Media ADHD

Richard Fernandez asks a question that has been nagging at a number of people: How did this stop being a story?

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. […] The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday, according to a Reuters news agency report. […] The UN health agency did not provide any explanation for the abrupt increase, but the figures, published on its website, appeared to include previously unreported deaths. […] … Just over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed in the forests of remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the WHO data that covered the three hardest-hit countries. …

Is it because the epidemic has remained geographically concentrated, that’s expected to hold, and Sierra Leone (where cases are “soaring” with the “country … reporting around 400 to 500 new cases each week for several weeks”) has been written off? Or is the world media scared it had begun to bore people?

As Anepigone writes (on an only tangentially related issue): “The Cathedral’s role is to instruct us on what we should want to think about, not what we would actually prefer to think about.”

Media systems aren’t even pretending to tell us what is happening anymore. What we should think is happening is now the whole of the narrative. Unless there’s a ‘teachable moment‘, there’s nothing.

ADDED: When it happens in Russia, it’s OK to notice it (in the mainstream media) — “Television is at the core of the present political system.”

December 5, 2014admin 16 Comments »


16 Responses to this entry

  • Mark Yuray Says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed the deafening silence on Ebola that began sometime about a month ago. From what I understand, we’re still looking at an exponential growth rate:


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 4:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • madhilldur Says:

    Ebola containment procedures:


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 7:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Maybe the media were never really interested in Ebola, but thought it would be a good distraction from the economy and foreign policy during the election season.


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 7:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Because Ebola is killing mostly black people and it’s NOT white, what are you going to write about?


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 7:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Tripletap Says:

    Maybe if Sharpton were to go to Africa and lead a protest…..


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 8:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    > Unless there’s a ‘teachable moment‘, there’s nothing.

    Narrative, narrative, narrative. Did I mention narrative?

    Ebola is thriving in certain African countries because Africans live in disgusting filth. (not great for the narrative)

    The UN, WHO, Nato, countless NGOs, and other saintly organizations who are charged with protecting the world’s precious Africans appear unable to curtail the outbreak. (also not great for the narrative)

    There was room for a few stories of progressive heroism, but that handsome young doctor saving lives abroad becomes a lot less sympathetic when his quest for self actualization brings an organ devouring virus to the New York subway system.

    The idea of foreign nationals bringing extremely unpleasant baggage along when they enter the US sparks a line of thinking that is terrible for the immigration narrative.

    On the plus side, the patterns of story selection in the creation of Cathedral narratives provides endless teachable moments for the neoreactionary.


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 8:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Media ADHD | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 8:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lord Auch Says:

    Counter-narrative: this seemed deliciously timed to highlight Obama’s incompetence in the recent US elections. As much as the Narrative propels forward the Democrat kith and kin, this story seems to have been a detriment to them and their’s.


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 9:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • peter connor Says:

    @Mark Yuray Right after Obama appointed an ebola “czar” who is actually a political operative…


    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Bingo. Good Catch. Ebola has been contained where it counts, the Narrative.


    Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 10:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    The big change is that people sat down and figured out the science: You can’t catch the bitch unless somebody barfs on you or you eat monkeys. So once it became clear it was non-contagious for people riding airplanes, it became a non-story. I figured that out after about 40 minutes of digging one night when the airline stocks were getting killed — and I don’t know shit about science. This was never a real story in the first place.


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    OK, but how did the media figure that out? Brains and logic aren’t their thing. Is it simply hysteria fatigue? Have to move on to something novel for awhile?


    Kgaard Reply:

    Yeah I was thinking about that. One factor may have been that nobody stopped traveling on planes. This crisis was put to a crowd-sourcing test and the crowd analyzed the data and let forth with a collective “meh.” So what reporter is gonna keep beating this story when you’ve got NO American cases, NO intercontinental transmission and NO-body who is American or European giving a goddamn?

    I was a reporter for several years in my 20s. The big lesson I learned is that reporters are fundamentally bad at math, statistics, probabilities, finance and business. (So if you want to advance in journalism the clear path is through the business desk.) It doesn’t surprise me at all that they were whipping this story for a while and then dropped it when the real-world feedback came back to them that … nobody cared and it was a non-story.

    Same principle as these Arctic ice-cap scares and all that bullshit. These people can’t ADD. They don’t understand probabilities, reversion to the mean, any of that stuff. So they are putty in the hands of sophists like Al Gore and his global-warming ilk.


    Posted on December 6th, 2014 at 5:09 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    If there is any one conspiracy theory that makes sense, it’s the media. The seamless coordination with which they drum up some stories and then kill them in unison tells you that this is no decentralized hivemind of Puritan zealots. Somebody is passing commands and they are being enforced in military fashion.


    Posted on December 6th, 2014 at 5:28 am Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    If it’s not new, and if it can’t be used to make Obama look good or Republicans look bad, it’s not news.


    Posted on December 6th, 2014 at 12:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Ebola more dangerous than imagined:


    Posted on December 9th, 2014 at 5:43 am Reply | Quote

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