I never used to criticize the media. Never. I felt as if I should be loyal to my profession, so I assumed those attacking the press were idiots looking for an easy hit.

No more.

I despise TV news. And nothing represents this better than the coverage of the swine flu. In short, how about not looking so damn excited? People are getting sick and dying, and half the reporters I see on the tube appear thrilled to scare the living f%$# out of you. Seriously, I’m still waiting for someone—anyone?—to explain, literally, how dangerous this really is; how real the threat of death might be and how much more worried people should be of this than of the normal, everyday flu that kills shitloads of folks.

I actually e-mailed a doctor pal of mine, and this is what he wrote back. Found it more informative than anything from CNN, MSNBC, etc …

Hey Man,
Agree, media has way overblown. Definitely not a bam you die thing. Here’s my take from the info I’ve been getting daily from the CDC, the Dept of Health and media I’ve been following; seem like the cases that have been contracted primarily in the US haven’t been so severe as those in Mexico. So far the only death in the US seems to have been in a toddler who probably contracted in Mexico. I’m not sure any of the confirmed cases contracted in the US have even been hospitalized. The concern when this first came to light was the 10% death rate in the cases in Mexico. It also seemed that those who died were reportedly young healthy adults. Keep in mind the flu kills thousands to tens of thousands each year, you never hear about this though. The dead are usually children, the elderly and the infirm. Young adults dying made this very scary. Doesn’t seem to be the case here in the US. The experts don’t seem to know why. Flu typically kills more in less developed countries so maybe that’s why. So my take is be concerned, plenty of hand sanitizer. I plan to wear a mask at home if I get a febrile illness in the next few weeks. I don’t want to spread this to my kids. The antiviral medicine seems to work for this as well. We’re having issues with supply here so that may be a problem. Wearing a surgical mask to protect yourself hasn’t been proven. It’s good for preventing those who are infected from spreading though. Don’t quote me on this, I’m certainly not a flu expert, just an ER doc whose been inundated in an already overtaxed ER. Everyone with a cough, sniffles or fever thinks they have swine flu and are clogging the already overcrowded ERs. The panic that has come from this is pretty scary. All that being said, I had the flu 10 years ago and it really sucked so I hope to avoid it this time.

A final thought: This evening someone e-mailed me “rumors” about the swine flu, and I wanted to kill her. Perhaps this is World War III: Germs vs. Humans. Perhaps it’s not. But the need to fan flames is crazy …