Today’s blog is wee rant about how the media is currently reporting on Ebola and asks the question, do they have a responsibility to put it into perspective?
Nearly every evening this week I’ve had to spend time reassuring my twelve year old that he’s not going to be struck down by Ebola. You’d have to live in a cave to have avoided the press coverage around this disease and having seen the newspaper headlines my son is completely convinced he’s going to be its first UK victim.
And it would seem my son isn’t the only one worried. Today there was a story in the press about a Dad who is keeping his daughter off school because she isn’t allowed to wear a face mask. TV presenter Jonathan Ross also recently announced that he’s just received delivery of surgical masks, anti-bacterial hand gel and even full-on protective outer garments to ward off the disease should he and his family be exposed to it.
Now I’m not understating the severity of this disease and the catastrophic effect it is having in Africa and the media is only doing its job on reporting about it. However, although there’s a lot of emphasis on how it is fast spreading around the world and into Europe, we’re actually being told little about how the likelihood of catching it in this country is minimal.
Now, the reality is that Ebola is extremely unlikely to spread throughout the UK. Even if it does reach our shores we are lucky enough to have a healthcare system that is prepared and equipped to deal with the disease and contain it very quickly. It’s not even that easy to catch as it’s not an air borne virus.
Now as grown-ups (most of us) are used to seeing hard hitting headlines on a daily basis and are wise enough to investigate the full facts and understand that headlines can often be a little (or a lot) misleading but as I’ve learnt this week the average impressionable twelve year old and clearly some adults don’t necessarily understand this. I do think the media needs to take responsibility for this hysteria and start to use its power to educate as well as inform.
Fiona Whyatt has worked in B2B PR for many years. She loves blogging!