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Why Do Newspapers Drug Test Their Employees?

Submitted by smorgan on
Staffers at two major newspapers in Washington, D.C. tell me that they were warned about possible drug tests when they were hired. I don't know how widespread the practice is, or whether testing is actually conducted, but it got me thinking…

Why would a newspaper drug test its employees? In an environment characterized by firm deadlines and intense public exposure and scrutiny, how on earth are drug tests necessary to ensure competence? Really, what could be more frivolous than drug testing people whose efficiency is so easily measured?

I suspect that these companies reserve the right to drug test, but rarely do so in practice. If so, it's the threat that counts; that precisely because deadlines rule in the newspaper world, you can't have your staff getting wasted on illegal drugs. But even that makes no sense, because incompetence will always be revealed well before the urinalysis results come in.

Could it be that these newspapers are literally afraid that stoned staffers will create stoned stories? Absent tight controls, perhaps mischievous drug addicts would take over, perverting reality itself through drug-fueled, mind-altered reporting. Certainly, we don't need subliminal pro-drug messages with our breakfast cereal, and we don't want some acid-freak's hallucinations reported as news.

If journalists can't get high without fear of dismissal, maybe that explains the wealth of uninformed, uninspired drivel that passes for drug reporting in the modern press. Then again, we all know that drug testing doesn't actually prevent people from partying, especially with those powerful "hard" drugs that leave your system within 48 hours.

At the very least, this practice reveals that an anti-drug bias is literally built into the structure of major news organizations. But that should come as no surprise to anyone whose seen false government propaganda cut and pasted from press releases to the pages of prestigious papers with no regard for accuracy or opposing viewpoints.

After all, if you get too creative with a drug story, they just might pull out the pee-cup on you.

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