Press: Reporting the Drug Problem

Have journalists overdosed on print and TV coverage?

"Reporters," former Senator Eugene McCarthy once remarked, "are like blackbirds on a telephone wire. One flies off, they all fly off. One flies back, they all fly back." That view of journalism, however unfair, is widely held even among journalists. It has become commonplace self-criticism that news organizations tend to converge on a social trend, stir up alarm, then lose interest in unison and move on to some other concern. Last week a debate heated up about whether the media have collectively hyped the nation's drug problem, especially the threat posed by crack, a potent form of cocaine. At the forefront...

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