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KOCO Channel 5: Ebola cases possible in Oklahoma City

8:42 AM EDT on October 9, 2014

As you know, there's nothing the local TV news loves more than to unnecessarily drum up fear, panic and hysteria about things you really don't need to worry about. It's good for ratings, good for web traffic and really good for advertising revenue. Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised when we see shit like this pop up on Channel 5's Twitter and Facebook account:

dr oz ebola scare

Yes, Ebola cases are possible in Oklahoma City... because Dr. Oz, a TV personality who conveniently has a syndicated TV show that also airs on Channel 5, said so. Sound the Saturday afternoon tornado sirens and take cover! We're all going to die!!!

So, in what parts of town are we more likely to catch the virus? Where are people showing symptoms? What comes first? Fever, open sores or Dustin Hoffman with a vaccine?

Check out the report for more details:

Dr. Oz: Ebola cases possible in Oklahoma City

President Barack Obama announced Monday that the U.S. government will heighten screenings at U.S. airports to help detect those infected before they enter the country.

The move comes in an attempt to assuage fears about a possible Ebola outbreak in the country.

In an exclusive interview with KOCO morning co-anchor Erielle Reshef, Dr. Oz addressed the rampant virus.

“The big risk with Ebola, and by the way this won't be the last time Ebola comes to this country, so even if it's Dallas now it might be Oklahoma City next week. There are going to be more people trying to leave West Africa who have the virus,” he warned.

Ohhhh, so what Dr. Oz is saying is that it's possible the Ebola virus may some day be in Oklahoma City just like it's possible that Oklahoma City may some day be obliterated by a meteorite, nuclear bomb or fracking-induced earthquake. Thanks for the informative report, Channel 5. I guess we know who the frontrunner is for the Heartland Emmy in Excellence in Misleading News Headlines and Fear Mongering.

Seriously, what a joke. Are ratings and ad revenue so important that you have to create a blatantly misleading headline just to get a few hundred page views? I'd like to point out that the tweet was retweeted 171 times, and their Facebook post with the misleading headline was shared over 800 times. Considering people rarely click the link in those posts who knows how many of your co-workers are wearing masks and think there is a serious Ebola threat in Oklahoma City.

Of course, KOCO isn't the only TV news outlet to resort to fear with sensational reporting. Remember, we always have the KFOR Social Media Bandit to scare us.

Ebola: Are you safe at the Red River Shootout from the deadly virus?

In just a matter of days, tens of thousands of Sooner fans will be headed to the OU-Texas game in Dallas, where the nation’s first Ebola patient diagnosed on American soil is being treated.

Many fans are now wondering if they should be concerned about the illness coming back with them to the Sooner State.

First of all, I'd give KFOR's effort on Ebola fear mongering a solid "B." As opposed to taking an out-of-context quote and framing it as a serious warning, they went with the "ridiculous, fear inducing question in the form of a headline" route. That's a rookie move, but still pretty solid.

As opposed to what KFOR reports, I don't think "many" fans are "concerned" that they are going to catch Ebola at the Texas State Fair. Well, at least they weren't concerned until the watched the news, otherwise KFOR would have interviewed one of them for this manufactured "Hey, Ebola is a hot topic. Let's squeeze out a local news story about it" story. That being said, I do think the TV news reporters, general managers and social media bandits out there want us to be scared of Ebola so that they'll watch the news and click on links to the station's website for updates, but hey, that's just me.

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