Follow-up on the Ashley III Halsey story… As a reminder, Halsey reported, as the main point of his story, that a government study said something which it clearly did not. This is not a he-said-he-said situation, or something that’s open to interpretation. Either he was duped or he was lazy, but he clearly wrote something that was factually wrong, and then got angry when asked to correct it.
It appears now that the Washington Post ombudsman isn’t going to do anything to correct it. It’s a small thing in the big picture, but it would have been nice to hold a reporter accountable, if for no other reason than to get them to be more wary of being duped by the Drug Czar.
One additional story to give you a look into the world of the reporter… A friend of mine wrote Ashley and the Ombudsman about this whole thing, and instead of actually reading the study that he had reported on, Ashley defended himself in an email exchange by claiming (to Andy Anderson, the Ombudsman) to have gotten the information directly from the Drug Czar and by demonizing his critics as drug policy reformers.
Just so you know, Mr. Allured is a drug decriminalization advocate, former president of his college’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws and the Students for Sensible Drug Policy. It’s not clear to me whether he’s actually read the story or just the excerpt presented by a blogger who writes something called the “DrugRant.” In any case, as the story said, the 11 percent figure came from Gil Kerlikowske, the current Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who spoke at the event I covered. Kerlikowske’s number actually was lower than the number contained in the report that Allured would have you read. Judging from a quick look at the writings of Allured and other advocates, there seems to be general agreement among them that figures presented by federal officials are distorted.
Below is a bit of background from Allured’s undergrad days.
He then included an old news story from 2005 about Ryan Allured helping organize a marijuana legalization event.
Ryan responded the only proper way.
Halsey is correct; I am an advocate of drug policy reform. However, this has nothing to do with my objections to the factual inaccuracies in his article. This is a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy. Instead of responding to my actual argument, he has done nothing but attack my character (if one subscribes to the fact that being a drug policy reform advocate is negative). My argument still stands. Halsey blatantly misrepresented the findings of the NHTSA report. If his primary source for the figure was the drug czar, then would it not be a good idea to check the facts behind the statement? I have always been under the impression that it is the responsibility of the media to check the government, rather than reporting their statements as absolute truths…
Good OpEd in the Sydney Morning Herald by Duncan Fine: Drug haze needs straight talking
Marijuana was legal in the United States until 1937. Meanwhile from 1920 to 1933 the sale of alcohol was banned under the US constitution.
Many people seem to take a good versus evil approach to illicit drugs. But then based on this quick history of drug use, how can they answer the question that I just know my son will ask me one day soon – how can a drug be evil one year and good the next?
And here’s another question I’m sure he’s going to ask me – if illicit drugs are such a scourge on society then why do so many seemingly respectable, intelligent people take them?
While you’re mulling over a response to that one, here’s another. Isn’t it hopelessly hypocritical to continue with the simplistic dichotomy of legal drugs good, illicit drugs bad, when out of the $40 billion economic costs of drug use, tobacco accounts for 60 per cent, alcohol 22 per cent, and illicit drugs merely 17 per cent?
The failure to come up with intelligent persuasive answers to these questions is the key reason the war on drugs has failed – because a smart 10-year-old boy can see it is totally disconnected with the reality of modern life.
Split Decision in N.J. Medical Marijuana Trial Good news, but with a nasty piece in it…
But any crack in the wall against medical marijuana does not go down well with many drug addiction experts. A block from the courthouse in Somerville, the feeling at the Somerset Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency is that medical marijuana may lead to increased recreational use of pot.
Executive Director Sharon Lutz quoted a recent study at the University of Michigan that draws that conclusion. “It’s(marijuana use) going to skyrocket once this occurs and you’ve seen it in other states that have passed it,” said Lutz. “There’s no way to monitor it and the message to the kids is ‘Yes, this is OK, it’s safe, it’s medically used, then I can do it,'” she added.
Another complete lie, this time promulgated by NIDA â€” there was nothing in that study that could possibly lead to that conclusion.
You Can’t Handle the Truth, by Mark Pothier in the Boston Globe. Worth reading.
Director Kerlikowske calls for “smarter” approach to address the Nation’s drug problems Unfortunately, it was unclear if the Drug Czar was listening, or actually understood the words Kerlikowske spoke.
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