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Fight Ebola With Ice Bucket Challenge, Fox News Reporter Suggests

Ever since the start of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, State Department officials have had to answer a range of difficult questions from reporters about the U.S. government’s flat-footed response. But on Friday, a Fox News reporter entered a whole new line of inquiry: Why hasn’t the U.S. launched an Ice Bucket Challenge to ...

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Ever since the start of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, State Department officials have had to answer a range of difficult questions from reporters about the U.S. government’s flat-footed response. But on Friday, a Fox News reporter entered a whole new line of inquiry: Why hasn’t the U.S. launched an Ice Bucket Challenge to respond to the crisis?

"In terms of, like, a media campaign to get people to donate, have you guys thought about anything like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?" asked Fox News reporter Michelle Macaluso. "I mean, doesn’t seem that a lot of people are actually donating to fight Ebola."

Macaluso seemed to be suggesting that this summer’s viral online fundraising campaign, which resulted in donations worth millions for ALS research, could be replicated by the United States government to raise funds for Ebola — an idea that resulted in some snarking on Twitter. Regardless, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf took the question seriously and responded in kind.

MS. HARF: Well, I think what we’re focused on here is what governments can provide, both in the form of donations, large donations, but also in the form of expertise, whether it’s doctors, nurses, equipment, gear that can be sent to the region to really help contain it in West Africa, which is what the experts have said is the way, the best way to really do this. So we’re focused from the State Department on what governments can do, certainly, in that regard.

Q: But you — not starting — (inaudible) — campaign on — 

MS. HARF: I — you know, again, what we’re focused on here is talking to other governments.

So it doesn’t sound like the U.S. is taking Fox’s suggestion seriously. But it’s safe to say that after the department’s botched experiment with hashtag activism — which prompted days of negative coverage on Fox News and other outlets — launching a viral fundraising campaign might not play to Foggy Bottom’s strengths.

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