidemic and that he wanted to allow as many sick Africans into the country as possible because he’s really a ‘reverse racist.’ Another one that I found particularly amusing was the claim that the Ebola outbreak was actually started in a bioweapons lab which was funded by George Soros and Bill Gates. Naturally.
Of course Fox News can take credit for being the main source for the scary reporting. But they were getting most of their ridiculous information directly from Republican politicians. The real reason that the Republicans wanted to spread fear and panic throughout the nation was because they knew that fear would result in voters totally losing trust in the government, which in turn could win them elections. And it didn’t hurt anything that Fox’s ratings increased the more they reported the lies.
The big picture turned out to be that when you combine all of these falsehoods together, the end result was that many Americans were close to outright panic. As a nation we went from thinking that Ebola was virtually no threat at all to then believing that we were facing the apocalypse. And remarkably, as soon as the mid-term elections were over, all of the Ebola fear mongering and hysteria inducing talk of the deadly virus disappeared. Funny how that worked out, huh?