Ink-Stained Retch


Rarely has a man marched so proudly up his own ass as Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker does here, an account of mag's cover story on Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction.

The preening, oblivious Whitaker exclaims that "we were the first national magazine to do a cover story on the alarming spread of the addictive painkiller OxyContin," adding that "we never imagined" that a decade of coverage of the conservative talker would intersect with the drug.

Maybe that was because Oxy was portrayed as the scourge of the rural America, the "hillbilly heroin" that Newsweek had positively over-running the town of Hazard, Kentucky with its cheap, alluring high. Excepting the gullible souls who got hooked by accident—they lack quality, affordable medical care or a basic understanding of body chemistry, you see—Oxy helped blot out hard-scrabble blue-collar life.

If that accurately explained Oxy abuse, then yes, there is absolutely no conceivable connection to a well-cared for, fabulously wealthy, immensely adored entertainer in Florida. But, of course, that 2001 scare story did not get the Oxy story right.

The truth is Oxy—or any drug—can be used and abused by a cross-section of the populace with a wide array of outcomes. If Oxy was getting people high in backwoods trailer-parks, then you can bet the folks in uptown penthouses were in on it too. The only real difference between the two groups would be the quality of their legal help.

Reason's numerous deflations of the Oxy scare can be found here.