On Monday, The Daily Mail reported that NBC's chief medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman, had a hankering for a bowl of soup from Peasant Grill in Hopewell Boro, New Jersey. So she hopped in her car with one of her crewmembers and headed over to the Grill. When she got to the restaurant, she had her crewmember run inside, grab the soup, and run back out.
There was only one problem: Both Snyderman and her crewmember were under mandatory quarantine for 21 days. That quarantine was a result of their journey to Liberia to cover the Ebola outbreak, a journey during which cameraman Ashoka Mukpo contracted the disease. The authorities made the quarantine mandatory after another of the crewmembers violated a voluntary quarantine last week.
It's one thing for Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan to carry around an Ebola-ridden woman, get on an airplane to Dallas, walk into a hospital with symptoms, and then walk out again. Such behavior can be attributed, at least in part, to ignorance. It's another thing entirely for a highly educated medical professional to endanger those around her for some miso.
But that's the world of the media, where the proper response to the possibility of contracting Ebola is, "Don't you know who I am?" Double standards abound here; media members lather Americans into a frenzy over the threat of a disease that has, to date, claimed a grand total of one life in the United States. Then they go out for lunch in public after being told that they could be carrying the virus.
The Snyderman story is truly part of a broader egocentrism in the media. The media didn't give one whit about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative non-profit applicants -- but they went absolutely batty over the Department of Justice targeting reporters. The media don't seem to care very much about demands for transparency from the Obama administration by the American public -- but they're fighting mad about the Obama administration's refusal to let them photograph him golfing. After all, it's one thing for normal Americans to get stiffed, and quite another for our betters to feel the effects of government's heavy hand.
The gap between the media elite and the general population has a deleterious impact on America's political future. Media members seem to have no problem with incompetent government overreach so long as they prosper, which is why so few media members worry over Democratic proposals to limit First Amendment press freedoms to government-designated "journalists."
The American people suffer thanks to this elitism. The days of the adversarial media are ending -- most investigative journalism now falls to the blogosphere or the foreign press. The corrupt relationship between media and government means that Americans don't find out about overreach and incompetence until far too late for them to do anything about it.
And so the gap grows. No wonder Snyderman went for soup while under quarantine. After all, it's not like all those other customers work for NBC, or anything.