Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2001
Source: Riverfront Times (MO)
Copyright: 2001 New Times, Inc.
Author: Kevin Nelson


Kudos to Ray Hartmann's brilliant opinion piece "The Media Go to Pot" [RFT, 
May 16]. There is no shorter explanation for the irrational longevity of 
marijuana prohibition than "bad journalism."

Many major media outlets have long since forsaken their social contract to 
report news both fairly and honestly when it comes to marijuana-related 
issues. Progressive developments which counter orthodox drug-war ideology 
are ignored, ridiculed or reported selectively, or with a condescending 
editorial bias front and center. Puns and cliches like "pipe dream," "high 
hopes" and "up in smoke" are commonly built into headlines to condition the 
reader to not take the issue too seriously -- after all, it's only 
"medical" marijuana.

An American citizen is arrested every 46 seconds for marijuana -- 13 
million since 1970. Marijuana prohibition, the backbone of the drug war, is 
one of the great frauds of the past 70 years. If journalists and editors 
confronted the hypocrisy that sustains this policy with even a shred of 
courage, there is simply no way it could stand the light of day.

Another little detail that the media missed when reporting the Supreme 
Court decision is that Clarence Thomas, who wrote the brutal opinion of the 
court, is the one justice who admits having smoked marijuana, when he was 
at Yale Law School.

Kevin Nelson
Bow, Wash.
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