Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2002
Source: Revelstoke Times Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Bowes Publishers
Author: Alan Randell


Re Pot o' green proves to be a real crock, Court allows clemency in cocaine 
case, Jul. 17

Was there ever a greater gift to the modern nation state to help it ride 
roughshod over the rights of its citizens than the mass media? I don't 
think so.

If there is one emotion that separates man from lower forms of animal, it 
is the propensity for humans to hate, without reservation, other humans. 
Once a leader can persuade the population to hate a particular minority and 
that he or she is the best person to lead the charge against that minority, 
the leader's power is assured. Adolph Hitler may have been best ever at 
harnessing the power of the media to engage the population in a brutal 
pogrom against a vulnerable and weak minority, but he wasn't the first nor 
will he be the last politician to clamber aboard that particular gravy 
train to power.

While not (yet) approaching the savagery of Hitler's policies towards the 
Jews, governments the world over are willing to co-op the enormous power of 
the media to scapegoat an identifiable minority in order to consolidate 
power and distract attention from government failures in other areas. For 
most governments (if not all), the victims of that repugnant approach is 
the innocent minority that uses or sells certain "illegal" drugs. The most 
popular harmful drugs are allowed, but in order to persuade us to hate the 
innocent minority that indulges in less popular harmful drugs, the state 
bans those drugs "because they are harmful".

How did the media win our approval, or at least our acceptance, of such a 
manifestly evil crusade?

First, you immerse us in a torrent of "objective" accounts of the mayhem, 
like these items, without allowing the victims' stories to be told. 
Gradually we are persuaded "they only have themselves to blame".

Second, you never miss an opportunity to allow those who profit from the 
drug laws (cops, drug experts, prosecutors, politicians) to tell their 
stories while allowing only the occasional op-ed or letter from those who 
oppose the law.

As to why do the media support a brutal government pogrom like our drug 
laws, I can only surmise that tragedy, suffering and war sell more 
newspapers and lead to higher TV ratings than happiness, contentment and peace.

When I read hate propaganda like this, I begin to wonder if the world would 
be a much nicer place today if newspapers and TV news had never been invented.

Alan Randell

Victoria, B.C.
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