Friday, August 1, 2014

Is the Mainstream Media the real Ebola?

                          "Summer Blockbuster" by American Artist Sean O.Wabich; Ink on Paper 70x100 cm

UPDATE: After we published this article, CNN changed its headline from "Ebola coming to U.S." TO "2 Americans infected with Ebola in Liberia coming to Atlanta hospital" We want to thank for this Stephen Goldstein who is a Ph.D student in Virology and Jim Clancy, CNN Correspondant & Anchor.

The only existing research that claims that the Ebola virus is airborne is the so called "Canadian Study" made by a group of Researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg which was published on 2012.

That's the study upon which the whole fearmongering campaign about Ebola was based.

Although what the majority of readers ignore is that the study was never acknowledged by the scientific community. 

The only publication that reported the Canadian Study was "Scientific Reports" a non-scientific publication hosted on the domain. Scientific Reports received the Canadian paper on April 2012 and published it on November 2012.

That's why is very easy to spread panic through the media on the Ebola virus: being a complex topic that requires a scientific background, the man on the street can only rely on what the media say.

It seemed to me that in the past few months the MSM (Mainstream Media) have been getting much uglier with their low-rent strategies. It seems they still think to live during the television-era when people were used to buy whatever they sold, but that time is well over.

We are in the Age of Sharing now, or the Time of Consciousness if you like. Although human beings, in particular terrestrials are a very combative species who love to persist in their sociopath behavior.

In the past few weeks we have been reading very depressive news: From Ukraine to Gaza, conflict escalation and casualties completely filled their headlines. 

Then miraculously, an Ebola outbreak threatens to come to our neighborhood, just like the Thriller intro voice-over by the late Vincent Price who was the undisputed king of the horror genre.

But this is not a music video, we are talking about News Media announcing a massive epidemic of a deadly hemorragic fever which according to the mainstream media was ready to come to our neighborhood to visit us with the next flight from West Africa. 

Like in the best disinformation tradition, in order to be trusted news media must report the source of their news-information. When it comes to a deadly virus like Ebola you must cite a scientific study that provides substantial evidence to your story.

All the media reports showed below they all based their alarming headlines on the Canadian Study, a non-scientific study made by a group of Canadian Researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Although being "Scientific Reports" a non-scientific blog hosted on the domain, average people might get confused. But if you are an Immunology Professor you know the difference between scientific and non-scientific and that's why we are here to report  to our readers what really happened.

What is really astonishing is that in the frontline of Disinformation we have nothing less than the BBC:

You have to be aware that most of the people just read headlines without reading the whole story, hence if 90% of the people only read the headlines, your disinformation mission can be considered accomplished.
Although if you read this article to the very end of it, you will find an italic written statement that says as follow: 

All content within this column is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this site. The BBC is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

This is another story, always by the BBC, which is still On-line by the way, written by a guy named Matt Mc Grath, who claims that there is a growing concern over "in the air " transmission of Ebola. 

The fact that the virus was not airborne was already out in the market, because Vox News released an interview with Prof. Art Reingold, the head of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley's School of  Public Health.

Prof. Reingold is a disease epidemiologist who has spent the last 30 years studying the prevention and control of infectious diseases around the world. 

According to Prof. Reingold: 

"People should not be concerned about Ebola spreading to the US or other wealthy countries. It's transmitted entirely through exposure to bodily fluids. In settings with Ebola, there's bleeding in a variety of places and the virus is present in those excretions, and people need to come into contact with that to get the virus. The people at risk are the family members who are taking care of sick people, those who are preparing bodies for burial, and health-care workers."

Nonetheless the mainstream media went on with their fearmongering tactics: 

Please take notice that this magazine's name is: "Scientific American Magazine"

After such a massive flow of disinformation was hitting the news market I immediately decided to respond by inquiring the World Health Organization on the matter. 

And they released this statement:

In the meanwhile I spoke to Professor Antonella d'Arminio Monforte who is the Head of the Division of Tropical and Infectious Diseases at the San Paolo University. 

By the way, when I talked to Professor D'Arminio she was at the Airport in the process of boarding a flight to Africa to spend her vacation holiday there. That says all on the danger of this African virus......

She confirmed the WHO position that the Ebola virus is not airborne. 

Although the question is still up: Why the media did not check the study was a non-scientific work?

A possible answer is they might have been misled by the fact that Scientific Reports is a publication hosted by the domain.  

According to Nature's website, "Scientific Reports is a publication hosted on — the home of over 80 journals published by Nature Publishing Group — Scientific Reports is open to all, publishing technically sound, original research papers of interest to specialists within their field, without barriers to access."

A representative from the Scientific Community advised me that "Scientific Reports editorial policy is the acceptance of papers that ensure the suitability to experimental science".

Iin practice he advised me not to rely on such a publication for any scientific purpose. Hence this study which is known since 2012 as "the Canadian Study" has never been included or re-published by any serious scientific publication. Hence the Canadian Study cannot be considered a scientific study. In particular, the media cannot rely on this study to alarm the world's population.

However the problem stays, because what happened with this fearmongering propaganda demonstrates that the establishment that drives the fear machine can count on the complicity of pseudo-scientific publications which are hosted on major scientific media outlet like Nature, the Telegraph, The BBC, The Scientific American and many others. 

Like in the Edward Snowden's case, the whole media system immediately agreed to trust the fact that Edward Snowden was/is a real leaker. We are assisting to the same comedy show: the mainstream media spreading terror to the world's population with false information and without having a single scientific evidence that the virus is airborne, quiet the contrary.

E Pluribus Unum


  1. Great blog! I'm tired of living in society of media induced paranoia and skewed perspectives. It's the cause of most of our problems.