Tips for Citizen Journalists: What is wrong with the Reporting of U.S. Media?

8:14 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

At worst, mainstream media reports on pseudo events.  At best, its treatment of real issues is sensational and superficial

The same thing is true of the U.S. media that is true of the U.S. Congress:  Even at their best (which is not seen often) they address the symptoms (such as need for jobs) and ignore identification and repair of the root cause (the underlying broken economic ideology that has created unemployment).  After watching a CURRENT TV presentation last night on the subject of OxyContin, my initial impression was: “Wow! this is a story.  This is ‘real’ reporting.”  However, after spending a few hours afterwards reflecting on the show, my assessment of that presentation is: “Wow! this is half a story.”  True, even half a story is often not even told on mainstream media; however, half a story is not good enough–not to bring about real change at a root level of causation.


For example, here is at least part of the other half of the OxyContin story that was not told:

1. The role that Purdue Pharma and its investors played in actively creating this situation was  not mentioned. This Connecticut based drug company has been sued by several American States and Providences from Canada. Purdue has been charged time and time again with irresponsible marketing of the powerful pain reliever although its two highest executives, CEO Michael Friedman and CLO Howard Udell pled guilty to these marketing charges, they shout their innocents from podiums across the country and blame everyone else for the deaths of thousands.  That’s what Wall Street and the rich do best:  blame their victims.  They call it “individual responsibility” and it is part of their broken economic ideology. It was all Someone Else’s Fault [That should be the mantra of Wall Street and the Rich. That, or perhaps: "Who me?"] In this particular example, OxyContin addiction is the fault of uneducated poor people who are for the most part under the age of 25–not the sophisticated marketeers of Purdue Pharma who intentionally, by their own admission, market the drug under false pretenses.

2. Stories of how citizens are fighting back. For example, in my research I read where some pharmacies are refusing to carry OxyContin–not all out of altruistic motives: some are doing it to reduce the incidence of robberies. It is empowering for citizens to know what they can do to fight back against such injustice so responsible reporting should include suggestions for remedies to the situation that citizens can take now.


3. The disgraceful role that our current Attorney General, Eric Holder played in the current OxyContin epidemic.

In 2001 West Virginia filed a suit against the secretly held firm of Purdue Pharma alleging that the firm had intent in “coercive and deceptive” selling of OxyContin.  In November 2004, Eric Holder helped bargain a settlement. Working in the judge’s chambers in West Virginia, he put together an consent beneath that the firm would have to pay $10 million over 4 years in to drug abuse and preparation programs in West Virginia — and Purdue Pharma would not have to confess any wrongdoing!

Eric Holder managed to silence public awareness of Purdue Pharma and what they  had done since there would be no hearing and no public papers. Did Holder’s “hands in the pockets of Purdue Pharma” enable this widespread of OxyContin demise and obsession via the nation to perpetuate? Many people think it did.  You can count me among them.

4. Emphasis on the fact that the problem does not just impact the poor white underclass or “Hillbillies” as they are sometimes called.  Part of the program last night featured the crowded jails in Kentucky and interviews with several women, mothers of children under the age of five, were serving 7 year sentences for selling OxyContin. As I watched it I thought: HMMMM 7 years.  I wonder how much that costs taxpayers?  Another hidden price that the majority pay for crimes that are nurtured and grown for profit by Wall Street Corporations.

So I looked it up this morning and found that Incarceration costs nearly $22,000 per inmate, per year in Kentucky [SOURCE].  So one woman would cost the taxpayers of Kentucky $154,000 for her seven-year stay.  Just imagine this creative solution instead:  Allocate approximately half that amount to be used toward her education with the requirement that it be paid back through a low-interest loan. Could we possibly get past our need to punish people and work to actually turn them around into citizens who contribute to society?

5. That more of the same is coming down the pike.

Part of a whole story would include, if true, facts to indicate that the problem is far from solved.  For example, my research after viewing this show revealed that yet another Wall Street Corporation is seeking FDA approval to Market Generic OxyContin.

DOW Jones NEWSWIRES  June 14, 2011 – Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (WPI) on Friday confirmed it is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to market oxycodone hydrochloride extended-relief tablets for several strengths, a generic version of Purdue Pharma LP’s OxyContin.



So many of the stories on mainstream media report on pseudo events such as the Balloon Boy, Reverend Wright rants, and Weiner’s twitter escapades.

These stories should be addressed only to discredit them as not being newsworthy.

For the other stories that are reported on mainstream media, we should look closely at them and ask ourselves:  Is there more to this story than is being told?

Most often, asking this question will lead to answers such as the ones I uncovered in regard to the OxyContin story.

NOTE:  Here is an update on what the former criminal leaders of Purdue Pharma are doing today.