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Chair de poule

27/10/2005

Every time I turn on the radio, the first two words I hear are « grippe aviaire ». I can't tell you how bored I am with bird flu. Does anybody outside the media really believe that chickens are going to wipe out half the world's population ? Let's get one thing straight : 60 people in Asia have died of bird flu since 2003. More people than that have died in Iraq since last week.

Okay, I accept that bird flu (also known as H5N1, after one of the robots in Star Wars) may be a health threat. But the media hysteria surrounding it is pathetic. Even if the scenario is as bad as they suggest, what the hell are we supposed to do about it ? Avoid Kentucky Fried ­Chicken ? Personally, I took that precaution many years ago. Luckily, at least two PR agencies - Leo Corporate and Hill&Knowlton - have set up crisis units to advise us on the threat. Clearly, they're almost as delighted with bird flu as the pharmaceutical companies.

I remember when the ­British media warned us that we were all going to die of Mad Cow Disease. I think one person who ate a burger felt a bit odd on a Tuesday morning. Similarly, I recall a flesh eating virus that stalked hospitals. Or rather, it stalked the imaginations of tabloid journalists. And where did Sras retire to ? Guess how many people die in car accidents every year ? I'll tell you : ONE MILLION. But the media would never demonise the automobile industry, which, unlike your average chicken, has lots of advertising cash.

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Chair de poule

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