, 11 tweets, 3 min read
1. The Trump-Fox feedback loop is dangerous in part because the network's hosts float conspiracy theories and bullshit that could panic the president if he's watching, with terrible consequences. We seem to have really dodged a bullet there this week. mediamatters.org/blog/2019/06/1…
2. There's an Ebola outbreak right now in Congo, with more than 2,000 confirmed cases. As they did during the 2014 outbreak, far-right conspiracy sites like Infowars and Gateway Pundit have been warning that undocumented immigrants crossing the Mexican border could be infected.
3. On Monday night, that conspiracy theory jumped to to Laura Ingraham's Fox News show. Her millions of viewers were exposed to fearmongering about the "public health concern" of Ebola-infected Congolese refugees spreading the disease in San Antonio.
4. Ingraham acknowledged that San Antonio officials say this doesn't make any sense and is impossible, but added, "why would we even put that to chance" and mocked the officials for "telling us, 'Don't worry tonight. It's okay.'"
5. These conspiracy theories are spreading widely. On Tuesday, Texas health officials formally rebuked the claim spreading on social media that there were confirmed cases of Ebola in the state, with one official calling it “patently false.” mysanantonio.com/news/texas/art…
6. This would just be a typical case of Fox News fanning the flames of panic -- bad but manageable -- but for one thing: The president of the United States is one of the network's extremely suggestible viewers.
7. Trump spent the 2014 Ebola outbreak watching cable news coverage and generating a widespread panic over whether it was going to be coming to the U.S., as @PoliticsReid has detailed: thehill.com/homenews/state…
8. Now he has the power of the federal government behind him. And we're basically forced to hope that Fox doesn't spend too much time on the Ebola outbreak and send him into a tailspin.
9. He doesn't seem to have been watching Ingraham's show. We got lucky. We might not get lucky the next time.
10. If an American who is providing medical aid in Congo catches the disease and is medevaced back to the U.S., and that event is subject to the fearmongering we saw in 2014, the results could be extremely bad. #end
P.S.: Twice last week, Tucker Carlson's show floated the idea that the Ebola outbreak makes Congolese refugees crossing the U.S.-Mexico border particularly dangerous.
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