Does Helen Boaden, the Director of Radio at the BBC, think she is above the law? I really think she must. She and her equally fireproof Controller of Radio Four?
Arrogance as well as bias is endemic at the BBC. Clearly, neither the hugely overpaid Boaden nor her junior at Radio 4, Gwyneth Williams, saw anything wrong at all with the Point of View they commissioned from the ‘self confessed and proud of it’ pot smoking writer, Sarah Dunant, broadcast last Sunday morning, and which they wasted no time posting online.
It is hard to know where to begin with this ‘opinion’ piece. How it was deemed fit to air beggars belief. But then, why would I be surprised? After all, it was on Boaden’s overall watch that the ‘corporate’ decision was taken to drop Newsnight’s investigation into Jimmy Savile. Nor was this the first time that she has failed to ensure robust journalism. Her ‘form’ on the BBC’s EU coverage is a book in itself. After Savile, instead of being fired, she was moved sideways, since when all those who tried to investigate Savile properly have been purged.
BBC Radio’s editorial team gave Sarah Dunant an unchallenged 10 minutes to extoll the virtues of ‘self medicating’ with marijuana (the latest euphemism for getting stoned); to put her two stained fingers up to the law as a self-proclaimed user and persistent criminal law breaker (of the Misuse of Drugs Act) over 40 years; to roll out one bit of misinformation after another about this ‘wonder’ drug; and to perpetuate the myth of the punitively unfair treatment of its users. In short, ten minutes of unadulterated pro-pot propaganda.
Of how she herself had managed to continue her habit over the years and escape the long arm of the law, she was uncharacteristically shy.
Her broadcast was an abuse of the BBC’s editorial standards and guidelines. One factual untruth and distortion followed another, beginning with the dissimulation that marijuana legalisation is the necessary and logical outcome of the Declaration of Independence. Cannabis, or marijuana consumption you will be pleased to know, is fundamental to ‘the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, starting, she says, with happiness.
This, in Ms Dunant’s warped thinking is what ‘self medicating’ is all about. Happiness becomes to “..medicate, take some kind of drug to make oneself feel better”. Medication, apparently, is not for the purpose of making oneself better. It is all about the journey from pain to pleasure. Not, mind you from arthritis or a broken bone, but from that awful suffering that comes from living in our affluent Western society.
Whatever the BBC’s sympathy for Dunant’s views, there is no justification for it giving air time to blatantly falsifiable statements.
Cannabis does not address anxiety or depression; it makes these conditions worse.
Nor does it add to happiness beyond the short term. To the contrary, its continued use has deleterious effects on the brain and body – from executive functioning and impaired memory to permanent and irrecoverable mental illness – including psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia. Ms Dunant has daughters. I wonder if she has discussed with them the cannabis habits of the Boston bombers and the Bataclan terrorists Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam.
I wonder how her insensitivity so soon after the Paris massacre to be be proclaiming this invidious drug’s delights did not occur to her. Or the BBC.
As both a teacher and mother, she should waste no time in studying the contents of this site to find out the facts about cannabis risks, and read the scientific research studies which one after the other demonstrate its harms.
“Enhanced strains taken by teenagers can be dangerous,” is all she concedes, so that is all right then.
This statement belies her ignorance. Perhaps reading some of many accounts by parents of children whose lives have been irreparably damaged and blighted by this drug might make her a little bit less casual.
This is a cause this “I’m all right Jack” campaigner happily equates with the civil rights movement as though she was still stoned at Woodstock.
I don’t think so. Life is not quite as rosy in Colorado as she would have her listeners believe. A model of marijuana legalisation it is to be sure – but one of failure, not of success.
It has already had an alarming impact on Coloradans’ public safety and health. Here are just a few stats:
- Traffic deaths: A 32 per cent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year
- Marijuana use by children: Colorado youth usage (ages 12 to 17) ranks 56 per cent higher than the national average
- Hospitalisations: A 38 per cent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalisations
- More drug trafficking:The yearly average interdiction seizures of Colorado marijuana increased another 34 per cent
Taxes are not paying for the damage.
And where Ms Dunant got her US drug incarceration fantasy figures (27 per cent of the prison population banged up for non-violent offences concerning marijuana) from I don’t know. No one serves jail time in the US just for smoking pot – no more than Sarah Dunant ever has.
Not that any of Sarah’s porkies or optimistic view through Colorado’s pot haze are likely to bother the BBC.
They will claim it was ‘only’ a point of view in one of their classic, stock, get of jail replies. Maybe, but from my own listening this is but the latest and the most blatant of the many such opportunities the BBC has given to the pro-pot lobby over the years.