Wednesday Morning: Full of Whoa

CapagnoloFrontBrakes_BillGracey-FlickrWhoa. Halt. Stop. The brakes need firm application, even mid-week.

Zika virus infects media with crappy reporting
I can’t tell you how many times in the last 24 hours I yelled at my computer, “Are you f****** kidding me with this crap?” With so many news outlets focused on hot takes rather than getting the story right, stupidity reached pandemic levels faster than mosquito-borne viruses. And all because Dallas County health officials and the Center for Disease Control used the words “sexually transmitted” in reference to a new Zika case in the U.S.

The following sampling of heds, tweets, and reports? WRONG.

  • US reports first case of sexually transmitted Zika in Texas (Gizmodo, io9)
    [Not the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S., just the first in Texas]
  • First US case of the Zika virus infection was sexually transmitted, officials say (Verge)
    [Not the first U.S. case of Zika virus]
  • The first known case of the #ZikaVirus contracted within the US confirmed in Dallas (Newsweek)
    [Not the first known case of Zika contracted within the U.S.]
  • The first case of the #ZikaVirus contacted within the US was through sexual transmission (Newsweek)
    [Neither the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S. or the first contracted within the U.S.]
  • The First Sexually Transmitted Case of the Zika Virus Is Confirmed in Texas (Slate)
    [Not the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S.]

The first case in which Zika virus was contracted inside the continental U.S. occurred in 2008. This was the first sexual transmission of the virus in the continental U.S. as well. Scientist Brian Foy had been studying Zika in Senegal during an outbreak; he had been infected by the virus, became ill, and was still carrying the virus when he came home to Colorado. His wife became infected though she had not traveled abroad, had not been bitten by a mosquito, and children residing in their home did not contract the virus. More details on the case can be found here.

The first cases of Zika virus in the U.S. in this outbreak were not locally transmitted inside the U.S., but contracted outside the continental 48 states and diagnosed on return here. States in which cases have been reported include Hawaii, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, and now Texas — in the case of the traveler who brought the disease home and infected their partner through sex.

It’s incredible how very little effort many news outlets put into researching the virus’ history or the case in Texas. Bonus points to Newsweek for trying to get it wrong in multiple tweets for the same story.

Best reporting I’ve read so far has been WaPo’s piece on the new Dallas cases, and WIRED’s collection of Zika reports. The CDC’s site on the Zika virus can be found here.

Gonna’ be a massive Patch Day for F-35 sometime soon
Whether or not Monday’s earthshaking sonic booms over New Jersey were generated by F-35 test flights, there’s still a long and scary list of bugs to be fixed on the fighter jet before it is ready for primetime. Just read this; any pilot testing these now is either a stone-cold hero, or a crazed numbnuts, and they’d better weigh between 136 and 165 pounds to improve their odds of survival.

Oral Roberts University mandates students wear FitBits for tracking
Guess the old “Mark of the Beast” is interpreted loosely at ORU in Oklahoma. Fitness is measured on campus by more than theological benchmarks. Begs the question: who would Jesus monitor?

The last straw: Fisher Price Wi-Fi-enabled toys leave kids’ info out in the open
Fisher Price is the fourth known manufacturer of products aimed at children and their families in which the privacy and safety of children were compromised by poor information security. In this case, Smart Toy Bears are leaking information about their young owners. Maybe it’s about time that either the FCC or FTC or Congress looks into this trend and the possibility toy makers are not at all concerned with keeping their youngest customers safe.

EDIT: #FlintWaterCrisis
Forgot to note the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on lead contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan at 9:00 a.m. EST. C-SPAN3 will carry the hearing live.

Tap the brakes a few more times before you take off, eh? It’s all downhill from here.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
7 replies
  1. galljdaj says:

    last weeks’ non news… , ‘its all about profits’. The loss of employees, journalists and editors, mandates copying and recycle for profit i.e., entertainment.

    We all know ‘murder is wrong’, yet cops do it, criminals do it, corporations do it, partners do it, lovers do it, yet rarely is the real story ‘told’. Adversarial prosecutors often fail to present the real story.

    Nothing much gets reported to the masses!

    Glad you brought up toys Rayne! I saw a toy a few days ago, that begged questions about our President, the Media, our Justice Dept. and of course the American Public.

    The toy, an antique shooting gallery, begs these questions about Our Nation! The Targets were 6 Black child faces and and the words on the toy were ‘kill a black baby’.

    With out a doubt, its a horrible toy, but, the irony is… in all the above questions!

  2. haarmeyer says:

    CDC is calling it the first autochthonous case in the continental U.S. during the current outbreak. What is wrong with just saying that and allowing American adults, the majority of whom have pieces of paper saying that they graduated from high school, to look the word up if they don’t understand it?

    BTW, our county is issuing an advisory pretty much only about non-autochthonous cases, because County Vector Control reports no aedes mosquitoes here.

    In other news, CDC also issued an advisory about influenza, strains H3N2 and H1N1, and reports that there have already been fatalities associated with the latter among young and middle aged persons. But it’s not as sexy to worry about getting a flu shot.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    “Begs the question: who would Jesus monitor?” Although my Bible knowledge is weak, I do know that even though Jesus was sometimes sedentary – riding on all those donkeys, preaching in the temples – he was also often quite active – walking around to see who might have him in their house, climbing mountains to commune with Dad or the Devil, boat rides in stormy waters, etc. Still, I don’t remember Jesus jogging.

    • Peterr says:

      The disciples, on the other hand, are rather well-documented runners. According to the gospel of Matthew, after Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested by the soldiers of the religious leaders, “Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.”

      • bloopie2 says:

        Yes! And, of course, it takes discipline to be a runner, and certainly a disciple would have discipline.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks Fisher-Price. Let’s indoctrinate children from birth in the bogus belief that their most private data are to be made freely if unknowingly available for private commercialization by any company that can make a profit from it. The rest of the industrial world is just [Christopher Walken] crazy for thinking and acting on the belief that privacy is a human right that can and should be protected at law. I guess the post of US Data Protection Commissioner will remain vacant for the foreseeable future.

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