Dec 12, 2009

The corrections

In this week's medical marijuana wars...

On Thursday, Vince Beiser at Huffington Post criticizes the LA Weekly's coverage of L.A.'s medical marijuana dispensaries, calling it "half baked." He says the paper did a fine job of chronicling the city's hapless effort to regulate pot clubs, but then repeated without evidence claims that the clubs attract crime. From HuffPo:
But the reporters leap from those carefully collected facts into pure hype about how pot shops are breeding crime. We are told that there is "rising crime in and around them," that "20 unregulated pot dispensaries (are) attracting crime in ... Eagle Rock", and that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says, "They are the hub of crime ... A lot of nighttime break-ins and robberies." Not one of these scary-sounding claims is backed up with a single statistic.

Crime stats are easy to gather -- you can find them mapped block-by-block on the LAPD's website.
On Friday, the LA Weekly strikes back. But HuffPo isn't the target. Instead, the paper launches a two-pronged critique of the Los Angeles Times and NPR for their coverage of the same issue, saying they don't have their facts straight. From the Weekly:
Maybe NPR has been reading too much of the Los Angeles Times coverage of this city's pot shop problem, or maybe one of its reporters is relying too heavily on the word of local politicians, but a recent post on the NPR blog gets many facts wrong about L.A.'s medical weed ordinance and all the hub-bub surrounding it.
Can't we all just mellow out?

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