Mainstream Media Outlets Are Buying the Drug Czar’s “Third Way” Lie, Hook, Line, and Sinker

Media outlets have published reports from Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske’s Tuesday speech at the Center for American Progress. As you might expect, several of the stories are straight transcription jobs, lacking response comments from drug reform advocates, or independent data. In two cases, the reports contain blatant falsehoods.

Here are the worst offenders:

ABC (republished by Yahoo!): “Obama's Drug Czar Stumps for 'Third Way' Policy”

“To hear President Obama's drug czar tell it, the leading voices on drug policy are kind of crazy,” reads the lede to Chris Good’s exceptionally lazy piece. While Kerlikowske utterly mischaracterized the position of drug reform advocates, he didn’t actually call them crazy.

This line from Good’s report is also wrong: Kerlikowske was “promoting the White House's new National Drug Control Strategy, which calls for a focus on treatment and prevention rather than punishment.” If Good had actually read Obama’s 2013 federal budget proposal, he’d know that it allocates nearly 60 percent of the federal budget to drug law enforcement, AKA “punishment.”

C-SPAN: “Drug Czar Outlines ‘Third Way’ for U.S. Drug Policy”

The vaunted cable outlet’s report is only three paragraphs, but still contains a huge error. “Mr. Kerlikowske told the audience that the past few years has seen a reduction in the use of cocaine and methamphetamine, and that the White House has approved elimination of mandatory sentencing guidelines that disproportionately affected minorities.” Actually, the White House didn’t approve the elimination of the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine in 2010, it simply reduced it from 100-to-1, to 18-to-1. And not only did Obama not “eliminate” the disparity, he also failed to make the new sentencing guidelines retroactive.

The best report came from Hearst Newspapers. Reporter Dan Freedman sought comment from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s Tom Angell, noted that the current federal drug budget allocates nearly 60 percent to enforcement, and added that “Kerlikowske's de-emphasis of law enforcement stood in contrast to a crackdown that U.S. attorneys in California ordered last year on medical marijuana businesses operating under state law.” Gold star for you, Dan Freedman. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pip||

    FOOLED!!!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Next step. Go back and delete all stories about drug raids and arrest and replace them with kinder, gentler stories about rehabilitation efforts.

  • Rich||

    Then have a big glass of Victory Gin.

  • ||

    Also, cops retroactively don't shoot dogs: all such articles are now about officers rescuing cats from trees.

  • Killazontherun||

    We've always been at war with Truthoverthereria.

  • Killazontherun||

    Wait. They actually have been.

  • Rich||

    Hi, K. Seen Julia?

  • Killazontherun||

    Depends. Which Rich is asking?

  • Rich||

    You know. We cross paths at work.

  • Killazontherun||

    That narrows it down a little.

  • WarrenT||

    Get a room!

  • T||

    I've held the opinion for while that anyone who takes the job as ONDCP head is a lying morally bankrupt weasel. Gil K. just reinforces that opinion.

  • Rich||

    From yesterday's festivity:

    "Well alcohol is more dangerous, or alcohol causes more deaths, or alcohol. So certainly nobody is going to roll the clock back and say, 'Gee, we need to institute prohibition on alcohol.'"

  • rts||

    It's part of the job description:

    Anti-legalization Policy

    According to the "Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998"[13] the director of the ONDCP

    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that -- 1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and 2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

    The Government Accountability Office has found that this law authorizes the ONDCP to disseminate misleading information (lie) in order to oppose legalization
  • T||

    Okay, so that's fucking depressing. We pay a guy to lie to us about drug policy.

  • Loki||

    FUCK FUCKITY FUCK. Thanks for the nut-punch, I really needed that.

  • Killazontherun||

    From that same page, another stiletto in the sack;

    Government as Scriptwriter

    In the spring of 1998, the ONDCP began to develop an accounting system to decide which network shows would be valued and for how much. Receiving advance copies of scripts, they assigned financial value to each show's anti-drug message. Then they would suggest ways that the networks could increase the payments they would get. The WB network's senior vice president for broadcast standards Rick Mater admitted, "The White House did view scripts. They did sign off on them -- they read scripts, yes."[26]

    Running the campaign for the ONDCP was Alan Levitt, who estimated that between 1998 and 2000 the networks received nearly $25 million in benefits.[26]

    One example was with Warner Brothers' show, Smart Guy. The original script portrayed two young people using drugs at a party. Originally depicted as cool and popular, after input from the drug office, "We showed that they were losers and put them [hidden away to indulge in shamed secrecy] in a utility room. That was not in the original script."[26]

    Other shows including ER, Beverly Hills, 90210, Chicago Hope, The Drew Carey Show and 7th Heaven also put anti-drug messages into their stories.

  • ||

    Other shows including ER, Beverly Hills, 90210, Chicago Hope, The Drew Carey Show and 7th Heaven also put anti-drug messages into their stories.

    Ouch. Talk about lifelong regrets.

  • 0x90||

    So what you're saying is that it might not be TV's fault that it sucks?

  • WarrenT||

    Gilk. Just call him Gilk. It sounds nasty and it is.

  • ||

    How about Ol' Gil?

  • ||

    The Fourth Estate: just like any other branch of government, helping perpetuate and increase the power of government.

  • Brett L||

    Love the ad with a picture of Debbie Wasserman-Shulz that says "Demand an Apology". How is her being sorry going to change the fact that she's an idiot?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Nice meta-reporting, Riggs. And a cookie to Freedman, who apparently realizes his job is more than a transcriptionist for the state.

  • NYT Editorial Staff||

    [Muffled from talking around Obama's cock]

    What was that?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ah, never mind. Finish up so Barry can go do his latest TV cameo / campaigning.

  • Loki||

    So many punchable faces, so little time...

  • ||

    "Ah, please you gotta help ol' Gil, whats it gonna take to keep you on the phone, I...dance for you? B-but you wouldn't even see it, y..a-alright, ha ha, I'm dancing!"

  • Paul.||

    Gil Kerlikowske, not just Seattle's problem anymore...

  • Paul.||

  • ||

    How much do these guys get paid? I mean, if you take all the Czars, what cost is that? I think I can do all their jobs for half the cash. Straight up trade?!

  • TingoZing||

    lol, bought and paid for pompous windbags lol.

    www.Privacy-Guys.tk

  • TingoZing||

    OK wow this makes a lot of sene dude. WOw.

    www.Privacy-Guys.tk

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement