Home > Uncategorized > New Times: All the News that’s Fit to Print?

New Times: All the News that’s Fit to Print?

Hot, hot segment on local journalism tonight during the 6:05 slot. On background, we had been fielding phone calls all afternoon during the show from listeners upset with the new issue of New Times and the cover story by Alice Moss on meth and how simple it is to make it. To prove its point, New Times even includes a specific recipe. My scheduled guest that hour was Dr. Don Regan and we were to pursue another topic, but Tom Madsen suggested we throw out the New Times issue to the listeners and you responded. We heard from drug counselors and police officers and indignant First Amendment types and angry parents. A good cross section came across on Hometown Radio.

This controversy follows on the heels of last week’s cover story by Dan Blackburn about Brian Thomas, the Grover Beach police officer who killed himself just as he was undergoing investigation for a variety of ugly personal issues. The Letters section in today’s New Times brimmed with anger and frustration at Dan’s story being aired in public.

I spoke to King Harris, the ME at New Times, tonight. He said folks were going around and emptying New Times copies out of news bins to keep people from reading the meth article.

As I indicated last week, New Times did the right thing in running the Brian Thomas story — I’d point out that the Trib ran a similar, watered-down story on the exact same day. Blackburn’s piece was much more comprehensive and raised legitimate questions about why Grover Beach kept promoting a cop who had such intense personal problems????? Dan Blackburn is the best reporter in the county and this was a tough story, well-done.

I’m not as convinced about the meth piece. I’d have to know more from Alice Moss as to her purpose behind this story. What was she trying to accomplish? Many of you were outraged; others suggested the same information could be found on the Internet. My problem is more with the presentation and tone of the piece — I think it sends a mixed message to the younger readers and my fear is that some local students will experiment. God, I sound like my parents!

So talk to me about these two cover stories: was New Times justified in presenting these articles?

  1. Kevin in Paso Robles
    February 3, 2006 at 5:43 am

    Why would the New Times publish in great detail the steps of meth production? The Santa Maria Sun cover story on the same subject was much more informative about the dangers of meth use and a much better use of paper and ink!

    Meth is no light subject. This wasn’t a recipe for Alice B. Tokeless brownies, this is a recipe for the poison that is killing members of my family! I have seen this drug slowly destroy my loved ones and the
    New Times has the nerve to publish the recipe with only a tongue and cheek caveat about the dangers of meth use. What were they thinking? I have to wonder how many of their advertisers are rethinking their advertising contracts with the New Times?

    I hope the editors of the New Times correct this grave misuse of their position in our community as a source of news and information by publishing a series of articles to raise awareness about the
    dangers of meth use.

    You should check out the Mothers Against Methamphetamine web site at
    http://www.mamasite.net for the truth about meth from a medical doctor who lost her brother to meth.

  2. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    February 3, 2006 at 6:30 am

    At first hearing of this story, I had no problem with it. I figured that anyone that was likely to try this already had the info. BUT after reading this article, and understanding the way that the tweaker wrote from personal experience I am very against the article.

    Harris is a user, I am sure of it. She did not really report much about the ill effects of Meth. True, there were a couple of places where she put in how bad it was, but at the same time she said that it was “technically” against the law to manufacture this very harmful and illegal substance.

    I walked by Starbucks in Atascadero tonight, and what did I see? Young people in beenies smoking, drinking coffee, and reading out loud to their group how to make meth directly from the nudetimes tried and tested by tweakers method. It is even safer than the internet recipe is probably what they were thinking.

    Harris must have had to self medicate with meth because her father was such a freaking loser and probably paid her little attention, so she turned to drugs to fill her empty life. Like wow, what a way to really shock people to notice I am a wannabe writer like my ahole father. Try writing a good story Harris.

    I think the nudetimes is great as a easy way to light you fire for free, or in desperate situations wiping other parts of you anatomy.

  3. Bob from San Luis
    February 3, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    I didn’t get to hear most of the calls concerning this article, but I have read the article in question. It is very easy to criticize the author for the presentation, and for making available the recipe in such a straight forward manner, but there is a certain reality that will prevent most people from trying this on their own. For most adults the fact that the method is very dangerous, and of course the act itself is illegal, coupled with the knowledge that trying to sell the product if one is successful in actually making the junk is where law enforcement will be looking the hardest. As for children trying to concoct this stuff, did you look at the ingredients listed? A certain brand of brake fluid from Idaho? Even if all the ingredients were readily accessible here locally, if your children were interested in trying to make this stuff, you have got some serious problems in your relationship with your kids.
    The way I read the article, the reason people take this stuff in the first place is because it supposedly gives you some sort of super human drive, and apparently gives you some super type of rush. It is a very sad commentary on our society that we have people who feel the need to take a substance like this in order to feel good or be productive; I’m sure that most who take it don’t think there is a real danger to themselves, and that they will give it up before it takes over their reason for living. That is the main problem with most drugs as I understand it, that fact that once you start, it is extremely hard to stop. If parents raise their kids in a way to help them realize that everything they do has a cumulative effect on the direction of how their lives evolve, the decision making process then has a better foundation to help in making good decisions. The kids who turn to drugs, sex, or any type of destructive behavior have not received the unconditional love and support that allows them to make good decisions, and possibly the example of their parents also dictated a decision to have bad judgement.
    I think the article serves a purpose, to make the community at large aware of how easy it is to make a bad decision, to be attracted to making easy money, and that we need to work to eliminate the causes of why people turn to drugs in the first place.

  4. Bryon in Grover Beach
    February 3, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    In my opinion, the article with the meth recipe is indefensible. I cannot see the purpose in giving the method of manufactuing such a dangerous substance in such explicit detail. Such “journalism” is irresponsible; what could be served by this method? The point that meth is harmful is grossly overshadowed by the amount of space and detail devoted to the receipe. What useful purpose does the receipe serve that a simple list of ingredients could not provide. I think the general population of the Central Coast is intelligent enough to grasp the danger of meth from such a list and an account of the harmful effects. Listing a shopping list that includes amounts/ratios of ingredients, helpful hints to obtain them and a step-by-step process of putting them together encourages production of a substance that has become a scourge on our community and society as a whole. Where is the warning that during the process any spark could ignite the materials and cause a toxic explosion. There is cursory mention that it can produce toxic and explosive fumes. Can? with the implication that it might not?! Was it mentioned that clean up of a “cook” requires the use of full-body chem suits? Was there consideration that young people who may be curious and interested but have external barriers (such as parental oversight of Internet use) now have an exceptionally easy way of obtaining detailed instructions to manufacture a lucrative, yet highly dangerous substance?
    I am all for the First Amendment guaranteeing our right to free speech. I believe that we need to be reasonable, thoughtful and ethical in our use of that right. This article, in my opinion, does not fall into a reasonable and certainly not an ethical use of the First Amendment.
    As I do not believe it would serve any purpose to write to the New Times with my objections as it is clear where the publishing staff stands I will be taking my disapproval to the advertisers in the current issue of the New Times. I would urge anyone that believes this article is hurtful to our community and a misuse of the trust we put in our journalists to contact any advertiser and refuse to do business with them until they agree to pull their dollars from this publication.

  5. Annie L
    February 4, 2006 at 1:11 am

    As much as I would like to sugar-coat the possible backlash from this article (by saying that it provides a public service by educating parents), I simply cannot condone the publishing of the recipe for meth.

    Here we are: a college town, a downtown frequented by the youngest and most susceptible and vulnerable of our citizenry, and WHAM! Right out in front of some of the most popular storefronts and corners in our community is our New Times and its cover story about “Meth made easy.”

    One sidebar with a tightly composed presentation about the negative aspects/consequences does not a responsible journalism piece make. Evidently the reporter is either too young and inexperienced to create a newsworthy piece, or the reporter is too old and is hiding her head somewhere very narrow and dark.

    This piece represents a total disservice to many families in our community. Single parents, in particular, have an increasingly difficult time holding their clans together, monitoring their childrens’ activities and friendships without THIS.

    After many years in junior high and high school youth ministry, it has been my experience that even the most well-meaning and involved parents are increasingly naive about our society.

    Mercy! What is the editorial staff thinking? Surely our journalists can do better than this to bring the tragedy of meth production, distribution, and consumption to light.

  6. Annie L
    February 4, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Regarding the show w/the two fellows rambling on about Mulims, the Koran, etc.:

    At one point I could almost hear the collective shock and disbelief registering in our local RadioLand. The previous blogger expressed very well her umbrage and I can only add mine to hers.

    Meanwhile, I’m holding on to the hope that Dave brings someone back to debate the guest host on the air (or off) because the guest host certainly blasted our ears with his unsubstantiated and inflammatory rhetoric.

    If we continue to take random quotes out of each other’s Sacred Scripture and hold them up as dogma, doctrine, or rules to live by, we shall continue to remain divided and judgemental and unavailable for earnest, productive dialogue or resolution.

  7. Anonymous
    February 4, 2006 at 1:32 am

    As soon as I read the article this morning I drove to the New Times office and tossed the shredded recipe at the Advertising Director. After assuring her that I personally will never again run any advertisments in the paper, I questioned whether or not the Author was a parent…..surprise, the answer was no. I then made sure she understood that I did not just get off the boat from Utah, I was one of her nightmares…..a furious “liberal”. I have begun to contact as many advertisers as I do business with, suggesting their dollars be better spent. As she was trying to apologize for the article I assured her it meant nothing, they made an editorial decision that I hope costs them their jobs.

  8. Kevin in Paso
    February 5, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    As of this am (Sunday 8:42) The New Times has pulled the recipe and step-by-step instructions for meth production from the online version of their cover story – also they have changed the name of the article from “Meth Made Easy” to “Your Neighbor the Meth Head”.

    But what about all those print versions out there? According to their website the New Times is “the largest circulated paper in the region” boasting of a circulation of 40,000. How do they undo that?

    They really need to step up to the plate now and publish in several issues a series on meth covering the dangers, warning signs, treatment options, and photos of end-stage users. Then to truly prove their value in the community they need to make a meaningful monetary donation to Drug and Alcohol Services or Teen Challenge.

  9. Lola
    February 7, 2006 at 6:43 am

    I’m outraged at New Times meth story and receipe for cooking meth. What were they thinking? What possible value does this kind of story have for our community when local news is full of the problems meth is causing for our communities. We are all impacted by this insidious drug. So New Times comes out with “where to buy the ingredients, how to make it and ha, what a great return on your minimal investment”. Come on. This is the worst I have ever seen as far as unprofessional, inappropriate, irresponsible journalism.

    I have a son who spent time in prison as a result of getting involved with meth, I know first hand what a devestating affect this drug can have on entire families and I’m appalled that you would allow such an article to be published. I think it’s entirely possible that that story may be responsible for future deaths and distroyed lives and a disturbing wave of distraught families. One thing I’ve learned, it’s not just the user, whole families are affected when one member of that family gets caught in the nightmare of meth. My son’s 91 year old grandmother hopes to live to see the day her grandson gets his life straightened out. I hope she does too, I hope I do. Only 6% recover, its heart breaking, think of it, only 6% get their lives back. I intend to call as many of their advertisers as possible and let them know how I feel, I hope to discourage them from advertising in their publication, I encourage you to do the same. Its an outrage.

  10. Anonymous
    February 7, 2006 at 8:22 am

    Is it possible that New Times now realizes exactly how bad of judgement they showed in running this piece? The outrage of the community should be directed at New Times management for now, and, after the next issue comes out, if they have not shown enough remorse, haven’t taken responsibility for their action, and shown exactly how they intend to try to make amends, then by all means at that time contact advertisers and complain. To do so before New Times can respond is a bit premature. The poor judgement shown by New Times management shouldn’t be piled on to the advertisers, yet. Hopefully New Times will make accords and will have learned a valuable lesson. We’ll see.

  11. Alan from South County
    February 7, 2006 at 8:36 am

    I’m a right wing conservative. As such, I would prefer more journalistic responsibility and
    integrity from news sources. New Times showed a clear lack of responsiblity in running the meth story (or at least the ‘recipe’ part of it).

    However, if the New Times, Rogue Voice or even Tribune want to publish crap, then the readers, advertisers and/or businesses which allow the racks on their property can decide whether they want to support it.

    I don’t condone the practice of removing whole stacks of free papers just because you don’t agree with the content. (This is not stealing, however,
    since the papers are free. So, you guests today should change they’re language about this.) I would suggest that people who have a problem with
    New Times or Rogue Voice complain loudly to the businesses which allow their distribution (i.e. advertisers and stores with racks).

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