Patterico's Pontifications

1/25/2008

In the L.A. Times, Another Editorial Masquerading as a News Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Jack Dunphy @ 1:42 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

The L.A. Times reports today on a California Supreme Court decision upholding an employer’s right to dismiss an employee for physician-recommended marijuana use, even if his job performance has not been affected. The story runs to more than 1,000 words, all but two paragraphs of which amount to little more than an editorial slamming the Court’s decision, with numerous quotes from the plaintiff, his attorney, and other proponents of medical marijuana use. The rationale for the 7-2 majority opinion is scarcely presented at all.

Putting aside the arguments both for and against medical marijuana, aren’t the Times’s readers entitled to a more balanced examination of the facts in this case and the application of the law?

Update: The decision was 5-2, not 7-2. H/T: Assistant Devil’s Advocate

Update #2: The case is Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc., available here in PDF.

19 Responses to “In the L.A. Times, Another Editorial Masquerading as a News Story”

  1. What got me is that if the legislators who support the plaintiff have their way, will will be illegal to fire someone for pot use, but legal to fire them for use of tobacco.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  2. Coverage of court decisions is uniformly bad in all of the print media. This has irritated me for years.

    Kevin: I would argue that as a policy matter, neither should be legal. I express no comment on what the current law is.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  3. that would be a 5-2 majority, and i’m dissenting from it.

    assistant devil's advocate (ccded3)

  4. Putting this particular issue aside for a second. All too often lately we are seeing this type of half-assed media coverage. Not a day goes by that we don’t see some half-cooked report the NY Times and other publications are pushing off as real journalism. The main stream media , it would seem, is trying to recreate their job definition from “reporting the facts” to “Reporting facts in a manner to shape and influence policy.” They are trying to move into the Law and Policy creator category but telling us what’s good & bad, instead of giving us all of the information to make an informed decision. Again, the reason they exist.

    We see this allot when it comes to the 2nd amendment. Every time a criminal commits a horrible act with a firearm the media shoves it down our throats all day/week/month long. However, whenever a citizen saves people from a madman with a gun, they never say a word. On the rare occasion one does make the evening news, they distort the facts horrible. I’m reminded of the where a college kid showed up at a law school, I can’t remember the exact location, and decided to go on a shooting spree. Two students from that school went to their cars, retrieved their firearms and subdued the madman at gun point, and in the end saved countless lives. When this was reported most publications conveniently left out the “Subdued at gun point” fact of the story and instead used “subdued by force” statement. This type of biased reporting is causing way more harm then good. We need to stand up and not support or condone this type of reporting.

    Keith (1b541c)

  5. Ten years after the victory of Prop 215, medical marijuana might be seen as legitimate therapy if not for the clowns behind the measure that designed it with loopholes intended to legalize ALL use, medical and otherwise.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle, January 3, 1998:


    At the close of a long interview at his Cannabis Cultivators Club in San Francisco, the affable Dennis Peron offered to roll a reporter a joint.

    The offer was politely declined, and the proffered buds of a substance that might have been marijuana were drawn back to the desk of club founder Peron, who has recently declared himself a Republican candidate for governor of California.

    It was a typical, and not wholly unexpected gesture from the bad boy of pot politics, but it underscored a tendency that is making Peron’s colleagues in the medical marijuana business very nervous — he bends the rules, and sometimes, they break.

    (snip)

    Peron’s uncompromising advocacy of full legalization of marijuana now irks some of his former allies. One of the Proposition 215 co- authors with Peron, Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center director Scott Imler, has publicly chastised the San Francisco club as a “circus” that threatens the existence of every medical marijuana provider in California.

    “We’re sick and tired of spending 90 percent of our time explaining away the excesses of Dennis Peron and 1444 Market Street,” said Imler.

    “We assured the voters over and over and over that we were talking about medical marijuana,” he added. “The minute the election passed, it was `Let’s smoke a fatty,’ and `All use is medical.’ Basically, that’s a betrayal of everything the voters did for patients.”

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  6. One thing that pisses me off to no end is the entire “medical marijuana” bovine feces. The active substance in marijuana that helps to reduce nausea is legally available, in the prescription drug Marinol.® My wife (a registered nurse) frequently has to administer it to chemotherapy patients.

    The “medical marijuana” advocates claim that Marinol is not as effective as smoking a joint, but there’s no scientific evidence to support that, because the point of smoking a joint is to get high, something that Marinol minimizes, though does not completely avoid in all cases.

    If someone wants to advocate the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, fine, let him advocate such; at least he’ll be telling the truth. But the “medical marijuana” circus is just that, a circus, a set of lies stacked upon lies, to get a foot in the door for marijuana legalization.

    Dana (c36902)

  7. This type of biased reporting is causing way more harm then good. We need to stand up and not support or condone this type of reporting.

    And when that doesn’t work, then what?

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a way, but people in vast numbers have been doing what you’re suggesting for decades and, if anything, the MSM’s behavior is worse now than it was then.

    The only way I can think of to even start to reverse the trend is for Republican public figures to stop playing nice with the press corps and to throw their record back in their faces EVERY TIME the press approaches them.

    You know, “Oh, you’re with the NYT, the paper that revealed secret US programs aimed at restricting terror funding, thus helping terrorists launder their money? Why should I trust you to report what I say?” or “Oh, you’re with the LA Times, who keep insisting on printing propaganda lies like the one about GW Bush supposedly thinking that Saddam literally killed Nelson Mandela? Why should I trust you to report what I say?”

    And there’s no sign that they’re going to do that,

    The polite fiction that the press corps is anything but a partisan organization isn’t going to come to an end unless there are harsh and immediate consequences, and those consequences aren’t forthcoming.

    So the behavior will continue.

    Merovign (4744a2)

  8. Dana #6,

    And Zofran works even better. It is all about getting high.

    nk (eeb240)

  9. Jack,

    I hit the registration wall on the LAT story. Could you, at least, please tell me the name of the case so I could access it at the Ninth Circuit?

    nk (eeb240)

  10. Are you suggesting that the LA Times permit news and fact to intrude upon the readers right to be “educated”? Clearly the attitude of a damned reactionary!

    OLDPUPPYMAX (c36902)

  11. “…. aren’t the Times’s readers entitled to a more balanced examination of the facts in this case and the application of the law?”
    Times readers deserve nothing.

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

  12. NK and others,

    You can avoid the registration wall at the LA Times or NY Times, among many others, by using BugMeNot

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  13. Dana: “The active substance in marijuana that helps to reduce nausea [THC] is legally available… as Marinol”

    Actually, THC is one active ingredient that reduces nausea, and probably the most important such ingredient. But no one has shown that it is the only such ingredient.

    “The medical marijuana advocates claim that Marinol is not as effective as smoking a joint, but there’s no scientific evidence to support that”

    By definition there could never be “scientific evidence to support that,” because it’s impossible to design a double-blind study comparing smoking marijuana to taking a Marinol pill.

    “the point of smoking a joint is to get high, something that Marinol minimizes, though does not completely avoid in all cases.”

    Actually, to the same extent you can say that THC is the main active ingredient in cannabis that reduces nausea, THC is also the main active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high. You also do not know what “the point” is for people who smoke marijuana for medical or other reasons, as motivations vary.

    Finally, note that when you are already nauseated and need more relief, swallowing a pill (such as Marinol) is not a meaningful option for you.

    All of the above said, I agree that it has proven difficult to define and enforce medical necessity provisions in the California law. Partyers are risking a backlash which will hurt those who need marijuana for nausea relief. It would be preferable if the federal government would allow the normal use of prescriptions for marijuana, by doctors, as they of course do for far more dangerous drugs (such as narcotics, not including Heroin for PR reasons, but including some which are more potent than even Heroin).

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  14. Plaintiff contended that he had been using marijuana for years to control pain and that it did not affect performance. Even small amounts of marijauna, alcohol, will have a negative impact on alertness, concentration, performance. This is equally true of desk jobs. Does anyone seriously believe they can work just as effectively if they have 1/4 glass of wine every couple of hours?

    joe - dallas (a18904)

  15. Darnit Jack, now how am I supposed to explain to my employer that he has to tolerate my use of of homeopathic desoxyn?

    See-Dubya (7f702c)

  16. Which reminds me, since we’re talking about “medical” marijuana clinics…

    See-Dubya (7f702c)

  17. Does anyone seriously believe they can work just as effectively if they have 1/4 glass of wine every couple of hours?

    Times reporters?

    Merovign (4744a2)

  18. Does anyone seriously believe they can work just as effectively if they have 1/4 glass of wine every couple of hours?

    Times reporters?

    Okay – I concede your response – However, I was referring to the effect on quality of performance.

    Joe - Dallas (3636af)


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