How not to report about meth.

Media criticism.
March 21 2006 6:57 PM

How Not To Report About Meth

The Washington Post shows the way.

(Continued from Page 1)

Richard Rawson, a UCLA researcher who has studied meth for two decades, tells Paley that emergency-room visits and patient admissions tend to lag five to seven years behind the emergence of the drug, and that observed use by gays and any lab seizures are good markers of a potential wave of use. Or, maybe not.

The easiest way to end a bad article like this is to return to the anecdotal user, whose life was destroyed by drugs. The Post obliges, reintroducing us to Jimmy Garza, who was arrested for meth possession, lost his freedom, lost his job at AOL, lost his two cars, was evicted from his "posh" home, and declared bankruptcy. "His primary mission is to tell his story so that people realize the dangers of meth," Paley writes.


As much as I am prepared to believe that a meth epidemic is gathering speed and will soon rush through the Washington metropolitan region like Hurricane Katrina on a rocket sled, Mr. Garza's drug confessional and the Post's sketchy reporting leave me as ignorant about the drug's local incidence and prevalence as I was before I opened the paper.

Addendum, March 22, 2:30 p.m.: Don't miss Angela Valdez's brilliant critique of the Oregonian's multi-part methamphetamine series in this week's Willamette Week.


A friend recommends that I combine my obsessions with press coverage of methamphetamine and Judith Miller's reporting. What sort of monster that would breed? Send your ideas via e-mail to (E-mail may be quoted unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.