DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


New York Times Misrepresents
Online Drug Policy Reform

DRCNet and other drug policy reform organizations were interviewed for and discussed in a front page article in the Friday, June 20 issue of the New York Times. While DRCNet's two paragraphs were favorable, the overall effect of the article, titled "A Seductive Drug Culture Flourishes on the Internet", was to muddle the distinction between activity that could be classified as "drug culture" or "pro-drug", vs. serious, credible political advocacy. Furthermore, the picture painted of drug-related information content on the net was misleading as an overview; the article focused on examples like methamphetamine formulas and marijuana humor, entirely ignoring the much greater volume of academic literature and government reports that DRCNet and other organizations have made available and which dominate the search engines. An article like this on the front page of the New York Times has the potential to open a new front in the battle against Internet censorship.

The Times has the power to use any kind of cheap sensationalism that it thinks will sell papers; but when they misrepresent and distort our work, they should at least hear from us in large numbers. Therefore, we are asking you to please take a few minutes to submit a letter to the editor. By doing so, you will help us make a point, and you might even get printed!

You can submit your letter via e-mail by sending it to letters@nytimes.com. Please cc us a copy at drcnet@drcnet.org. Or fax it to (212) 556-3622, or send it by mail to: New York Times Letters to the Editor, 229 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 10036. Your letter should include your name, address, and daytime phone number.

As frustrating as it is to see yellow journalism in action, your letters will have a more potent effect, and will have a better chance of getting printed, if you avoid directly attacking the paper or the reporter. Please focus your comments on the content of the article itself. The article is available in full on the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/062097drug.html on the New York Times web site. (If you don't already have a free account with the NYT, you may have to fill out a short registration form before viewing the article.)

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