CBS’s Charlie Rose: Ebola Travel Bans Are ‘Radical Answers’

On Friday, CBS This Morning hosted CBS News Political Director John Dickerson and pollster Frank Luntz to discuss America’s declining trust in government including its recent handling of the Ebola crisis.  Despite two-thirds of Americans supporting a travel ban on Ebola stricken countries, co-host Charlie Rose did his best to dismiss such concerns by the public.

Rose wondered if “public anger will play into the hands of people who want to call for radical answers, who will push for the most conservative, most, not in terms of Democrat Republican, but most toughest measures possible in terms of quarantine, in terms of inspection, in terms of all of that?”  

To his credit, John Dickerson rejected Rose’s argument and maintained that such a phenomenon occurs on both sides of the political spectrum:

I think what it encourages is maybe the most conservative but also in some senses the most liberal. What it calls for is people to go out there and make grand promises. What happens when you have trust this low is you need a series of trust-building exercises in government to create small incremental benefits the way local governments. If you fix the DMV then you can fix the bigger stuff. Fix the tiny things that affect people in their daily lives. Build the foundation then do the larger things. 

Earlier in the segment, the CBS News Political Director argued that the government’s handling of the Ebola crisis plays into a larger distrust the American public has in the federal government and could impact the midterm elections:

Well, I think the way Republicans would like it to affect the midterm elections is they've been trying to paint a picture of general incompetence around this president and the Democratic Party and they've seized on whatever is in the headlines at the moment. And in the way we all cover things – and I say "we," I mean the larger media – everything gets to kind of 10 on the scale of 1 to 10 of freaking out. And so, when things are constantly at 10, all the opposition party has to do is just point to the number 10 and say, "Be nervous, be scared," and that turns out whoever is not in power. 

Rather than accept Dickerson’s argument, Rose doubled down and wondered "does it have any similarity to the immigration debate in terms of we’ve got to close in our borders and do all these things at the extreme are argued?"

Surprisingly, Dickerson suddenly agreed with Rose that “it leads to people, that’s also part of the problem with our structure and politics. When they say close the borders what you've got there is you’ve got Republicans speaking to a very active part of their base it’s not to a larger solution.”

Oddly enough, Charlie Rose’s claim that a travel ban was a “radical” idea completely contradicts CBS’ own reporting. During the same CBS This Morning broadcast, reporter Nancy Cordes highlighted some the “statements we've gotten from members of Congress just in the past 24 hours pushing for travel restrictions. Most of them come from Republicans but at least half a dozen Democrats want restrictions too.”

See relevant transcripts below.

CBS This Morning

October 17, 2014

NORAH O’DONNELL: I was just going to say so rather than a Republican wave this year you think it may be more of like an anti-incumbent wave? 

FRANK LUNTZ: Exactly. And it’s a way to send a message to the elites that you not have only let us down you have truly failed us and we want to punish you because you have punished us.  

JOHN DICKERSON: This is an incredibly cynical, sad conversation we’re having. When you go out and talk to people, there is still a great deal of hope in the country and that’s why these numbers are so low is that people still are looking for solutions to the people who are giving the speeches on the stage. They haven’t completely written them off, although in a sense they have. But they are still in desperate hope that’s somebody’s going to arrive and give them an answer. 

LUNTZ: They want the answer. I don’t believe that there’s still hope. The focus groups that I do, the level of anger and cynicism and just absolute disrespect—

CHARLIE ROSE: But does that kind of atmosphere play into the hands of people who want to call for radical answers, who will push for the most conservative, most, not in terms of Democrat Republican, but most toughest measures possible in terms of quarantine, in terms of inspection, in terms of all of that?

DICKERSON: I think what it encourages is maybe the most conservative but also in some senses the most liberal. What it calls for is people to go out there and make grand promises. What happens when you have trust this low is you need a series of trust-building exercises in government to create small incremental benefits the way local governments--

If you fix the DMV then you can fix the bigger stuff. Fix the tiny things that affect people in their daily lives. Build the foundation then do the larger things. The problem is the way our elections work, is that people come out and they promise these sweeping grand claims. The opposition is venal. I have the answer to everything. If you set the expectations that way you’re always going to be disappointed.  

ROSE: But I’m wondering does it have any similarity to the immigration debate in terms of we’ve got to close in our borders and do all these things at the extreme are argued?

DICKERSON: Yes it leads to people, that’s also part of the problem with our structure and politics. When they say close the borders what you've got there is you’ve got Republicans speaking to a very active part of their base it’s not to a larger solution. But it also suggests if you do this one thing the problems will be solved and there’s no problem that has a single solution like that.  

 

CBS This Morning 

October 17, 2014 

NORAH O’DONNELL: And this morning President Obama is considering an Ebola czar. The person would oversee the country’s response to the disease. That word comes with lawmakers pressing the CDC and urging a travel ban from West Africa. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill with the mounting pressure on the White House. Nancy, good morning

NANCY CORDES: Good morning. And the president himself addressed the issue last night and he had to because as you said pressure mounting quickly from lawmakers. In fact, these are the statements we've gotten from members of Congress just in the past 24 hours pushing for travel restrictions. Most of them come from Republicans but at least half a dozen Democrats want restrictions too. President Obama told reporters Thursday he’s not philosophically opposed to a travel ban, but -- 

BARACK OBAMA: It is currently the judgment of all those who have been involved that a flat out travel ban is not the best way to go. 

CORDES: That’s the same position his CDC director took in a hearing on Capitol Hill. 

TOM FRIEDEN: If passengers are not allow to come directly, there is a high likelihood that they will find another way to get here and we won’t be able to track them as we currently can. 

CORDES: But Republicans were not convinced. 

FRED UPTON: We should not be allowing these folks in. Period. 

CORDES: After the hearing, Colorado’s Cory Gardner said the administration’s position makes no sense. 

CORY GARDNER: Their reasons today are basically the same thing as saying that we should make sure that all children with chicken pox stay in school so we know who they are. 

CORDES: About 150 people from the Ebola zone, Liberia, Sierra Leona and Guinea enter the U.S. every day. Customs officials are now taking the temperature of travelers at five of nation’s busiest airports. Dr. Frieden testified the CDC will no longer wait for a positive diagnosis before dispatching teams to possible cases in the U.S. The agency has faced some bipartisan criticism. Diane DeGette is a Colorado Democrat.  DIANA DEGETTE: I would certainly hope that here going forward if a patient shows up saying he’s from Africa and he’s vomiting and he has diarrhea that you wouldn’t say well we don’t have the lab results yet, you would start treating the person like they had Ebola.

CORDES: More than two dozen nations have imposed travel restrictions on people from the Ebola zone but most of those nations are small African countries. There are a few Caribbean nations that have also imposed bans and the World Health Organization has urged countries not to impose travel bans because it makes it so much more difficult to get care and supplies into the region. Charlie?

CHARLIE ROSE: Nancy thanks. 

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Congressional CBS CBS This Morning Charlie Rose John Dickerson Nancy Cordes Frank Luntz

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