BURN­ING IS­SUES

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - / Bruce Tins­ley

Barry McCaffrey, hold your ears. The for­mer Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion drug czar might cringe over Lib­er­tar­i­ans and their joy­ous re­ac­tion to Pres­i­dent Obama’s new lais­sez-faire pol­icy to­ward med­i­cal mar­i­juana. The op­er­a­tive word is “pleased,” says Lib­er­tar­ian Na­tional Com­mit­tee Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Wes Bene­dict.

“This is a small step in the right di­rec­tion. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment cur­rently wastes tremendous re­sources in the War on Drugs, cre­at­ing a huge, vi­cious, vi­o­lent black mar­ket. This new pol­icy will re­duce the dam­age and de­struc­tion, and it will hope­fully end some of the un­just prose­cu­tion of peace­ful med­i­cal mar­i­juana providers and pa­tients,” Mr. Bene­dict says.

“We urge the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion not to stop with this small step, but to take fur­ther steps to end the de­struc­tive, un­just, un­con­sti­tu­tional War on Drugs,” he adds.

Like we said, hold your ears, Mr. McCaffrey. story. That’s the amount in­volved for the newly minted Me­dia for Lib­erty Award, meant “to en­cour­age me­dia en­tries that ex­plore the link be­tween eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal lib­erty.” Calls for en­tries have now gone out from the Lib­erty Me­dia Corp., a Colorado-based group with in­ter­ests in a broad range of elec­tronic re­tail­ing, me­dia, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and en­ter­tain­ment busi­nesses. It has set the bar pretty high. “Economists and po­lit­i­cal the­o­rists have long de­bated the re­la­tion­ship be­tween eco­nomic lib­erty (i.e., free­dom of in­di­vid­u­als to make eco­nomic choices in a free-mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment) and po­lit­i­cal lib­erty (i.e., free­dom from gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion and fos­ter­ing of civil lib­er­ties). Prom­i­nent economists such as Milton Fried­man, Friedrich Hayek and Lud­wig von Mises, have ar­gued that free economies are con­ducive to, or even an in­sep­a­ra­ble el­e­ment of, po­lit­i­cal free­dom,” the group notes in a lengthy ad­vi­sory.

Judges for the com­pe­ti­tion in­clude Al­lan Dodds Frank, pres­i­dent of the Over­seas Press Club of Amer­ica, and Stacey Woelfel, chair­man of the Ra­dio-Tele­vi­sion News Direc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion. Guide­lines en­cour­age re­port­ing that “chal­lenges con­ven­tional think­ing or il­lu­mi­nates through ex­pe­ri­ence and fact.”

“Mas­tery of mes­sage and skill in de­liv­ery stand out” for print, broad­cast and elec­tronic en­tries pub­lished or trans­mit­ted dur­ing 2009, the group says. Con­sult www.lib­er­tyme­dia.com for more in­for­ma­tion. dus­try.

“A re­view of cur­rent law strongly sug­gests that, un­der present cir­cum­stances, a non­profit news­pa­per could qual­ify for tax ex­emp­tion without the need for leg­is­la­tion by Congress or new rul­ings by the IRS,” say the sages of Har­vard Uni­ver­sity’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter on the Press, Pol­i­tics and Pub­lic Pol­icy, which has is­sued a 37-page anal­y­sis en­ti­tled, “Can Non­prof­its Save Jour­nal­ism? Le­gal Con­straints and Op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The Columbia Jour­nal­ism School has its own ver­sion — “The Re­con­struc­tion of Amer­i­can Jour­nal­ism” — penned by for­mer Wash­ing­ton Post Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor Len Downie and Columbia jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sor Michael Schud­son. Among other things, the 100-page re­port also sug­gests that news or­ga­ni­za­tion op­er­ate as non­prof­its. The re­port war­ranted a big send-off by wonks and law­mak­ers at the Capi­tol Vis­i­tor Cen­ter on Oct. 21.

But wait a minute. Aren’t there a few com­pli­ca­tions that could arise here?

“We warned of this crazy trend of gov­ern­ment-funded jour­nal­ism just last week when we re­leased our new re­port ‘The Great News­pa­per Bailout.’ ” Dan Gainor tells In­side the Belt­way.

The study — writ­ten by Mr. Gainor and Cather­ine Mag­gio and pub­lished by the Busi­ness & Me­dia In­sti­tute — sets forth a sim­ple but pow­er­ful equa­tion: “Gov­ern­ment Aid = Gov­ern­ment Con­trol.” Mr. Gainor cau­tions his fel­low me­dia an­a­lysts.

“At least Downie’s not sub­tle. His ver­sion of the old bi­ased me­dia failed mis­er­ably. Now he’s on a ji­had to get tax­pay­ers to pay for a new, bi­ased me­dia — this time with bil­lions of our tax dol­lars. It would still be run by typ­i­cal lefty jour­nal­ists, but wouldn’t have any real ac­count­abil­ity. Worse still is that Downie will find re­cep­tive ears from Pres­i­dent Obama and Hill Democrats who want noth­ing more than to use our money pay­ing off their cronies in the press,” Mr. Gainor says.

“Didn’t any­body in the me­dia read the 1st Amend­ment? It says ‘Congress shall make no law’ re­gard­ing free­dom of the press. I thought even Len Downie un­der­stood ‘no’ means ‘no.’ ” against the news­pa­per, along with ProPublica — an in­de­pen­dent, non­profit in­ves­tiga­tive news group founded by jour­nal­ists from the Times and other pa­pers.

At is­sue is “Strained by Ka­t­rina, a Hospi­tal Faced Deadly Choices,” a lengthy ar­ti­cle that ran in the Times Sun­day mag­a­zine on Aug. 25, writ­ten by Dr. Sheri Fink, a staff re­porter for Pro Publica. The 13,000-word ac­count, which cost $400,000 and two years to pro­duce, im­plied that Dr. Ar­m­ing­ton, a board cer­ti­fied neu­ro­ra­di­ol­o­gist, was aware that up to 45 pa­tients at Memo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter in New Orleans had been eu­th­a­nized dur­ing the 2005 hur­ri­cane — and did noth­ing about it.

Dr. Ar­m­ing­ton claims that Dr. Fink mis­rep­re­sented her­self and sen­sa­tion­al­ized the story in a quest for a book deal, and that the Times sought to fur­ther its “com­mer­cial in­ter­est” and al­liance with the well-funded Pro Publica by pub­lish­ing it. The pa­per re­fused to print a re­trac­tion. The physi­cian is claim­ing reck­less defama­tion of his char­ac­ter, call­ing the story “the epit­ome of par­ti­san, ide­o­log­i­cal and par­tial jour­nal­ism.”

More on emerges.

this as the case

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.