The Gabfest on Ebola’s affect on midterm elections, the likelihood of a Republican Congress in 2015, and Amazon’s battle with Hachette and other publishers.

Is Amazon Evil?

Is Amazon Evil?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Oct. 17 2014 12:40 PM

The “Is Amazon Evil?” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about the politicization of Ebola, how Republicans will run the Senate, and the war between Amazon and the publishing industry.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, John Dickerson, Annie Lowrey, and David Plotz discuss the politicization of Ebola, the consequences of a GOP Senate, and Amazon’s cutthroat business tactics.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

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  • President Obama has ruled out declaring a travel ban to West African countries affected by Ebola. This is probably a wise decision, as a ban would actually make it harder to track and contain the disease.
  • Many GOP Senate candidates such as Sen. Pat Roberts and Thom Tillis are using Ebola to raise the issue of border security. Democrats and groups like The Agenda Project Action Fund want to tie the issue to huge funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and other government research departments.
  • Fear inspired by diseases like Ebola is responsible for 90 percent of the economic costs of epidemics.
  • A clip of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith denouncing Ebola fear mongers went viral.
  • If they take the Senate in Nov., Republicans will likely attach controversial policy items to spending bills, forcing possible budget standoffs and government shutdowns.
  • Democrats may lose the Senate this year, but they’re likely to take it back in 2016.
  • John wrote about areas where President Obama and a hypothetical Republican Congress can pass legislation.
  • In a recent poll of likely midterm voters, Republicans led Democrats by 13 points in trust on economic issues.
  • Frank Foer’s controversial piece in the New Republic asserts that Amazon is behaving like a monopoly.
  • Annie refuted Foer’s argument, pointing out that while Amazon has a significant share of the market for physical books and ebooks, the company does not have anywhere close to a monopoly over anything else that it sells.

Annie chatters about DIY Ebola HAZMAT suits.

David chatters about Atlas Obscura.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest.

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The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Maxwell Tani.

John Dickerson is a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, host of the Whistlestop podcast, and author of Whistlestop and On Her Trail.

Annie Lowrey is a contributing editor for New York magazine. She can be reached at annie.lowrey@gmail.com.

David Plotz is the CEO of Atlas Obscura and host of the Slate Political Gabfest.