Why you should never believe anything on the news

The Reality-Based Community:
So I made on camera pretty much the same points I'd made on the radio:

1. The new law would expand the number of police who can make drug arrests.

2. The new law would free users caught with small quantities from going to jail, but not from arrest.

3. The Federales probably weren't in the habit of arresting users for possessing small amounts, any more than the DEA is.

4. The new law more or less tracks California law, and the law in many other states: users, if arrested, get diverted from the criminal justice system.

The reporter seemed very reluctant to believe any of this...

When the reporter failed to call back as promised to let me know when the story would run, I guessed that my viewpoint hadn't made it into the segment. I was right.

The story as it aired (scroll down to 'Mexico moves to soften drug law') was about as inflammatory as imaginable. The anchor introduced it as an account of 'the outrage in this country over a decision by Mexico to make possession of some illegal drugs legal.' The correspondent, Peter Alexander, after a reference to 'dangerous narcotics' and the usual grim war-on-drugs footage, reported that 'in effect, the law would approve the use, in small amounts, of a dizzying array of illegal drugs...'
The "reporter" already had a story in mind, and was just using the interview to find points which would back up his storyline. This is the exact opposite of real reporting, which is doing research, interviewing people, and broadcasting what is discovered. This is why Peter Alexander is a "reporter", not a reporter.


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