Security Wisdom Watch: Swine Flu Edition
The world was on a panic footing again when swine flu spread from Mexico to the U.S. and elsewhere in early May. Some organizations and individuals offered useful guidance. Others spread fear for a few days, and then went away. Here's the scorecard
By Bill Brenner , Senior Editor
June 03, 2009 — CSO —
THUMBS DOWN: Cable news networks. The big players -- CNN, Fox News and MSNBC -- reported the swine flu like the opening scene from Stephen King's "The Stand" or the movie "28 Days Later." Memo for the anchors: Stop yelling at us and just report the facts.
THUMBS UP: The Obama Administration. The White House was quick to react, and did so with the calmness the situation called for.
THUMBS UP: The SANS Institute. The organization has kept pretty good track of swine flu developments with a detailed, matter-of-fact site maintained by Stephen Northcutt, who was also kind enough to do a Saturday podcast interview with CSO's Bill Brenner as the crisis first began to unfold [listen: How to Prepare for a Swine Flu Pandemic].
THUMBS BOTH WAYS: Humorists. Panic surrounding the outbreak was somewhat blunted by a bounty of cartoons, late-night TV jokes and a running commentary on Twitter and Facebook. But if a second, more deadly wave of illness spreads in a few months, the jokes won't seem quite as funny.
THUMBS DOWN: Return to apathy.. It's always a relief when a crisis cools off. The problem is that everyone drops the much-needed emergency planning to go watch "Grey's Anatomy." [Now That the Hype Is Over, Keep Planning]
Read more about emergency preparedness in CSOonline's Emergency Preparedness section.
Other stories by Bill Brenner