Prompted by a comment in “More junk science from Patricia Cavazos-Rehg”: http://www.drugwarrant.com/2015/01/more-junk-science-from-patricia-cavazos-rehg/comment-page-1/#comment-261717
“…he said long ago that a major reason for the continuance of prohibition could be summed up in two words: ‘Bad journalism’”
A terribly serious and undisclosed conflict of interest (one between benefiting journalists or the public “need to know” about government corruption) exists due to the mainstream media’s dominant reporting of tragic events.
Anyone familiar with journalism understands that the industry is highly competitive, so a journalist needs continuous access to the freshest newsworthy information for any possible advantage therein. That obviously means a surviving journalist must establish and sustain beneficial relationships with those people providing that information.
The group of people essentially always relied upon to provide newsworthy information about tragic events is our government.
While the mainstream media can safely go after ostracized government individuals wrestling with various scandals, and they can get away with exercising subtle political bias when their audience basically appreciates that bias, they cannot go after (honestly humiliate by extremely ripping into) a policy as abhorrent as the war on [some] drugs without risking “biting the hand that feeds” information-wise. For several decades, they supported (and still overwhelmingly support) that policy and feel the need to abandon their journalism code of ethics for that support.
The public (basically now through posterity) urgently needs to understand such conflict of interest effectively renders mainstream media as state-run media.
To eliminate that conflict (increasingly urgent for journalists due to public undermining of journalistic credibility online), journalists fearing their loss of credibility — such fear arguably responsible for the occasional ‘reporting cracks’ recently against that policy support — need to abandon the need for reporting tragic events (and successfully promote their consequent ‘only for the public good’ credibility to survive).
That elimination is unlikely on the one mainstream media hand (reporting tragedy is simply too convenient), but journalists online can turn to the other hand by becoming more granular in their reporting and set themselves up as the journalism equivalent of the government accountability office in some cases, while also offering content focused upon one or more professions/passions/etc. — i.e. activities that never rely upon that conflict of interest against the public good.
Though expensive to publicly expose corruption, and much less expensive to simply put a microphone in a government official’s face and basically repeat that message, journalists caring about their code of ethics and their professional legacy (in part by protecting their journalistic credibility) have no choice but to abandon their obvious tragedy addiction (and all of the undeniable societal harm, including sending the wrong message to children, that comes with that unethically unreported addiction).
Two public interventions are seriously promptly needed for the public good. One intervenes on behalf of journalistic integrity against tragedy addiction. The other intervenes on behalf of a legitimate (so credible) rule-of-law against prohibition (also tragedy) addiction.