Po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and opi­oids

In the age of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness the heroin epi­demic is just get­ting worse

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Wil­liam C. Triplett II Wil­liam C. Triplett II is the for­mer chief Repub­li­can coun­sel to the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee.

On Fri­day, Dec. 16 the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol re­leased its an­nual re­port of drug over­dose deaths. The CDC re­ported that “rates of other opi­oids, specif­i­cally heroin and syn­thetic opi­oids other than methadone (likely driven pri­mar­ily by il­lic­itly man­u­fac­tured fen­tanyl) in­creased sharply over­all and across many states.” By “sharply”, that in­cludes a one year in­crease in New York State deaths of 135.7 per­cent from fen­tanyl alone. While the CDC re­port is cer­tainly worth read­ing and con­sult­ing on the heroin epi­demic, it is also se­ri­ously de­fi­cient. In seven sin­gle-spaced pages with aca­demic foot­notes, there is pre­cisely zero dis­cus­sion of the sources of the prob­lem. The words “Mex­ico,” “China” (source of fen­tanyl), “the bor­der,” “car­tels” or “traf­fick­ing” do not ap­pear. A reader com­ing to the is­sue cold would have no idea where this poi­son came from or how it made its way to “Mas­sachusetts, New Hamp­shire, Ohio, Rhode Is­land and West Vir­ginia,” among other Amer­i­can states dev­as­tated ac­cord­ing to the CDC.

On the same Fri­day, Dec. 16, run­ning well over an hour, Pres­i­dent Obama held his fi­nal news con­fer­ence as pres­i­dent. In his open­ing mono­logue, the pres­i­dent made a tour de force of the world and the United States dur­ing his eight years in of­fice. Although he men­tioned some con­tin­u­ing so­cial prob­lems, heroin was not one of them. Five re­porters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg and other ma­jor me­dia out­lets asked him ques­tions. None of them asked about heroin deaths.

Still stay­ing with Fri­day, Dec. 16, the Wall Street Jour­nal pro­duced an oth­er­wise ex­cel­lent Page 1 above the fold fea­ture on the ef­fects of the heroin epi­demic on chil­dren who lose their par­ents. The story ran 67 pre­cious inches of type and in­cluded three large color pho­tos and two charts show­ing the rise in chil­dren placed with rel­a­tives or fos­ter care due to the heroin epi­demic. Again, the Jour­nal’s re­porters failed to ref­er­ence “Mex­ico,” “China,” “the bor­der,” “car­tels” or “traf­fick­ing.”

So, we’re 0 of 3 on Fri­day the 16th. But maybe that was just an ano­maly? On Sun­day, Dec. 18, The Wash­ing­ton Post ran its own fea­ture on chil­dren caught up in the heroin epi­demic — Page A-1 again but this time the cov­er­age ran to 80 col­umn inches and four color pho­tos, tak­ing up the en­tirety of two in­side pages. It clearly dom­i­nated the Sun­day edi­tion of the pa­per and, just like the Jour­nal’s fea­ture to­tally failed to men­tion the source of the prob­lem. None of the magic words ap­peared.

It is ac­tu­ally pos­si­ble to re­port on the heroin epi­demic in a rea­son­able and pro­fes­sional man­ner. In mid-Novem­ber, the Bri­tish Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BBC) ran a mul­ti­part fea­ture which was shown in the United States and is still on their web­site. They be­gan in Mex­ico with a first seg­ment called, “Amer­ica’s Heroin Trail: The Out­door Fac­tory that Feeds the U.S”. Later seg­ments fol­lowed the drugs over the bor­der to their users and showed the death and destruction that heroin and fen­tanyl cause. All or nearly all the magic words ap­peared.

The BBC’s pro­duc­tion makes good sense: The prob­lem starts here (Mex­ico and China). It goes through there (the Bor­der) and it causes harm over there- New Hamp­shire or some other Amer­i­can State. To my knowl­edge, no Amer­i­can broad­cast or ca­ble net­work has ever done that, cer­tainly not in re­cent years as heroin from Mex­ico and fen­tanyl from China have ex­ploded on the Amer­i­can scene. To the ex­tent that they have cov­ered the is­sue at all, the Amer­i­can net­works have ex­clu­sively fo­cused on the suf­fer­ing of the users and their rel­a­tives, just as the Jour­nal and the Post did in the ex­am­ples cited above. In one case, ABC did an hour long show, with their evening An­chor, David Muir, in the chair and he men­tioned the word “Mex­ico” in one half of one sen­tence in Minute 51.

The re­sponse of the CDC, the Jour­nal, the Post and the broad­cast­ers is pretty com­mon. The BBC’s re­port is what is un­com­mon and, to its credit, The Wash­ing­ton Times has also cov­ered the sub­ject pro­fes­sion­ally. Why, then did the CDC and the Amer­i­can jour­nal­ists not live up to nor­mal pro­fes­sional stan­dards? The an­swer, I would ar­gue, is the bor­der. Once you start ask­ing, “Well, how did this poi­son get here to kill Amer­i­can cit­i­zens?” you are on a slip­pery slope to­wards Mex­ico, China and the bor­der. That then feeds right into the bor­der se­cu­rity ar­gu­ments of At­tor­ney Gen­eral-des­ig­nate Jeff Ses­sions and Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump. It’s a di­rect shot with no side­tracks. So po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness pre­vails. If you don’t ask the “how” ques­tion, you never reach the an­swer which is, “Without bor­der se­cu­rity, there will be no halt­ing the heroin epi­demic.” And, if you don’t ask the “how” ques­tion, that means that po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is more im­por­tant than Amer­i­can lives.


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