Archive for the ‘The Media’ Category
I confess I shed a few tears at Cilla’s funeral today, given extraordinary coverage on BBC News.
She was part of the the soundtrack of my life. I grew up with her. One of my earliest memories, probably aged about six, was in the kitchen of our house in St Bernards Road, Solihull. My mum was there, at the sink, and Cilla’s voice singing ‘Downtown’ was blaring out of the transistor radio on top of the fridge. (Yes, it was Cilla, not Petula Clark. Cilla did a version as well.)
Later, before she went over to tacky ITV, she was the BBC Saturday night star. ‘Blind Date’ was amusing, the first time you saw it but the Cilla show was an institution and ‘Step Inside Love’ was perhaps the first time that romance entered my young mind.
Someone to be thankful for and a little sentimental about.
Cannabis Saves Lives And Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives Every Day. All the Media Can Worry About Is Djokovic’s Nose.
The BBC, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, countless international publications, blogs and websites have published this ridiculous story.
Apparently, Novak Djokovic felt “dizzy” because he could smell cannabis during his Rogers Cup semi-final win over Jérémy Chardy in Montreal. Now let’s be clear, the smell of cannabis comes from terpenes, not from cannabinoids. It cannot get you high or dizzy.
I’m pleased that Novak recognises the delightful smell of weed. More and more sportspeople are using it as an aid to recovery. NFL and rugby players are advised to use it to protect against the dangers of concussion or brain injury. Stimulating the endocannabinoid system helps to promote healing and growth. Not long before cannabis is ruled out of sport as a performance enhancer, not just because of blind prejudice against a safer recreational drug.
But it is sickening that so much coverage is given to this when across the world there are so many more important stories about the almost miraculous, life saving, therapeutic effects of cannabis. Similarly, there are important but tragic stories of people being incarcerated for growing the plant or treating their illness with it. There are disgusting stories of corruption in governments, parliaments and bureaucracies where lies and misinformation about cannabis are promoted, mainly to protect vested interests in the alcohol and law enforcement industries.
All the media is interested in is this sort of trivial nonsense, unless of course it’s some mythological scare story about mental illness or deranged axe murderers. A free press is a valuable and essential part of our pretence at democracy. We also need freedom from the lies, misinformation and corrupt agendas of press barons and editors.
Where are the front page headlines, the hysterical editorials, the hand wringing, bleating and scaremongering from the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail? They seem to be very quiet on this one. To be fair the Mail has covered it but the leaders in anti-cannabis propaganda at the Telegraph have ignored it and so have the BBC. What a surprise! Even Jon ‘Skunk’ Snow, the latest journalist to sacrifice his integrity on the altar of reefer madness, is completely silent. No grandstanding opportunities on this one.
This is a huge study of 408 males tracked from adolescence into their mid-30s. The results have been published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and comprehensively demolish the many, much smaller, ‘snapshot’ studies that the Mail, the Telegraph and the BBC have given massive prominence to in the past.
Even more important than the study itself is the insight this provides into the blatant dishonesty, misrepresentation and falsehood which UK newspapers and TV routinely engage in when reporting on cannabis. The usual bigots and deceivers such as Kathy Gyngell, Dr Max Pemberton, Simon Heffer and Melanie Phillips are notable only for their absence. This is the way the debate on cannabis is conducted in the UK. The media misrepresent the evidence, report only what supports their editorial position and our weak, cowardly political leaders dutifully follow what Fleet Street tells them to do.
What is particularly important is that this is a longitudinal study, following real people in real life over a long period of time. It’s a large number of people and its accuracy and reliability eclipses virtually all the research that the prohibition supporters report on at great length.
This is the real cannabis psychosis. A pathological dishonesty affecting editors, journalists, civil servants and politicians. Nothing demonstrates the seriousness of this widespread illness than the lack of coverage given to this remarkable research.
Remember this next time you see some ridiculous newspaper column misinforming about cannabis or some pompous fool of an MP bellowing their ignorant views in the House of Commons.
How the Code has been breached
2. Para 2 first sentence: “Many ministers admit having used illegal substances; so this policy of allowing the nation to rot its brains and become a danger to everyone else has yet to be countermanded.”
This is factually inaccurate. There is no evidence that cannabis ‘rots the brain’. In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Many studies demonstrate that cannabis is neuroprotective and helps to protect the brain against external injury, concussion and stroke. There is also no evidence that cannabis use causes anyone to “become a danger to everyone else”.
How the Code has been breached
1. Subhead: “Police laxity has led to more young pot-heads and rising levels of psychosis and addiction” This is factually incorrect. There are now fewer people of all ages using cannabis.
2. Para 3 “Far from a harsh approach, it is laxity that has boosted the number of young pot-heads. This is bad for multiple reasons. Cannabis itself is extremely dangerous. It impairs memory, cripples judgment and the ability to learn. In high doses it can cause addiction, paranoia and psychosis and provoke schizophrenia.”
Factually incorrect. The “number of young pot-heads” has declined not been “boosted”. There is no evidence that cannabis is “extremely dangerous”. There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.
3. Para 7 “Then they claimed Portugalâ’s drug liberalisation had caused drug use to tumble. This was untrue; the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that drug use there had increased.”
Factually incorrect, the EMCDDA and all sources show that drug use has declined in Portugal since decriminalisation
4. Para 10 “Although there is no scientific evidence for definitive benefit from medicinal cannabis, the US has now legalised this in 23 states”
Factually incorrect, there is a vast quantity of peer-reviewed, published scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis.
These are very serious inaccuracies which Ms Phillips publishes on a regular basis in the full knowledge that they are untrue. Any newspaper which knowingly publishes lies and falsehoods to deceive its readers should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions including a financial penalty. Such dishonest publications must be dealt with firmly, sufficient to deter repetition.
Some people think the BBC is right wing and others think it’s run by a bunch of commie subversives. Personally I’d say it’s soft left, mumsy, pro-status quo. It supports the establishment and that means it’s always been negative about cannabis. If it isn’t joining in the demonisation of us – the three million psychotic axe murderers that use cannabis regularly in the UK – then it takes a jokey, sarcastic, snide angle.
So the release of a short news video report today ‘Can cannabis oil cure serious diseases like cancer?’ is a big step forward. Even better, it’s fronted by Alastair Leithead, a credible, intelligent journalist, not by some ‘celebrity doctor’ or the ‘addiction expert’ Professor John Marsden, who presented the disgraceful and misleading ‘America’s Stoned Kids’ in 2012, where he tried to pin adolescents with cannabis problems on Colorado’s legalisation even though it hadn’t even come into force at the time.
Mark my words, this is a step change, a seminal moment.
Perhaps, at last, the UK media will start treating medicinal cannabis seriously as has been happening in America and Australia for many years. We’ve already seen some local newspapers publishing intelligent articles and the Daily Mail has jumped on the bandwagon of sensationalist stories about treating childhood epilepsy. All we need now is The Times, The Guardian and the Sundays to give it the attention it deserves. The Daily Telegraph has become the new home of ‘reefer madness’, with appalling distortion of science, more tabloid than a tabloid. But we don’t need it anymore, it’s made itself irrelevant.
So watch this short video. It includes interviews with Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK, a woman who is cancer free after rejecting chemotherapy and only using cannabis oil and a sceptical Professor David Agus, who is entirely correct that there is no credible scientific evidence yet available that cannabis cures cancer.
It’s coming though. CLEAR is about to publish the most comprehensive, up to date paper ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’. A leading pharmacologist is about to publish a paper supporting a move of cannabis from schedule one to schedule two and various clinical trials are coming to fruition.
All the more reason to be optimistic that the next Parliament will have no option but to introduce long-overdue reform.