This passage is as relevant now as it was when it was written:

“It was an affair that showed how scant knowledge and real fears can be magnified in a political arena, transmogrifying into certainties that no scientist could defend and pronouncements that were based more on hype than on fact. It eventually demonstrated the unerring ability of the press to ratchet coincidences into causal relationships and spark a panic.”

Gina Kolata,Β Flu (of the swine flu outbreak in 1976)