Aug 302009
Authors: Josh Phillips, Ian Bezek

Swine Flu coverage is overdone

By Josh Phillips

On May 3, 2009, Yahoo! News posted an article that should have completely shattered your reality, because it suggested that swine flu was the next global killer – or not.

This article, taken from Deseret News, is a prime example of the mass media’s lack of discretion. The careless headline reads, “Is swine flu the next global killer? Could be – or not, experts say.”

Here we have a typical “experts say” clause that suggests you are receiving the most current information on the issue. But this does not assure the common reader anything about the actual issue, since these experts are just as indecisive as Schr/dinger is about his cat.

A simple search for swine flu in your favorite internet browser will reveal that the H1N1 virus has a mortality rate much, much lower than the seasonal flu. Out of the roughly 250,000 people diagnosed this year, only around 2,000 have died as a result. Compare this to the average 500,000 who die yearly from seasonal flu.

But you won’t hear this sort of news from the media. Instead, you’ll hear about how swine flu will be the death of us all. Just remember how long it took them to revert to its “official” title, H1N1, despite the overwhelming number of people who still thought it was transmitted through the consumption of pork.

Don’t fret when the media tells you that you’re going to die – it’s an attempt to be the flashiest and most interesting network out there. And don’t forget that you didn’t die from avian flu, despite the news assuring you that you would.

Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

Swine Flu coverage has been mostly beneficial

By Ian Bezek

I agree with Josh that the media’s coverage of the swine flu has gotten to be a bit excessive. Calling the swine flu “the next global killer” is absurd.

However, I don’t fault the media for covering the swine flu. Most of the coverage has been level-headed and informative, rather than being of the more fear-mongering persuasion.

While the swine flu, at least to this point, appears to be more of a nuisance than a threat, any disease capable of infecting half our nation’s population, no matter how mild the symptoms, is worthy of respect.

And the media’s coverage has created helpful awareness of the dangers of the flu, swine or more regular strains.

If people are more aware of how easily germs spread and take preventative steps, such as hand-washing, as a result of the media hype, then we will have benefited.

If I get one less cold this fall because of the media telling people to be careful about spreading germs, I’ll be pleased.

The media should never lower itself to the point that it creates a panic to boost its ratings or sell more advertisements. However, if the media thoughtfully covers a potential problem, we are better off.

While we obviously don’t need to go to our classes wearing gas masks, we should still have respect for such a contagious disease as swine flu.

Hopefully our media will continue to cover the swine flu danger without resorting to fear and panic to create excitement.

Editorials Editor Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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