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Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



Remember SARS or the West Nile Virus? Ah, those were the good old days.

Back when viruses left food sources alone.

Throughout my 15 years in the media business, it will never cease to amaze me how the national media feasts on situations from such a face-value perspective.

They are the masters of sensationalism, often stimulating wide-spread panic based on a small number of incidences.

I'm not asserting that things should be brushed under the rug, but certainly due diligence should always prevail when announcing something as detrimental as the H1N1 influenza.

Watching the national morning TV shows is like watching Chicken Little run around telling you the sky is falling.

You'll notice, on Page 4, I placed an editorial cartoon referencing the 'Swine Flu.' Honestly, I looked for one with an H1N1 fluenza representation -- no luck.

My point with running that editorial cartoon is that once the damage has been done, it's hard to change public perception.

If you read the Page 1 article that Karen Reisner wrote about the trickle-down affect this situation has had on our local pork producers, it's profound.

For most people, they have 'Swine' Flu ingrained in their brains. It's easier to say, and people can't paint a mental image of what an H1N1 looks like. I envision a super-sport nuclear missile, with spinners and a spoiler, aimed at the sun (just in case we need to turn out the lights).

See, now you have that ingrained in your brain, too. It kind of sucks. Once somebody tells you something, it's hard to get it out of your head.

So, about the only thing we can do to change the focus on H1N1 is stimulate the perception of a virus outbreak threatening a completely different industry.

Here it goes: I heard a local person was recently affected by the 'road kill' virus. Not sure which kind. Could have been possum. Could have been raccoon. Reports indicate you shouldn't eat any road kill unless it's been fully cooked. Don't let your kids play with any road kill, unless it was a domestic pet.

Spread the word.

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