Sunday, November 9, 2014

WSOC-TV Fear Mongering Ebola on Facebook

Update: As of 10:00 am (9 Nov), WSOC-TV has quietly deleted their fear mongering Facebook post (can't wait for the conspiracy nuts to get a hold on this), but the incendiary photo remains on their website.

Ebola fear mongering is good for TV ratings, and there's no better way to spread fear than with a scary Facebook photo. So in case you're wondering, here's how a two-bit local news station in Charlotte gets 562 shares* on a Facebook post in just 10 hours (overnight):

The photo was accompanied by a link to this story.
OMG, it's coming to Charlotte! We're all going to die!

Thankfully they received a lot of crap about this in the comments.

And this....
  • "It won't be long now!"
  • "Ebola is in your flu shots."
  • "Could this be the end? Will ebola go everywhere and kill humankind or can it be animals too? Is this when god sent us to die?"
  • "WHY do they CONTINUE to ship these people all over the country???? If u DON'T believe in population control, from the govt, you'd better wake da hell up and open your eyes. ITS REAL!!!"
  • "Quit letting these people in the country , damn do they want it to spread here."
  • "Dont make no sense bringing that patient to Charlotte. What is really going on? Is this about money for the drug reps, population control, or putting Fear in the American people."
  • "oh no my husband is very very sick with 15percent lung function and I need to go home for thanksgiving the dr. already want him on a resperator it is not looking good for him lord please don't let that ebola get to my husband thanks !!!!"
  • "Send them to Nurse Freak in Maine"
WSOC: please add this Scientific American blog post to your reading list:
"Not to be too crass, but there’s always money to be made in fear mongering. I’m sure the click-thru rates go up for a story with a bold title about journalists, we need to take a step back and analyze the bigger picture...Something like Ebola takes the old adage 'If it bleeds, it leads' to a whole new level...As journalists, we need to do better than this. 
 - Theresa MacPhail
And maybe follow the Charlotte Observer's lead next time...

* Comparing WSOC's post numbers to posts by WCNC and WBTV.

Page Likes Post Shares Hours Live Shares Per Hour
WCNC 202,941 16 3 5.3
WBTV 124,030 26 7 3.7
WSOC 171,948 562 10 56.2

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