Media Criticism

One Day After DEA Raids 71 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, CNN Declares Drug War Is Over


On Wednesday, Sept. 26, CNN's Out Front With Erin Burnett ran a segment titled "No more 'War on Drugs.'" The segment begins with CNN reporter John Zarrella narrating footage of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter disabling a boat carrying marijuana. "This was the mid 1980s," Zarrella says. "The drug war was at its height."

Zarella continues talking in the past tense, saying, "Then Vice President george bush headed up a task force to fight the problem….Stash houses and drug labs were routinely raided. That was a war on drugs. These days, it's not even a war of words. The White House doesn't even call it a war on drugs anymore, focusing instead on prevention."  The rest of the segment is dedicated to a single drug court in Broward County, Florida, and the many lives it has saved.

What Zarrella may not know is that the day before his CNN segment ran, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched a coordinated crackdown on 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in and around Los Angeles, bringing the total number of California dispensaries closed this year to over 800.

Perhaps Zarrella omitted this breaking news update from his package because he didn't see it, or it was too late to address it. 

Or maybe Zarrella did see the DEA story, and deemed it consistent with his claim that the Obama administration is changing the way it allocates funding for the prosecution of drug users. (This theory assumes that Zarrella believes there's an explicit moral difference between the adult who uses illegal drugs and the adult who sells illegal drugs. There is no difference.) 

What's not forgivable is Zarrella's omission of Obama's draconian drug war record, evidence of which goes back weeks, months, and years.

Now, as "in the mid-1980s," the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy engage drug traffickers in the Caribbean. Now, as in the mid-1980s, stash houses and drug labs are routinely raided by federal agents. Not only is the present a lot like the past, but the (very problematic) drug court model that Zarrella praises isn't unique to Obama–federal drug court funding dates back to Clinton, was supported by Bush, and even appeared in the Republicans' 2008 platform and 2012 platforms. 

If there is anything familiar truth in Zarrella's report from a reality that does not exist, it is that drug policy has failed to break into the Top 50 Or So Issues Journalists Consider Important In This Presidential Election. Were journalists to ask Romney or Obama about drug policy, stories like Zarrella's would perhaps get a little more scrutiny from editors. 

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  1. Just wait; the blatantly false “look, the Anointed One is doing what he said!” fellation pieces are going to be a daily occurrence as the election nears. If there’s one thing the media is good at, it’s lying and sucking government cock.

    1. What;s sickening is that they DON’T. EVEN. QUESTION. the scumbags on their idiotic assertions, they just repeat them as facts. They’re not reporters, they’re transcriptionists for the state.

      1. I disagree. They’re active propagandists for the state. The whole reason this shithead wrote this article was to push the idea that Obama has done what he said. It wasn’t just a passive “I have been told to say this”.

    2. You blatantly stole that meme from the previous thread.

      1. PROVE IT.

        1. Just how many wet paper towels can you wad up in your mouth?

          1. I just tried it and it’s 25. How about you?

            1. I finally figured out why Epi so often needs a juice box. I discovered that when you rearrange the letters in his name, it spells “reach sipi.” I think that really speaks to what he is about.

              1. Look, it’s important that I keep hydrated, OK? Is that a crime or something?

                1. I thought it was “I search pi”?

              2. It also spells A PERCH I IS, which explains his scaly skin, lack of eyelids, and easily accessible cloaca.

                1. I get “Poxied testicles”.

                  1. I has price.

                    But what is that price?

                2. Oh, you’d like to access my cloaca, I have no doubt, Hugh. But it’ll cost you.

                  (I’d take dinner at Taco Del Mar and a romantic movie, preferably something with Hugh Grant in it.)

                  1. How about Taco Bell and an Judd Apatow movie instead?

                    1. What kind of a whore do you think I am?!?

                      (I’ll take it.)

              3. Jesus, nicole, I just read that link. Are you trying to ruin my enjoyment of one of my favorite directors? Is that what you’re trying to do?

                Now I have to go watch Eraserhead again.

                1. I was. I’m sorry, I was lashing out. Riggs stopped covering this and it’s actually getting worse.

                  1. I mean there’s one that’s actually called Because I Love the Social Contract. (!!!)

                    1. 1. Fuck Hobbes
                      2. The idea that Romney would do anything to weaken the “social contract” bullshit that she is all into is simply laughable. Does she really think that Republicans are some sort of radical libertarian minarchists?

                    2. Or that Romney, as a robot, has any understanding of individualism?

                      And yes, fuck Hobbes.

              4. We are so fucked.

  2. bringing the total number of California dispensaries closed this year to over 800.

    Remember those halcyon days when people were arguing that Obama’s press release on prioritizing drug enforcement to ease up on state-legal operations meant that the feds wouldn’t be shutting down medpot in CA? Unlike tevul christfag rethuglicans?

  3. The day before his CNN segment ran, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched a coordinated crackdown on 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in and around Los Angeles, bringing the total number of California dispensaries closed this year to over 800.

    The Democratic Party isn’t about issues anymore. It’s just a personality cult.

  4. “It’s not a WAR, you dummies. It’s a ‘public health initiative’.”

    1. Just like rounding up and delousing well-poisoners. You don’t want children drinking from poisoned wells do you?

  5. but the (very problematic) drug court model that Zarella praises isn’t unique to Obama–federal drug court funding dates back to Clinton, was supported by Bush, and even appeared in the Republicans’ 2008 platform and 2012 platforms.

    Due process is boring. Rule by Edict is much more satisfying.

  6. It’s hard to say which prospect is more frightening: That the media are dumb enough to believe Obama’s rhetorical shift despite his escalation of the same old policies, or that they know he’s lying and are just going along with his lies to help him out.

    1. It can be both! Journalists aren’t monolithic, you know! Some are really stupid, and the rest are really venal!

      1. That seems to pretty much cover it (present blog excepted, of course. Mostly).

  7. Forget it, Riggs. It’s CNNtown.

  8. If there’s one thing you can learn from Miami Vice, it’s to beware vice cops that enjoy Phil Collins.

  9. “This theory assumes that Zarella believes there’s an explicit moral difference between the adult who uses illegal drugs and the adult who sells illegal drugs. There is no difference.”

    I would beg to differ…somewhat. Could not someone be addicted and buy to feed that addiction, whereas the seller is doing something without any biological or psychological compulsion? I wish I take the time to phrase this in a more precise manner- darn job getting in the way of my commenting!

    1. I’m not sure you want to give a free moral pass to otherwise “bad” things somebody does because they have an addiction, LTC.

      And that’s even assuming that the addiction model is valid as presented. Which I doubt.

    2. I’d say both are morally neutral as long as all parties knows what they are buying and selling.

    3. What if the seller is addicting to making money and having enough money to pay rent and buy food, huh? EVER THOUGHT OF THAT?

  10. More proof that the mainstream media’s coverage of the Drug War has made a giagantic leap into Pravda-territory during the Obama administration.

  11. CNN Declares Drug War Is Over

    Who won?

    1. The omnipotent state and its cultists.

    2. Thank you for posting this. They did. And did good and hard. I’ve said too often to remember, the drug war has been won and completely dominated by the prohibitionists. We’re not so much fighting a war as we are an occupation by an enemy that’s living in our houses, eating our food, drinking our beer and sleeping with our women. That’s how much lost-the-drug-war we (libertarians) are.

      Prohibition has expanded so far outside the realm of drugs, it now permeates everything we do: our food, our drink, our healthcare. It’s prohibition all the way down. And it happened around the same time Democrats/liberals/progressives abandoned “my body, my choice” as a guiding principle.

      1. This is not true. More different drugs and medical devices are legally marketed in the USA than ever before.

  12. Who won?


    If availability, price and popularity are any indication.

  13. I have a THC dispensary… In my pants!

  14. American taxpayers are being forced to pay $40 Billion a year for a prohibition that causes 10,000 brutal murders 800,000 needless arrests each year, but which doesn’t even stop CHILDREN getting marijuana.

    After seventy-five years of prohibition, it’s obvious that the federal marijuana prohibition causes FAR more harm than good and must END! Drug Dealers Don’t Card, Supermarkets Do.

  15. This new will be of great comfort to the family of Richard Flor, who died in prison last month for running a dispensary.

  16. Media sycophant #1: “Obama’s record on the drug war is as horrible as BOOOOSH! Quick, someone run a fluff piece about drug courts and claim that he’s actually ended the WoD! People can’t be allowed to believe their own lieing eyes.”

    Zarella: “On it.”

    And might I add: *barf*

    These stupid Obama fluffing dickstains really do live in an alternate reality, don’t they. Just 39 more days and at least the election will be over. The Obama fluffers won’t shut up, but at least it will hopefully go back to the level of background noise that can be easily ignored. Unless they go full “Dear Leader” on us.

  17. The WoD is OVER!!

    Peace, however, is proving to be a killer.

  18. CNN is attempting to subtly persuade the obama administration to end the war on drugs. It’s brilliant reporting. Two cheers for msm.

  19. I really like the sound of that dude.

  20. And CNN continues their slide into irrelevance. I deleted the bookmark to months ago, sick and tired of their bullshit.

    … Hobbit

  21. So wha accounts for the impression that the war is over? Could it be because it’s not news any more, therefore it must no longer exist? And do they think drugs won or lost the war?

    1. Basically, because President Obama says so. That his rhetoric doesn’t match his actions doesn’t matter here any more than it does on civil liberties or foreign policy.

  22. It’s what Obama wants us to believe. That’s why US Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, has been at pains trying to convince us that Obama’s administration has ended the War on Drugs and that his drug policies are progressive.

    Perhaps this will help people understand that Obama’s rhetoric can only get traction amongst the gullible, the uninformed or worst still amongst those with vested interests.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

  23. This is the link I mentioned in my previous comment:

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

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