Worst Appeals to Authority

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on October 13, 2014

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

Two Administrations in One!
“Obama: You Can’t Get Ebola ‘Sitting Next to Someone on a Bus;’ CDC: ‘Avoid Public Transportation’ ”—headline, CNSNews, Oct. 9

snlWorst Appeals to Authority
“Top Airline Lobbyist: Flying Is ‘Totally Safe’ ”—headline, TheHill, Oct. 9

Question and Answer—I

  • “But the real problem for Kobani is American policy. . . . President Obama wants to destroy ISIS and save the Kurds (and the Yazidi religious minority, and the Iraqi government in Baghdad), but he is willing to do no more than drop bombs. What happens when dropping bombs isn’t enough?”—Dexter Filkins, NewYorker, Oct. 10
  • “Thousands ‘Will Most Likely Be Massacred’ if Kobani Falls to Jihadists, U.N. Warns”—headline, Reuters, Oct. 10

What Would We Do Without Experts?
“Mysterious Blast at Iran Nuke Plant Proves Weapons Program Alive, Say Experts”—headline, FoxNews, Oct. 9

Mr. Bad Example
In an opinion piece for FoxNews.com, Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden makes the case against one approach to the Ebola problem:

A travel ban is not the right answer. It’s simply not feasible to build a wall—virtual or real—around a community, city, or country. A travel ban would essentially quarantine the more than 22 million people that make up the combined populations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

When a wildfire breaks out we don’t fence it off. We go in to extinguish it before one of the random sparks sets off another outbreak somewhere else.

He may be right about the practicability of a travel ban; your humble columnist does not know enough to have an opinion on the question. But fire-protection agencies do cut down trees to prevent wildfires from spreading, so at best the analogy is inapt.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”