Ebola in Newsweek: comparing American and European cover art


Maybe I am way off base here, but the two of them combined seem to play on fears of aids and teh gays.

Why is it two men holding hands (I think both hands are men - picture is tiny on my screen) instead of, I dunno, people washing a body or some other funerary process that is known to be one of the risks causing the spread?

Correct me if I am way off here.

Edited to add - I had not even noticed the caption on the American cover - I was too focused on the holding ands and “Contagion”. This has to be on purpose.

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I think you’re projecting …

Looks like a man and a woman’s hands to me.

However, I just read it as fear mongering on the left (US) and compassion on the right (Europe).



I might be, but the Euro cover doesn’t say “compassion” in big letters even if it’s a man and a woman holding hands. They are both fear mongering covers, but for different markets.

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I disagree. There really is a horrible crisis going on with Ebola right now, and I think the picture of the two people holding hands is a humane and respectful way to portray the very real suffering people are going through.

The American cover on the other hand is garbage, and is flirting with arguably racist stereotypes of Africa.


Fearmongering? Are you concerned this might depress the market for chimp meat?

Sometimes these comparisons are striking, but frankly I don’t see much of a pattern here. I notice that every comment so far sees a different problem. Neither cover is overtly racist, unless you’re really cruising for a reason to be outraged. If so, I would suggest a visit to Ferguson, Missouri, which has not gone away and in fact continues to spawn horrible truths and horrible lies.


Well, I could see fear mongering from the standpoint where I assume that a cover that hypes up the danger has got to be a bit of a stretch. You don’t see covers like that about the dangers of salmonella and that causes one million illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths each year (according to the CDC)

Yeah, I’m not sure I see what’s going on here (maybe my privilege is blinding me). The US cover is all “THERE ARE PEOPLE EATING CHIMPS, EBOLA YOU GUYS!”, the International cover is all “IF YOU TOUCH BLACK PEOPLE YOU WILL BE INFECTED WITH EBOLA, DON’T TOUCH PEOPLE!”

In fact, the most facepalming thing I can see is that the US cover has the actual words “post-post racial America” and it is not an Onion headline.


I didn’t see that. How precious!

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because we have to hold each others hands through this. Like Men can.


that’s because salmonella causes vomiting and dehydration, not mass hysteria and lashing out at images.

How so. What is so scary about people holding hands at a time of enormous strife?

I think you brought a dose of fear in with you, and THAT shit is CONTAGIOUS.


I don’t care what Newsweek says, smuggled bushmeat is delicious!

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Weird - here I thought it was because of the word “Contagion” plastered across the picture, but apparently I am bringing that with me?

If it was the word “Crisis” or even “Outbreak” or something like that, yeah. But the picture says “CONTAGION” on it.

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You see two hands and your first thought is that surely there is sodomy afoot?

Sorry, but I really doubt that the intented associations are anything but solidarity and compassion.


I tend to agree with OskarS comment.

And while I do not want to do it, I am going to plug a group I volunteer with that is helping with the current Ebola outbreak (and the current cholera epidemics, displaced persons crisises, floods, earthquake, war zones, pick your crisis), humanitarian crisis mapping. A lot of these areas do not have good base map or detailed map information needed to help trace contacts or track other issues.

The only group I know that does it is Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team ( http://hot.openstreetmap.org/ ), which uses the OpenStreetMap system to add needed map data and make it available to NGOs, governments and local communities.

We push updated data out to the groups on the ground in W. Africa nightly and we need mappers. It all aerial image tracing based and you can be up and running in about 30 or less.

Feel free to share it if you find people who would like to help but can’t contribute money or leave their home but have a computer and some time. PM me if you have any questions.


I agree. Having a black hand holding a white hand is cliche it’s so wholesome… until you stamp the image with something like “unclean” or “this is how plague spreads”. This is at a minimum stupid (for having a huge headline unrelated to the image), and at worst between-the-lines racism.

The blurb about “post-post racial America” drips with irony. My first thought was that it might be about how we sobered up and realize we aren’t living in a post-racial America. It doesn’t really seem facepalm worthy.

Aren’t those hands both black?


I’d say you’re off base. Newsweek is quite liberal, and fear mongering over homosexuality isn’t in line with their readership. It’d be more likely that they try and blame Ebola on Sarah Palin somehow.

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Huh. Actually, I didn’t notice that they were. One looks much lighter on my screen.

Anybody else see a lighter and dark hand? Maybe the root of the confusion?