I saw this story and read a couple of articles. But all the ones I read quoted the University as saying that there is no danger. One article said, that IF the mice did escape, they are already dead and the disease is NOT contagious. So where's the hysteria?
Now . . .
I work for "The Media" and I hope I can put most of your minds at ease now. We (referring to the Media) despite contrary belief, do NOT love to create hysteria. Mainly because, despite contrary belief, we are people too. We live, work, play. We have our own families, brothers, sisters, children. We pay the same gas prices as everyone else. We are victims to the same crimes, the same diseases, the same storms, even the same murderers. We are afraid of the same terrorists, the same natural disasters, the same pedifiles that live near us. Any hysteria that takes place, believe it or not, is our hysteria too.
When we decide stories we base those story ideas on a lot of things, but most importantly: is this something that our viewers will even care about. If not, then we won't do it. How do we know a majority of our viewers will care or not? Because we gauge off of how much WE care or not. Would I, a person, sitting at home watching TV, want to know about that? In the case of New Jersey . . . the LOCAL newsroom for that area said "yes". Now it becomes VERY important that they get all of the correct information, and I mean all of it. Because if we don't our viewers will not hesitate to let us know. They haven't failed us yet.
But most importantly: if our job is really to inform the public, then we HAVE to do that.
98% of every national story starts off as a local one first. Meaning that a local news station comes across something that people may want to know about, so they cover it. The affiliated national station, through various methods, monitors all of those local stories in all 230 markets nation wide. In other words, MSNBC is monitoring all of the NBC stations. Fox News is monitoring all of the Fox stations and so one.
We call two minutes in TV an eternity. Mostly because so much can happen in two minutes. (Imagine if your favorite station went to black for two minutes)
Two properly written stories can fit into two minutes; sometimes three. It is the job of that show's producer to fill those two minutes with whatever he/she finds necessary. Most of the national stations, Fox, CNN, MSNBC are on the air 24/7. There are 60 mins to the hour. 24 hours to the day making for 1,440 minutes of air time. Minus an average of twelve minutes per hour for commercial time. That is a whole lot of eternitys to fill. That is how an obscure story makes national. That is even how an obscure story makes local. Sometimes it can be really hard to find thirty seconds somewhere. More often than not we give those extra thirty seconds to the Meteorologist so that he can take a little more time telling people to wear shorts and a t-shirt tomorrow.
Anyways, the root of all of those national stories is local. And what the camera doesn't show you before that, hopefully flawless, live shot is the fear, concern, panic, in us. Why? Because its more important to let everyone know what is going on and what will happen next.
I'm done. Sorry for the long post.