For five consecutive years the media has tried to fill its news voids by preying on the fears of the elderly with catastrophic bird flu headlines – and they’re at it again. Now, just like we were trained to panic at the sight of Asian people wearing facemasks during the SARS outbreak, we freak at the sight of a dead bird. With these scares also comes a conservative lining that manipulates the masses to fear foreign peoples. China was the scapegoat for SARS, Africa was blamed for AIDS, Mad Cow disease associated with England and the press is linking bird flu to Japan, which aim to exacerbate stereotypes conservatives harbor toward foreigners. There’s nothing wrong with being proactive but to panic over a disease that impacts humans who handle chicken shit is egregious. Just like the ‘killer’ bees of Mexico never came, bird flu outbreaks won’t either. But should it strike, don’t worry. The media has a solution: wash your hands frequently (which I hope we all do already) and stock up our pantries for the end of the world (i.e. consume, consume, consume).