A New York doctor named Craig Spencer has returned from Guinea infected with Ebola, and even the New York Post doesn't seem to be trying to stir up panic -- its lead story is measured, there's a "10 facts about Ebola" list that's reasonable and responsible, and the Ebola editorial avoids hysteria, and takes only a mild swipe at the Obama administration. If that's the worst we get, we're going to be in good shape.
There's far less fearmongering out there than I would have expected -- though Doug Powers, at Michelle Malkin's site, seems to be rooting for fear:
Number of people saying 'do not panic' about Ebola might be about to drop now that it's in NYCActually, no. It's not going to happen here -- at least it's not going to happen among people who aren't trying to stir up panic for political gain, which even the Post isn't doing yet. We lived through 9/11. We lived through anthrax. You watched those moments on TV in the breakfast nook, Doug and Michelle. So shut the hell up.
... The MSM's approach is about to swing wildly:
Now we get to watch smug NYC journos who were lecturing everyone else not to freak out about Ebola...freak out about Ebola.— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 24, 2014
Maybe it's not that we're so tough -- we're just dealing with something that's become real for us. Fearmongering is easy when you're sending fear out into a population you're not a part of. The on-air personalities at Fox can cynically stir up viewers' fears because the Foxers themselves don't really lose sleep worrying that Ebola-infected undocumented Mexican-Muslims will overrun their cushy suburban homes and then vote illegally on absentee ballots obtained by the New Black Panthers and ACORN. It's a remote fear for them, so they can callously stir it up. The same goes for the usual CNN fearmongering -- it's out there. But this is real in New York, and the normal human reaction is kicking in: we're seeking answers, we're looking for reassurances, and we're sharing the best information we have. Our sense of fellow-feeling is kicking in.
And we actually want our leaders to do a good job (even Giuliani-haters rooted for him after 9/11). It's not like the last six years of American politics, when right-wingers wanted the government to fail, and wanted the economy not to recover for ordinary workers, because that served their purposes and they assumed they wouldn't suffer any negative consequences as a result. We know there's a slightly elevated risk for ourselves and our neighbors. We want the public response to be a success.
We'll be fine. Now you go panic.
UPDATE: Back in 2007, Barbara at the Mahablog told Michelle Malkin what she could do with her effort to turn New Yorkers into quivering cowards on the subject of terrorism. Go read.