the national interest

Scientists Also Lying About Ebola, Explains George F. Will

Conservative newspaper columnist George Will poses on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism.
I only look like a professor. Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

George F. Will, award-winning columnist and distinguished Fox News panelist, is not a believer in the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming. And once you’ve decided that scientists routinely make shit up in order to advance a nefarious bureaucratic progressive agenda, there’s no end to the number of new conspiracies you’re going to discover. Appearing yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Will explained to his incredulous co-panelists that Ebola is actually far easier to transmit than the authorities are letting on:

The problem is, the original assumption was that with great certitude, if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids with someone, because it’s not airborne. There are now doctors who are saying, we’re not so sure that it can’t be in some instances transmitted by airborne

In fact, there are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious?

Neera Tanden, appearing on the panel, asked, “I’m sorry, who are the doctors saying this? I mean, we have — I mean, this is what I think is really important, that facts about this disease do not lead to panic. So far, every expert that I’ve seen has said—” At which point, Will, goaded by the appeal to scientific authority, interjected, “Every expert that you’ve seen. Here we go again.”

Will proceeded to cite the “University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease,” which, he claimed, supported his belief that Ebola could be transmitted through the air. Politifact explains that Will is once again garbling bits of fact and turning them into a falsehood.

It is true that the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy’s website published a commentary by two University of Illinois professors suggesting that health-care workers treating Ebola patients should wear respirators. The commentary was misinterpreted by various right-wing media, forcing the Center to post an update explaining that the commentary had been totally misconstrued (“CIDRAP has not made claims that ‘Ebola is Airbone’ or that ‘Ebola [is] Transmittable by Air.’”). Its authors likewise tell Politifact that Will has misinterpreted their work and they do not endorse his conclusion.

So even the renegade Freedom Doctors cited by Will turn out not to agree with him. Instead, they agree with “the Oxford Journal of Infectious Diseases and summaries issued by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

To their credit, Tanden and panel host Chris Wallace continued to point out that Will’s claims were fallacious. This merely seemed to deepen Will’s suspicions. “Again,” he replied with his characteristic sagacity, “we’re getting used to people declaring scientific debates closed over and settled; they rarely are.” Scientific debates will never be settled so long as George F. Will is around to unsettle them.

George Will: Scientists Also Lying About Ebola