NEW YORK -- “Ebola Hits New York,” screamed headlines across US media on Friday (including HuffPost) following news that a 33-year-old doctor had contracted the virus in Africa before unwittingly transporting it to Gotham.
Paranoia is rife stateside, with cable news shows devoting hours to the “outbreak” (currently four people out of 316 million), puffing the opinion of anyone willing to go on record and say the virus is perhaps more communicable that the much maligned Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has outlined.
However beyond the rational fear of disease, some commentators are using the “outbreak” for political capital ahead of next week’s mid-term elections, while employing the virus as fertilizer for two of America’s great cultural pastimes – "blaming Obama" and conspiracy theories.
Bewigged birther Donald Trump was quick to assign responsibility, tweeting on Thursday night:
Ebola has been confirmed in N.Y.C., with officials frantically trying to find all of the people and things he had contact with.Obama's fault— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2014
This was followed by a further tantrum:
I have been saying for weeks for President Obama to stop the flights from West Africa. So simple, but he refused. A TOTAL incompetent!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2014
Yet Trump’s late-night sulk was positively tame compared to some of the views being proffered in the God-infused sewers of America’s right wing madhouse.
Earlier this week, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told a radio show that Obama was “deliberately” pushing for an Ebola epidemic to take hold across the US so that the President could institute “martial law”.
Then there was Peter LaBarbera, a social conservative activist who runs the wonderfully named, “Americans for Truth about Homosexuality”, who last week made the handy connection between Ebola and homosexuality, arguing that as the government had made no plans to deal with AIDS (presumably by banning gay sex), they could not be trusted to handle Ebola.
"Condom-less anal sex and homosexual promiscuity are the two largest risk factors in the spread of disease," he said. "They can't even close down a bath house? I mean, they're not serious about that disease so why should we trust them on Ebola?"
Erik Rush, a man best know for making a joke about Muslims while the charred victims of the Boston Marathon bombings were still on the pavement, used a recent speech about Ebola to claim the president had “deep psychological problems”.
He said: “Last weekend, Obama addressed the threat to America from the Ebola virus during his weekly television and radio address. Leaving aside the gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations contained therein, what caught my attention was a photograph from the video of the address released by a news agency in which Obama looks completely deranged.”
And then there was the John Hagee, a senior Pastor from Texas whose brand of Christianity is more concerned with geopolitics than helping people, particularly when it comes to the borders of the Middle East. He decided to fuse end times theology, the Ebola virus and Israel into a toxic cocktail mixed by the man in the White House.
He squealed: "I want every American to hear this very clearly… our president is dead set on dividing Jerusalem. God is watching and he will bring America into judgment. There are grounds to say that judgment has already begun because he, the president, has been fighting to divide Jerusalem for years now."
And what form has this punishment taken? “The crisis of Ebola,” said an ageing Hagee, looking close to the Day of Judgment himself.
(H/T Right Wing Watch)