The story did get covered by the major newspapers.  There was nothing particularly ground-breaking in their coverage, although CBS News did position the story in the context of a 0.7% increase in illegal drug use, according to last year’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  Still, as Pete at Drug War Rant points out, what did happen had some real value.

As an interesting juxtaposition, over in the UK, the Sun has been polling its readers on legalization.  According to the results. 34.74% said drug laws should remain the same, while 31.46% were in favour of legalising some drugs, and 33.33% wanted them ALL legalised.  The Sun headlines this story, “Readers Split on Legal Highs“.  I’d have to disagree with the editorializing. I have pointed out previously in this blog that maths really isn’t my strong point, but by my count, I’d put that as 64.8% in favor of legalization, decriminalization or some kind of drug law reform.

Does this kind of thing influence editorial decisions at papers such as the Sun?  There’s a section in Last Call (the book on Prohibition, which I go on about endlessly) where Okrent talks of the influence that the press baron Hearst’s position shift, from pro- to anti-Prohibition,  had on the social discourse.  Once the editorial line was anti-prohbition, headlines in his papers screamed of the gangster violence, gossip pieces reveled in the hypocrisy of Prohibitioners caught smuggling, and opinion pieces decried some of the more horrendous injustices against law-breakers. Who knows whether Hearst changed his mind to reflect the views of his readers and boost sales, or genuinely had a change of heart, but regardless, the tone of the coverage, and the tone of the debate changed.

I can’t see Rupert Murdoch or Paul Dacre changing their minds any time soon, but would the editorial slant change if legalization/ decriminalization/ some kind of reform really was the shout of the vox populi?

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