There's a right way to be concerned about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa right now.
And there's a wrong way — one that's on display at Fox News, Breitbart.com and other conservative news outlets.
Somehow conservative spinmeisters who craft the daily talking points have linked Ebola to their favorite bogeyman: the dark-skinned other who, probably at this very moment, is creeping across our southern border to spread diseases.
Some have taken that meme one step further, to paint the thousands of refugee children from Central America detained by immigration authorities as potential Ebola vectors. A group of Indiana congressmen sent a letter to the president asking about the health of 245 migrant kids sent to that state. One of them, Rep. Todd Rokita, suggested on a radio show that those kids might be carrying Ebola. He later claimed he didn't mean it.
Surely a congressperson knows that West Africa is an ocean away from Central America.
Yes, we should all be concerned about the fourth – and deadliest yet – outbreak of this terrifying disease that is killing about 60% of those infected. So far, 887 people in four West African countries — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — have died. And, yes, authorities should take extra precaution with sick people who have recently traveled to, or come from, one of the four African countries where the disease is spreading. So far, the disease has not spread out of Africa.
Still, the United Nation's World Health Organization is warning that the outbreak is spinning out of control.
That's sobering, but it doesn't have to be scary. Ebola, for all of its potency, is fairly easy to avoid. It's not airborne; it takes direct contact with bodily fluids to contract the disease.
The aid is starting to flow. On Monday, the World Bank said it would provide up to $200 million for the four West African countries to better fight the spread of Ebola before it can travel widely. Tuesday, President Barack Obama promised $33 billion in U.S. private and public assistance to help build up African economies, which can only help stop this and future spread of disease. This is the response that will keep this outbreak from turning into a global pandemic, not the abject fear mongering that seems so popular among some.