Media Regularly Misreport Marijuana/Drug Stories, New Book Charges

Press Release from the Marijuana Policy Project: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 18, 2006 Media Regularly Misreport Marijuana/Drug Stories, New Book Charges Other Chapters in "Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition" Examine Criminal Laws, Workplace Drug Testing, Prevention, Religious/Ethical Issues CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 415-668-6403 or 202-215-4205 WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A chapter in Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition, a new anthology published by Oxford University Press, suggests that U.S. mass media regularly misreport stories on marijuana and drug policy. Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., argues that media reports on marijuana issues too often omit essential context while failing to ask the questions needed to give the public an accurate picture. This isn't necessarily a sign of bias, notes Mirken, who spent a dozen years as a reporter covering health and social issues for publications such as Men's Health, AIDS Treatment News and the San Francisco Examiner before joining MPP in 2001. He writes that the demand for "clear, involving story lines that can be summed up in just a few words ... almost invariably does violence to the subtleties and uncertainties of science." Still, journalists regularly report government studies, reports or announcements without bothering to include any non-official voices, leaving readers and viewers with no clue that another point of view even exists. This can turn journalists into unwitting accomplices of officials who seek to marginalize opponents and confuse the consequences of current marijuana laws with the effects of marijuana itself. Pot Politics also features chapters by experts on biology, sociology, religion/ethics, and even a Harvard economist. The book is edited by Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. a prominent researcher in psychology and addictions and associate professor of psychology at The University at Albany, State University of New York. His previous book, Understanding Marijuana (Oxford University Press, 2002) is considered a landmark in the field. To arrange interviews with Mirken, contact him at 415-668-6403, [email protected]. For interviews with Earleywine or review copies of Pot Politics, contact Victor Gulotta, 617-630-9286, [email protected] With more than 20,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit
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