The Campaign Spot

Oh, Look, a Presidential Statement on Ebola Didn’t Pan Out.

President Obama, September 16: 

I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.  We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.  In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. 

As I wrote in August:

[Statements like this] would be more reassuring if our government hadn’t already gotten into the habit of assuring us “all is well” when it clearly wasn’t — i.e., former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assuring us “the system worked” in the case of the underwear bomber, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest recently speaking of the administration “substantially improving” the “tranquility of the global community,” Obama’s May boast that “our ability to mobilize international opinion rapidly has changed the balance and the equation in Ukraine” or his 2012 declaration that the private sector is “doing fine.” The problem with multiple years of implausible spin and happy talk is that when you tell the truth on an important matter, you can’t dispel the doubts.

Americans aren’t really sure their government is giving them the whole story. They have good reason for that wariness.

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