Is everyone tired of news channels screaming at you that Ebola is the most terrifying threat to humanity since Snooki got knocked up, and we should all not leave the house unless we’re sealed up inside our own airtight hamster balls?

Then don’t turn on CNN, which is now turning to fiction writer Robin Cook to scare the living bejesus out of its viewers. Next up: Wolf Blitzer will interview Stephen King about precautions you should take to guard against werewolf attacks during the next full moon.

Oh sure, Robin Cook is a doctor -– of ophthalmology. Which hasn’t stopped Rand Paul from pretending he knows his ass from a hole in the ground, and look how far he’s gotten! And Cook did once write a book about an Ebola outbreak titled, creatively, Outbreak. So maybe he did his research and knows what he’s talking about?

On the other hand, the book was published in 1987. And it involved a conspiracy of doctors purposely planting the virus in health care centers to cause a crisis for some weird reason, which we’re pretty sure is not the case here. (Though Barack Obama is purposely allowing Ebola into America to make the country more like a Third World shithole and apologize for colonialism, but duh, that’s just common sense.) Might there be some medical professionals who have more up-to-date research on highly transmittable hemorrhagic fevers that CNN could call than a guy who wrote a novel about it 27 years ago? Probably, but where’s the fun in that?

The interview does not get off to a promising start when the first question out of Don “Maybe a Black Hole Swallowed That Plane” Lemon’s mouth is, “Are we going overboard here?”

Cook, who has no vested interest in keeping people terrified of medical mysteries, answers, “I don’t think we are. I think that something like Ebola, this type of illness, is probably the scariest thing we can deal with.”

It’s pretty much downhill from there, as Lemon asks Cook why he basically accused the Centers for Disease Control of lying about having this recent outbreak well in hand. Lying, incompetent government bureaucrats! What a great plot element ... er, scary real-life possibility that every CNN viewer should fear. The two men then try to compare the Ebola outbreak to AIDS and get as far as 1) they are both viruses, 2) they are both deadly (eventually), and 3) both started in “the bush” and jumped to humans. Great analysis, guys.

If there is a silver lining for us, it is that being terrible has not helped CNN’s ratings over the last few years, but that has not stopped the plucky network from trying to get worse. Seriously, at this point it has to be intentional, right? You don’t bring Newt Gingrich to your news channel and put him on a nightly political chat show if you are trying to not suck. We look forward to all the eye rolls CNN will inspire for the foreseeable future.

[Media Matters]


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