Turning on the news the morning, hoping for a quick look at the traffic and weather, I watched a few minutes of Good Morning America. One of the lead stories? THE KILLER COLD THAT IS KILLING PEOPLE WITH ITS INSANE KILLING RAGE. Also, they promised to tell me the symptoms. As I've been coming down with a cold, I thought it might be worth watching.
The cited the number of people infected (~100), the number of people in ICU (~50) and the number of people killed by the COLD PANDEMIC (~10). They showed pictures of a little tiny baby, one of which succumbed, as well as an old person, in case any viewers didn't know what babies or old people looked like. They had some comments from a very doctory looking doctor. They closed by telling us that the last confirmed case was in the Spring.
First of all, to paraphrase Terry Prachett, that wasn't news, that was olds. Second, they never described the symptoms, so no one watching could know whether they had it, or just a regular cold. Given the fact that millions of people probably have colds right now, and there hasn't been a confirmed case of the COLD PANDEMIC in six months, I'm probably safe, but that wasn't the point, was it? Fear, Uncertainty and Dispair - that's it.
It was completely devoid of any possible useful information - intentionally so.
They could have used that time to talk about the substance of the debate last night, instead of showing an ad starring the Clintons, and Hillary's comment, "This is an asbestos pantsuit." They could have talked about GWB's most recent craven veto. Or looked critically at his claims that the Congress is spending money like teenagers. Or they could have looked critically at the Democrats ideas for the war in iraq, Health Care and other important news.
Instead, they convinced ten thousand hypochondriacs to make an emergency appointment with their doctors. God damn they make me sick.