Ebola and the politics of fearBreaking News
Rhetoric aimed at frightening voters is a time-honored technique. President Johnson had his “Daisy Girl” nuclear ad. President Reagan had a “bear in the woods,” a symbol of the Soviet Union. The second President Bush used wolves as a post-9/11 metaphor for lurking terrorists.
This campaign season, it’s the arrival of Ebola in the United States that has ramped up fear, handing politicians an arresting new talking point. Republicans accuse the Obama administration of incompetence. Democrats say GOP budget-cutting has hampered the government response. In one of the few TV ads focused on Ebola, the liberal Agenda Project uses graphic images from West Africa, interspersed with Republican politicians saying “cut.”
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