When covering media coverage of drug issues, I recently suggested that the media often does a somewhat fair job at it. After such statements, sometimes I hit Google to do some more fact checking. This time I ran into one where a major paper botched it in a very big way.
Butterfield could have at least checked his facts (he reported the warrant in the Maye case was about crack cocaine), talked with people on both sides of the issue (he interviewed lot of drug warriors, but not their victims), or indicated that prohibition was the primary source of the problems he mentioned in his article. This sloppy reporting may have given the police and prosecuters the confidence they needed to feel they could successfully “rearrange” facts and potentially doctor warrants in order to put an innocent man on death row.
I doubt even Karen Tandy could have written such a one-sided article. I also doubt she could have got the facts wrong as often in a single piece. Then again, even Tandy has been known to surprise me with the level she’ll take things. If Butterfield was still writing, I’d suggest that he be fired for such irresponsibilty. As he isn’t, hopefully any semblence of conscience he has remaining will gnaw at him everytime he hears of a victim of the drug war dying or suffering needlessly. Not that I’ll hold my breath on it, though.