Volume 23, Number 1—January 2017
Media Messages and Perception of Risk for Ebola Virus Infection, United States
|Messages||News stories with message, %
|Print and TV, n = 1,262†||Ebola case/local controversy, n = 655‡||National, no Ebola case/ controversy, n = 607§||Conservative, n = 302¶||Liberal, n = 595#||Print, n = 1,109**||TV, n = 153††|
|That could increase perception of risk|
|Lack of/limited availability of countermeasures to stop Ebola||17||13||21 (p<0.001)||11||19 (p<0.01)||17||20|
|Ebola causes deaths||66||64||68||70||65||66||65|
|Potential US outbreak/persons in the United States contracting Ebola||35||33||36||35||33||34||41|
|Inability to stop transmission/outbreak in the United States||7||4||9 (p<0.01)||4||6||6||7|
|Growth of the Ebola epidemic||23||17||30 (p<0.001)||14||26 (p<0.001)||21||36 (p<0.001)|
|Science does not understand Ebola (e.g., previous knowledge about the disease was wrong or expert advice was incorrect)||8||8||8||7||9||7||13 (p<0.05)|
|Ebola’s potential use in terrorism or as a biologic weapon||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Ebola has an incubation period||34||34||35||37||33||33||43 (p<0.05)|
| Foreigners or travelers bringing Ebola to the United States
|That could decrease perception of risk|
|Lower Ebola death rates in the United States||5||4||6||3||4||4||10 (p<0.001)|
|Ability to stop transmission/outbreak in the United States||20||16||24 (p<0.01)||24||17 (p<0.01)||18||30 (p<0.01)|
|Low risks related to Ebola (e.g., low risk of the disease coming to the United States, low risk of someone transmitting the disease, low risks of school children acquiring Ebola)||28||25||30||25||27||26||42 (p<0.001)|
|How to prevent spread of Ebola||12||12||13||12||10||11||20 (p<0.05)|
|Description of scientific knowledge about Ebola (e.g., transmission dynamics or other known aspects of the disease)||32||30||33||29||30||31||35|
*Time frame selected to capture potential differences before and after key US Ebola events. χ2 tests were used to test differences in the proportion of news stories mentioning each Ebola-related message in compared news sources.
†Sources included in all news stories: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chicago Tribune, CNN Situation Room, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fox Special Report, NBC Nightly News, New York Daily News, New York Times, Orange County Register, Portland Press Herald, USA Today, and Washington Post.
‡New sources with an Ebola case or controversy in the locality: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, New York Daily News, New York Times, and Portland Press Herald.
§Nationally produced new sources or those without an Ebola case or controversy in the locality: Chicago Tribune, CNN Situation Room, Fox Special Report, NBC Nightly News, Orange County Register, USA Today, and Washington Post.
¶Conservative news sources: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fox Special Report, and New York Daily News.
#Liberal news sources: Chicago Tribune, New York Times, and Washington Post.
**Print news sources: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, New York Daily News, New York Times, Orange County Register, Portland Press Herald, USA Today, and Washington Post.
††TV news sources: CNN Situation Room, Fox Special Report, and NBC Nightly News.