Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baltimore Sun et al, you slay me.

One war appears to be going well for the United States and its allies these days: the drug war.

-From "War on Drugs Said to Progress." Peruse this page for more media outlets that hosted the same article.

Sometimes I want to quit my job and school and everything I'm involved in so that I can devote my life to going around the nation's news headquarters with a disciplinary spray bottle. "NO! (squirt) Bad journalism! You do NOT just regurgitate statistics and heavily biased one-sided analyses! Bad, bad, bad!" Each "bad" would be punctuated, of course, with a squirt. I'd use water, mostly. I might employ some abrasive sort of acid for repeat offenders.

Alternatively, they do accept letters to the editor. There are so many points in the article to argue, such as how a decrease in the availability of cannabis isn't necessarily a good thing since it's the least harmful illegal drug and others will take its place, or how the supply and demand of illegal drugs hasn't gone down drastically or consistently enough to declare victory and never will, or how maybe it's not exactly appropriate to praise drug war policies in developing countries... Just choose a sentence and tear it to pieces. Or walk into your local news headquarters with a spray bottle, but don't say I sent you. ;)


kaptinemo said...

It was Richard Cowan who partially attributed the continuance of drug prohibition to 'bad journalism'. In this case, that has certainly been the cause.

One thing that has not been discussed much of late is what might happen to journalism should the Americans for Safe Access's Data Quality Act suit against the government force DrugWarriors to retract their false statements about cannabis. A lot of dead-tree and other news media have unwisely echoed, in precisely the same manner as the Baltimore Sun has, the very same claptrap. Imagine how it would look to their readers to find that not only had their media of choice uncritically swallowed and then shat Gubmint lies, but they did so when there was a myriad of data sources they could have easily accessed that had disproven those lies long ago.

The traditional media is presently suffering a crisis of confidence; more and more people are turning to the Web to find sources of information that are less biased in favor of the corporations that run them...and the political biases that result from such incestuous relationships. Being forced to recant their support on cannabis prohibition (which, as every reformer knows, is the foundation of the present DrugWar) courtesy of that lawsuit would be another nail in the coffin of traditional media.

JT Barrie said...

The Drug Czar must be having fits about one alternative: the Travel Channel. I watched a program last night where the host went to Peru and got a "treatment" for altitude sickness. That treatment was coca leaves. It has to steam Walters that the Travel Channel showed coca being sold in an open market before US viewers. After all he was adamant about not having that "dangerous drug" available and legal there.
He shouldn't be so apoplectic as my spouse insisted it wasn't the same as Cocaine - despite my assurances that the Cocaine banned in the US at the outset was almost exclusively chewed by users [who happened to be primarily black and poor - this was the poor man's substitute for other pain relievers that were often 25% alcohol]. And yes, the host talked about "partying" in Peru with alcohol being proudly displayed. Of course, she wouldn't have been in the mood if not for the Cocaine rush from chewing the leaves.