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A Senator Tweeted My Ebola Story. Then Things Got Ugly.

John Moore/Getty Images News

At least 8,000 people in West Africa have gotten Ebola and projections suggest the toll could reach hundreds of thousands, or even more than a million, by next year. So far just one person has contracted the disease in the U.S. More cases may appear, but experts are confident that there will be no similar outbreak here. 

I had those numbers in mind last week when I wrote an article emphasizing that the real crisis was overseas—and that the best U.S. strategy for fighting Ebola was to deliver more assistance to affected countries. The argument was one-part self interest (it’s the only way to eliminate the threat and avoid further destabilization to the region) and one-part humanitarian (the suffering is awful and getting worse). Over the weekend, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware (or, more likely, a member of his staff) saw my article and retweeted it.

The retweet automatically regenerated the article’s headline: "Stop Freaking Out About America's Single Ebola Death, and Start Worrying About West Africa." Here’s a sampling of the reaction it produced. (Caution: Strong language.)

You get all kinds of people on twitter, including some without a strong commitment to civil discourse. Their views are not representative of the country as a whole.

Plus I'm sure many of these people were reacting to the headline, which was provocative, and didn't bother to read the article itself. Coons (or, again, his staff) sent out a follow-up tweet noting as much.