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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Role of the Media in the War on Drugs

Fourth estate working

The media's often called the fourth estate. Where's that come from? In the Middle Ages in Europe the first estate was the nobility, the second estate was the clergy, and the third estate was peasants, everyone else. Together the three estates constituted a feudal "realm." The king existed outside the estates and used them to maintain control.  The fourth estate, as such, acts outside the standard power structure, and can either help to legitimize or delegitimize government power and policy.

The war on drugs would have been impossible for the government to wage for the last 40 plus years without support from the media. The drug war is horrific. Earlier this month, a DEA agent shot a grandmother reaching for her child during a raid that found no drugs. In the summer, a SWAT team in Georgia threw a flashbang into a baby's crib, critically injuring it. There are more than 150 such raids each day in America, so there are a lot of horrifying stories that come out of that, on a regular basis. Rarely, if ever, do such stories break out of the local news and into the national news cycle. There is no equivalent of the Ferguson story when it comes to the drug war. But these stories are just as frightening and outrageous.

That's where outlets like Reason.com come in. Today, a local story in Georgia can receive attention nationwide even in the absence of traditional news coverage because of the proliferation of online media sources. So they can amplify local stories and bring more attention to them.  That's important for a couple of reasons: First, wider attention to local drug war abuses increases awareness of them and the real cost of the drug war. Second, such wider attention for local stories incentivizes local news media to cover drug war outrage stories. All media are animated by the drive for consumers: readers, viewers, listeners. Drug war stories are popular because they strike us emotionally. As local news outlets realize how much traffic those kinds of stories drive, there will be more stories like that, and more of an effort to bring those stories to the attention of national online outlets like Reason.com, which can turn around and bring those stories to an even wider audience.

The twisted way in which the media distorts the particulars of the drug war—sanitizing its destruction and hyperbolizing the dangers of its targets—has always perplexed me. Before coming to Reason I spent several years working at NBC and Fox News, and worked with people who had been all around the business for years and even decades. And there's a lot of drug use in journalism. A government study in 2007 found about 13 percent of employees in media admitting to using drugs in the previous month, in the top five professions for drug use. So how do so many members of the media get the drug war so wrong? I suppose for the same reason staffers in DC all seem to smoke pot but their bosses are mostly against legalizing the thing.

That's starting to change. Just like the politicians—the new first estate—are slowly catching up with the public and easing their positions against drugs, so the fourth estate will as well. In neither case will it be because politicians or journalists suddenly found religion. It will be because public opinion has shifted despite their best attempts to control it, because of the proliferation of media sources and viewpoints that make it increasingly more difficult for the powers that be to define the terms not just of the drug war debate but of the acknowledged realities of the drug war.

Going back to the Georgia SWAT team case and Baby Bou Bou. After being reported by WSB-TV, an Atlanta TV station that regularly covers local government abuse stories—because they do so well—the story of Baby Bou Bou was picked up by CNN. It didn't gain the kind of momentum other stories do because the organized interests in favor of ending drug prohibition are still very much outside the mainstream. So you hear about Ray Rice instead. But Reason can draw as much traffic highlighting the horrors of the drug war as a site like Deadspin can writing about Ray Rice or posting Brett Favre's dick pics. That makes all your work more important. Public opinion is on your side. The media, as such, may never be, but the end is drawing near on their ability to ignore the reality of drugs and the drug war and replace it with their fantasies. And that's going to require pressure from you.

Just last week a local paper in Massachusetts wrote a scare piece about gnome, 25-I, a synthetic drug that's supposed to be something like LSD. My understanding is it's a pretty subpar drug. And this local paper in Massachusetts ran a story about how dangerous 25-I was and how law enforcement officials and politicians were worried about this drug and wanted to ban it. The paper did acknowledge that none of the police departments it talked to reported any cases of anyone being busted for the drug, but failed to mention the DEA already banned it, by executive fiat, last year. We ridiculed them for it at Reason.com, as we regularly do with drug scaremongering and all kinds of hysteria, but this stuff's going to continue in traditional media for some time because fear is a powerful tool to attract an audience. And even though interest is growing in the horrifying realities of the drug war, a lot of the media will keep falling back on what they know, until you show them better.

This column is based on remarks at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference in Arlington, Va. this weekend.

Photo Credit: screencap

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    Hillary is a grandmother.

    Thought you'd like to know,

  • d3x / dt3||

    I'm so glad that Chelsea didn't have to use Obama's motorcade. See, traffic isn't bad at all, just like His Highness noted!

  • ||

    It is ok to refer to her as a Crone now?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Politico has a Chelsea Clinton photo gallery!

    http://www.politico.com/galler.....29099.html

  • d3x / dt3||

    The first listed comment is from 5 months ago but still says "congratulations Chelsea." Conspiracy!

    And *gag*, by the way.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    If you want to gag, check out Politico's Chuck Schumer/Nancy Pelosi centerfold!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    If I had a dog that ugly, I'd shave its...

  • gaoxiaen||

    ... and get it neutered.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Classy, fellows, very classy.

  • ||

    You gonna say anything useful tonight, Bo?

  • John Galt||

    *spayed

  • ||

    New Hillary campaign commercial:

    Don't let those cankles and baggy eyes fool you, Americans. Hillary, the grandmother of the favorite POTUS candidate for the 2050 race, still has the energy to toe the party lion, deliver the crony bucks, and get as big of a war boner as any Republican male!

  • ||

    We should stop calling it the War on Drugs and start calling it what it is; The War on the American People.

    I guess WOAP doesn't have a good ring to it.

    Shorten to War On People? WOP? Wait.....

  • d3x / dt3||

    Well, Drug Abuse Grinds On...

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I Think Americans Like Interesting Acronyms Now.

  • sarcasmic||

    WOP's up? How's your dago?

  • LarryA||

    How about Second U.S. Civil War?

  • SQRLSY One||

    ”How about Second U.S. Civil War?”
    Squares v/s stoners? “Yeah, man, we found the marijuana patch all right. Did we wipe it out? Yeah, many, you could say the whole platoon’s wiped out!”
    -Sgt Cheech to Lt. Chong
    Or do you mean, turn the USA into one large battlefield for narcos v/s pig-state, Mexico style? That would be nothing other than our chickens coming home to roost…

  • Robert||

    You think it's limited to American people? WOP is more apt than WOAP.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "In the Middle Ages in Europe the first estate was the nobility, the second estate was the clergy, and the third estate was peasants, everyone else."

    "everyone else" included merchants and professionals, many of them very rich indeed.

  • d3x / dt3||

    But they weren't important like the anointed class. Just like today!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Oh, the first two estates often had commercial and financial dealings with the third.

    I'm re-reading Barbara Tuchman's depressing accound of the 14th century - *A Distant Mirror* - and some in the Third Estate are leading a revolt against the king and nobles. I mean, they lost and everything, but they were quite militant.

  • Adans smith||

    and they were taxed heavily.Robin Hood stole from the government,which was the royals and clergy

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The legends have him stealing from nobles and clergy and fighting the then-regent, John, while the *true* king was off on the Crusades.

  • sarcasmic||

    And here I thought he was fighting aliens.

    /Whovian

  • Adans smith||

    Yes,he was spending vast sums of tax money on a faraway war.In truth,Richard was a horrible King

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I'm speaking of the King Richard of the Robin Hood legends, not the guy who existed on the plane of reality.

  • Aresen||

    Richard I appears to have been war-obsessed. He'd rather fight than fuck. (He'd have been a "Great" President in the NYT sense.)

    John's 'rapacious taxation' as regent for his brother was mainly to meet Richard's demands for more money to fund wars.

    John, while not a very able King, managed to piss off the clergy - he wanted the church to pay taxes on its lands as well - so they, being the only literate group at the time, gave him very bad press.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Richard emptied the treasury to launch his disastrous crusade, and then got held for ransom on the way back. Prince John's regime had to collect a 'king's ransom' in taxes because that's what they actually needed it for.

  • Lt Womack||

    He didn't even spend much time in England, and often commented on how much he hated the place, mostly because of the constant cold rain. Even outside the crusades, he spent most of his time fighting over his lands in France.

    There's something else I could say about him too, but that wouldn't be PC.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Japanese society had four classes, I think.

    1. Samurai

    2. Peasants

    3. Craftsmen

    4. Merchants

    (Plus untouchables, but I think they were so outside society that they were literally outside the class system.)

    But of course the central planning knocked so much flexibility out of the system that it corrected itself by, for example, inflation and currency debasement forcing samurai to borrow up to their ears from the merchants.

    I like confusing statists by pointing out that bribery and other corruption is merely market self-correction, similar to leaks in a dam are nature's self-correction. Japanese samurai in debt to merchants was another market self-correction.

  • Paul.||

    But of course the central planning knocked so much flexibility out of the system that it corrected itself by, for example, inflation and currency debasement forcing samurai to borrow up to their ears from the merchants.

    During the peak of the Edo period, Samurai were forced to spend tremendous amounts of cash for their constant pilgrimages from the outer provinces to pay tribute to the Shogun. Samurai went from a warrior caste to what was essentially a feudal bureaucrat. Good times.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Firefly marathon on SCI.

  • Paul.||

    I just rewatched on DVD a couple weeks ago.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I watched Forbes on FOX this morning. They were excitedly touting some survey they claimed shows, "disappearing" support for marijuana legalization. Then came the whole tired litany of anecdotes about dire consequences from marijuana legalization. Children will get high and die horribly.

    I want to ask those dopes if their commitment to criminalization of marijuana includes seeing their own children or grandchildren locked up.

  • Adans smith||

    And then they when out for drinks

  • sarcasmic||

    But it won't happen to their children. They're going to raise their children right and instill so much fear in them of drugs that they'll never use them. It will never be the case that their children may try some drug, say marijuana, and learn that all the fear mongering was bullshit. They'll never figure all they've been told about drugs was bullshit, and then go and try some more. They'll never be caught with drugs on them or be tricked into purchasing some for an undercover cop. That will never happen to their children.

  • Aresen||

    Plus, because of their police connections, their children will get a warning without being charged.

  • Zeb||

    I bet it's not even that. Most of those people smoked some pot in college. Some probably still do. And when their kids do it will be "youthful experimentation" and "ha, ha, wasn't college fun". And unless they stare dealing the worst their kids will see is a fine. Just like Obama, really. He'll laugh about fun times with the Choom Gang and doing "a little blow". But the idea that maybe other people shouldn't be punished for the same shit is a joke to him that just gets laughed off.

  • Lt Womack||

    And unless they stare dealing the worst their kids will see is a fine.

    Or if they have a big enough stash. "Possession with intent to distribute" doesn't require proof of any intent to distribute, of course.

  • ||

    I'd say that's about as relevant as the poll they were talking about on NPR the other day that shows increasing alarm over global warming. In the poll, 52% of Americans are convinced that global warming is an imminent threat that needs to be dealt with immediately.

    The poll was from the NYT. I mean, this was a poll of NYT readers. Have you ever read comments on the NYT? The commentariat have to be the dumbest group of people of the planet that are convinced they are some sort of intellectuals. I'm not even sure they're human.

  • Aresen||

    Then came the whole tired litany of anecdotes about dire consequences from marijuana legalization. Children will get high and die horribly.

    Whereas now, police get adrenaline highs and children die horribly.

    More children die every month from police raids than have died from MJ since the first time someone lit a joint.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Two states have already legalized marijuana including my own and in general marijuana laws have been getting much much more liberal and much less punitive as a whole

    Sure there are counterexamples but I'm talking about on the whole

    It's much harder for the dinosaur media to have a monopoly on the reportage and their typical shitty reportage on stuff such as marijuana when you have the blogosphere citizen reporters etc. on every corner

  • The Original Jason||

    We need to ban adrenaline!

  • Paul.||

    If marijuana didn't exist, those children wouldn't have died in those raids.

    *drops microphone*

  • Paul.||

    I want to ask those dopes if their commitment to criminalization of marijuana includes seeing their own children or grandchildren locked up.

    When wealthy white urbanites use drugs, they're "experimenting".

  • craiginmass||

    It goes without saying - although not hyped on Reason (for well known reasons) that they GOP and the Right in this country are responsible for 80% of the WOD and for many of the worst excesses.

    However, in the spirit of populism, the far right is now jumping on the bandwagon. You better watch out! Too much dope smoking makes you less materialistic and perhaps even more socialistic!

  • ace_m82||

    GOP and the Right in this country are responsible for 80% of the WOD and for many of the worst excesses.

    *squints*

    I mean, why bother with an actual statistic when you can just pull a number from... where the sun don't shine, right?

    I'd be willing to be that the biggest proponents of the drug war are the politicians from the inner cities, and they're obviously all GOP...

    I don't even know why I bother. You're an idiot and the GOP are (mostly all) evil.

  • silverfang789||

    I really hope all this does change soon and these SWAT raids become a thing of the past.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    It's never going to end.

  • sarcasmic||

    Power, once acquired, is never given up without a fight.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    As I proudly reported a couple of years back some coworkers of mine and I were able to get our department to substantially remove some recently gained power that our SWAT team had acquired in regards to their ability to get themselves deployed in various situations

    As a rule they fought it tooth and nail since when you are a hammer everything looks like a nail

    And of course they were taking in the overtime with several members making well over 150,000 a year easily

    One amazing price is we were able to get the restrictions imposed despite the fact that there had not been any adverse incident that happened but merely from the persuasiveness of argument

    Contrary to most here I am of the firm belief and I see it supported through Ample statistics and experience that when properly trained and deployed Swat is an overwhelming force for good and for the safety of bystanders suspects and cops alike

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Note that the when properly trained and deployed is a essential caveat

    I've also seen circumstances where a really Conservative attitude about when to deploy SWAT is just as damaging as the contrary tendency to over deploy them

    Swat is just like any use of force thing sometimes it is as bad or worse to be overly conservative with a force component or method as it is to be overly liberal with it

    Two obvious examples are when Seattle police administrators ordered cops not to engage force against rioters during Mardi Gras and Kris Kime was killed and dozens were injured that would not have been in my opinion if they were deployed

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    We were talking well-trained scumbag anarchists and violent gang bangers and those are the types that will rape and pillage just as far as they are allowed to

    They were allowed to so of course they did

    Another example was during the Kosi incident when we in patrol begged a ministration to deploy swat but they refused

    When Kosi subsequently sawed the head off a hostage and dumped the life was carcass in the hall then they finally deployed Swat. D'oh!!

    These were the same moron administrators who refused to let us detain or confiscate the cell phone from his partner who was making his way around the scene and reporting to Kosi

    A perfect example of the utility of swat was in a case we had not too long ago where a rooftop sniper was totally successful and with no snipers in patrol to counterattack there was nothing we could do

  • ace_m82||

    We were talking well-trained scumbag anarchists...

    I wonder, how do you train an anarchist (as you understand the term)? I think you mean violent jerks in a mob. That's not what the word "anarchist" means.

    When Kosi subsequently sawed the head off a hostage and dumped the life was carcass in the hall then they finally deployed Swat. D'oh!!

    Apparently that's the only example you can think of because you've used it more than once, and always alone.

    These were the same moron administrators who refused to let us detain or confiscate the cell phone from his partner who was making his way around the scene and reporting to Kosi

    Did you have a warrant or probable cause? If not, I wouldn't have let you either. And that's true even if it means the hostage died because of it. Liberty is more precious than any threat or act an evil man can make.

    A perfect example of the utility of swat was in a case we had not too long ago where a rooftop sniper was totally successful and with no snipers in patrol to counterattack there was nothing we could do

    Don't you have ARs in your trunk? I can reliably hit a human-sized target at 500 meters with one of those (iron sights)... So was it lack of competence or fear that prevented you from doing your job?

  • ||

    "when properly trained and deployed"

    So you're limiting your argument to the 3% of cases where SWAT is justified? Considering the damage the other 97% of not properly trained and deployed SWAT raids do that means they are not justified.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Here's hoping there's some fight left in this country.

  • Paul.||

    US struggles to blunt Syria rebel anger at strikes
    The U.S. is struggling to counter anger among the Syrian opposition, where many believe that the air campaign against extremists in the country is only helping President Bashar Assad and that Washington is coordinating with Damascus, despite American insistence it backs the rebel cause.

    Can't tell if serious.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/n.....anger.html

  • ||

    What? We've failed to win people over again by dropping bombs on them? I don't believe it.

    Murika: Here, take these guns, you're the good guys!

    Various warring faction: Huh? WTF? Ok! Wow those guys are weird!

    Murika: Look, beheading videos just appeared on youtube! WAR!!! ...Starts dropping bombs on various warring factions...

    Various warring factions: JIHAD!!!

    Murika: Look, Assad and last guys that we bombed, we were against you before we were for you, here, take all these weapons!

  • Paul.||

    I read the first paragraph in the story, and I was like... this really is a sun-to-rise-in-east-tomorrow kind of thing.

  • Paul.||

    Before coming to Reason I spent several years working at NBC and Fox News

    Anything you say can and will be used against you.

  • cavalier973||

    Simpsons-Family Guy Crossover makes rape joke, everyone gets the vapors.

    Winter noted that the joke was especially offensive given the recent stories of sexual assault on college campuses and alleged abusive treatment toward women some players of the National Football League were recently accused of

  • Paul.||

    Winter noted that the joke was especially offensive given the recent stories of sexual assault on college campuses

    And by sexual assault, we mean a man who switched sexual positions on a woman before issuing a trigger warning?

    See, right there... see what I did there? The progressives have succeeded again. They've actually made me less sensitive to rape.

  • Zeb||

    So, because the news media and politicians have decided to focus on the issue of campus rape and asshole football players, rape jokes are more offensive?

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    To their credit, I found the lay media to be pretty fair when it came to reporting on our (now passed) marijuana legalization initiative.

    On the whole, they've been shitty and inaccurate in their drug reporting

    However, on the whole they are shitty and inaccurate on EVERYTHING

    I have found, and I've found most people agree to have found as well, that when one is reading an article that one happens to have personal expert knowledge, it become obvious that the article is riddled with careless errors.

    It therefore follows that this must be the case with everything because it would be ridiculous if they only so happened to be inaccurate on those rare issues that you happen to have expert knowledge on

    Sometimes they do a little better when it's a subject the journalist has a history of doing extensive coverage on but even then they pretty much suck

    And of course I recognize that as polling data proves, the public tends to hold journalists in very low regard near the bottom of most professions

  • Robert||

    The statement above applied not only to things I (or people I knew) had "expert" knowledge of, but also just any knowledge of, such as by happening to have been on scene. You don't have to be an expert to beat reporters, you just need ordinary awareness. The only thing I can chalk it up to is that reporters have too much news on their minds, and so can't keep it straight, or that they're in too much of a hurry to get to the next thing, so they can't pay enough att'n.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Yeah they just suck

    By virtue of my profession I am very frequently on the scene of all sorts of major news events

    And when I see the reportage on the same versus what I saw on scene it's just always suckitude from the media

  • VG Zaytsev||

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
  • Robert||

    The news is so bad about so many things that I've frequently had the opposite opinion from that of Jefferson. I've often thought the world would've been a better place had news media never become popular, i.e. if for some social or technologic reason people had either never had available or never taken an interest in news as reported by people whose specialty was reporting news. As a 2nd choice, I thought the world might be better off if all news were censored by gov't (esp. if gov't were run by an absolute monarch), because then there'd be only 1 busybody, who probably wouldn't care about many things, and might well prevent everybody else from caring about them too, by their never being able to spread word about them or find out about them.

  • Robert||

    Darn, that 1st sentence didn't come out right. I meant "The professional reporting media are so bad about so many things...."

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    I think there's never been a better time for news just as there's never been a better time for the First Amendment

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    With cell phone cameras the Internet the blogosphere etc the pajamas media etc. the media has never been more democratized and the power elite dinosaur media has never been more emasculated

    That's why in my opinion this is the best the first amendment has ever worked in the history of our nation

    I also think this modern era of citizen initiative has made government more responsive than it's been in decades if ever

    I also love the fact that the overwhelmingly liberal dinosaur media is so apoplectic about the success of the pajamas media

    Similarly I love the way that liberals and progressives get so pissed off about citizen initiatives that are huge advances for liberty

    In other words while there are many aspects of surliness today that exist nowadays there are also many aspects of overwhelming awesomeness and a lot to be thankful and happy about

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I think that would depend a lot on which particular media outlet you're referring to.

    Some media outlets simply recycle press releases from "advocacy groups" and cops.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    I'm talking about the media as a whole

    A few decades ago the dinosaur Lay media was the only media most people even had access and thus listened to

    Compared to today when you can seek out all sorts of alternative and up-to-date media resources such as the one we're at right now and countless others

    It's simply not even remotely comparable the situation with the media as a whole is just much better now

    I believe also with stuff like gun rights etc. the Internet age has helped facilitate the spread of liberty and knowledge and getting out the message about guns in other words the truth that is 180° opposite from what the lay media reports

    There was just almost no access to data let alone positive defensive gun information a few decades ago with the media having a complete lock on reportage

  • blackjack||

    He's correct, in that there are many more voices. It's a stretch to proclaim the golden age of 1st amendment rights, though. The executive branch is jailing and charging and investigating journos like nobodies business. We all know we're being watched and IRS audits, espionage indictments and whatever else is waiting. Many people are in jail right now for taping police actions. Then there's D'sousa and the Benghazi video producer.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    As in any thing we are going to analyse there will always be counterexamples and you provide some excellent ones

    Even though my thesis is that we are in a golden age of the first Amendment I can also provide plenty of counterexamples as well

    But as with anything I will look at totality of the circumstances and in my analysis the positive beneficial change overwhelmingly has outweighed the additional negatives in recent history

  • steve baker||

    I was involved in what was at the time, (nearly 45 years ago), the biggest drug bust in the MN Twin Cities. The "Pack Sack Five" had been caught smuggling kilos of marijuana across the Mexican border for transport to Minnesota.

    I can tell you that the police and prosecutors' actions, along with the media coverage, were just as hysterical and overdone then as today.

  • ||

    I've always loved the part where, on the local nightly news, they show a table with 6 straggly looking unbudded cannabis plants lying across it, soil still attached, and proudly proclaim 'The big raid took 6.5 million dollars worth of illegal drugs off your childrens' playgrounds. Cops heroes once again, childins safe for now'

  • Aresen||

    I was always amused by the 'street value' that cops assigned to drugs.

    The joke was that you could tell a narc because he would pay four times what anyone else would pay.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    I have years of undercover experience and I can tell you that no good undercover officer would ever do that

    Not only would it jeopardise your safety since it would out you as an officer but generally speaking offering a drug dealer an outrageous price for the product there's going to be viewed as entrapment and would result in a nolle pros

    Entrapment is basically in layman's terms of any activity or representation by the officer that would cause a person otherwise not disposed to commit the crime to commit the crime

    For example if cocaine is going for $80 a gram and you offer a person $300 a gram for cocaine that should be a most likely would be viewed as entrapment

    If you are trying to buy heroin and you pose as a sick heroin user going through painful withdrawals that also is entrapment

  • Lt Womack||

    I think that was supposed to be a joke, related to the "street values" proclaimed on the news, not what undercover cops actually paid.

  • Zeb||

    I've noticed that recently a lot of reports have become a lot more realistic in their valuations. Sometimes surprisingly so.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    The difference today is that we have the pajamas media the blogosphere etc. etc. to offer a opposing viewpoint and to help vet the data and to help keep the dinosaur media honest

    The dinosaur media is largely failing but they have been dragged screaming and kicking to some extent away from their historical prejudices due to the advent of the new media and citizen reporting

    There has never been a time in human existence when you have instant reporters with immediately available high-quality video cameras available in their pocket at every street corner like you do now

    Given such a situation the truth is much more likely to get out and has been getting out much more successfully

  • ||

    And still cops are able to murder innocent civilians on camera and get off with nothing more than a paid vacation. I think something more is needed.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Oh yes I know the typical lament from the anticop bigot things are so terrible blah blah blah

    You are as always wrong on the facts

    This reminds me of why I miss Balko so much

    During the Bart shooting thing he and I were the only people here who correctly analysed the officers actions as manslaughter not murder

    Even as a vociferous and educated a Critic as he is when you actually understand the law etc it makes a difference

    In almost every case whether typical reason antit cop bigot complains that some cop got away with murder it's just simply not the case

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Those big meanie Libertarians gettin' your pink panties in a wad?

  • Lt Womack||

    The difference today is that we have the pajamas media the blogosphere etc. etc. to offer a opposing viewpoint and to help vet the data and to help keep the dinosaur media honest

    They haven't been doing a very good job of that re: all the Obama administration scandals.

    The dinosaur media still rules the roost, with some help from social media propaganda.

  • jay_dubya||

    well written and correct on all points. thanks for a great read, Ed.

  • ||

    I really think that the oligarchy has remained the same throughout all of history. Once a small segment of society has gained control of power, they seek only more power for themselves.

    The only thing that has ever improved the state of the human condition is technology.

    I believe that the last time libertarianism arose and gave the common people more freedom and power was the technology that gave the new settlers in the West the power to put a vast distance between themselves and their oligarchy oppressors.

    Perhaps the next truly libertarian moment will be when technology allows some of us to put a much greater distance between oppressors and ourselves through space travel.

  • craiginmass||

    "West the power to put a vast distance between themselves and their oligarchy oppressors."

    When was this? Interesting story in the book Mayflower talks about a shipwreck in Bermuda in the early 1600's where 3 Brit sailors hid out so they could stay on the island (a paradise compared to shipboard life).....

    Long story short, the oppressors (the brits) came back a couple years later and almost hung them for daring to collect some ambergris and hide it. It was, obviously, the property of the corporations that sent them!

    If you couldn't hide out on an unknown island in 1620 I doubt you could anywhere since...

  • Irish||

    A cop's been shot in Ferguson. This is going to end well.

  • Sevo||

    Not seeing anything on the cop; how about:
    "Protesters block unloading of Israeli ship in Oakland"
    [...]
    "Protesters angered by Israel’s military actions in Gaza gathered at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning in an effort to prevent a cargo ship managed by an Israeli company from unloading."
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/.....785066.php

    OK, I'm not in favor of Obo droning or bombing random targets, but you'd presume lefty twits would at least get the memo, sorta like the commies had to do the 180-dance at least twice in WWII.
    Nope! Commies gonna commie!

  • MJGreen||

    That'll save Palestinian lives!

  • Zeb||

    A ship managed by an Israeli company. Do they have any idea how international shipping works? No, of course not, they are stupid commies and have no idea how anything works.

  • Sevo||

    Oops:
    "Authorities: Police officer shot in Ferguson"
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/cri.....785901.php
    You're welcome, Irish.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Sweet. Only shot in the arm. It's a bad ouchie, but he'll be ok.

    Shot during a foot pursuit.

    Foot pursuits are interesting when you study them from an officer safety perspective since they really do put you at such a tactical disadvantage in many respects.

    I absolutely adore foot pursuits and I just realized I haven't had one in a really long time. It seemed like there was a short period where they were happening quite frequently but it's been a total desert for foot pursuits for me recently

    :(

    What would surprise most people who don't understand sports science is that I greatly improved my ability to foot pursuit by dropping distance running and taking up weightlifting

    Training for five k's let alone training for marathons is very sub optimal compared to training for platforms strength sports in terms of owning foot pursuits.

    Unless you are a epically good distance runner like one of the guys I work with who was an Olympic alternate in the marathon

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Efficient form is beautiful form. And makes beautiful bodies, too

    (Clean is efficient. Jerk is only meh...)

    http://tinyurl.com/ma23tow

  • Burrito of the Jews||

    I don't see how anyone can be for legalizing marijuana after the Kevin Ward Jr./Tony Stewart "accident".

  • Firstname||

    The thing media still gets very wrong is continued perpetration of negative stereotypes in their stories about cannabis. Using derogatory terms like pothead, weed, stoners, etc. while showing photos of Cheech and Chong only serve to portray a false image of the majority of responsible cannabis users and give ammunition to the prohibitionists. It is obvious who controls them still.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "It is obvious who controls them still."

    Buzz-killing capitalists in most cases. Your average American CEO who'd sacrifice his first born on the altar of capitalism is thrilled to promote the Drug War agenda.

  • Zeb||

    That is annoying. You shouldn't have to remind people that Cheech and Chong is not a documentary at this point.

  • craiginmass||

    "Using derogatory terms like pothead, weed, stoners, etc. while showing photos of Cheech and Chong only serve to portray a false image of the majority of responsible cannabis users"

    I know quite a few potheads and about 1/2 of them probably fit the false image in one way or another. That is, they tend to be laid back, bohemian, etc.

    I'd guess that smoking weed makes one a bit less ambitious and materialistic....not always a bad thing, but not the best for the "free markets" and GDP.

    Back when we were teens and getting high, we righty thought the gubment would never legalize it for that reason alone! That is, a population which is content to sit around and get high is not going to be as big on the rat race, war, keeping up with the Jones's and, in general, also THINK a bit more about how fucked up many of our institutions are.

    Although it may not be a out and out plot, authority (including corporations, the gubment, etc.) wants people to be in fear and in debt.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    but this stuff's going to continue in traditional media for some time because fear is a powerful tool to attract an audience.

    Also, never underestimate the power of laziness. Why bother doing any original research on a press release handed to them by the local gov't, when it's easier to just read it on air with some scary drug images?

  • mdmeyer||

    edit: *Favre* not *Farve*

  • BFawlty||

    "or posting Brett Farve's dick pics"...wait...what?

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