ABC's 'Ecstasy Hour' Angers FedNarc
- Fortunately, truth is a defense as ABC's Peter Jennings 'hides behind the 1st amendment'
-Terry Liberty Parker
House Anti-Narcotics Chairman Reacts Strongly to Ecstasy Promotion by ABC, Jennings
By Jimmy Moore
April 6, 2004
WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), the House anti-narcotics chairman, reacted strongly to the reporting on an illegal drug by ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings.
Souder responded to comments he read in the Palm Beach Post by Jennings last week regarding the popular mind-altering drug Ecstasy.
Jennings said he was concerned that claims by the U.S. government that Ecstasy is unsafe are exaggerated, causing young people to question any information provided in the future.
"Government is best when government is most honest, especially for the younger generation, which is more susceptible to trying drugs," Jennings remarked to the Palm Beach Post. "If they can't rely on the government for good and honest information, then government has lost something enormously valuable, which is people's belief in the government's credibility."
In a one-hour news special that aired last Thursday called "Peter Jennings Reporting: Ecstasy Rising," Jennings examined the government's futile record for slowing the distribution of the pills.
"This was an opportunity for us to look at whether or not the government isn't its own worst enemy in trying to control illegal drugs," Jennings explained to the Palm Beach Post regarding the show.
Promoting the benefits of Ecstasy rather than the dangers in his show, Jennings said he is not concerned at all that this will pique the interest of young people to try the illegal drug.
"It can't be a concern," Jennings said regarding young people wanting to try Ecstasy. "Our job is to lay out the facts."
Souder said he could not believe a well-known news anchor like Jennings would make such comments about a drug that has been banned in the United States since 1985.
"I'm outraged by the irresponsible comments that [Jennings] made in advance of its airing," Souder exclaimed. "Their appalling nature does not leave me optimistic about the veracity and good intentions of the 'production' he's touting."
Using his experience dealing with anti-narcotics issues in Congress, Souder said the research conducted by Jennings and ABC is severely flawed.
"Jennings exposes a great deal about his own selective research methods when he claims that the government's 'science was not good,'" Souder states. "Countless studies have proven that Ecstasy is far from a benign drug."
He added, "[R]eams of evidence demonstrate that Ecstasy causes brain damage and even death."
As for the carefree manner that Jennings conducted this program, Souder said the lack of a moral compass by the ABC news anchor is especially disturbing.
"If Jennings' nonchalant comments about this dangerous drug are indicative of the outlook of his 'special,' then he is misleading his viewers," Souder remarked. "To make matters worse, Jennings appears to have no moral qualms about offering the American public what the Palm Beach Post cast as 'a glossy, late-night infomercial.'"
Questioning the motives of Jennings' reporting of this story, Souder said Jennings needed to look into the subject further.
"Jennings somehow believes that his take on Ecstasy is tantamount to 'lay[ing] out the facts.' But how much does Jennings actually know about the facts?," Souder commented.
Providing an example of how Ecstasy has caused harm, Souder challenged Jennings to show the whole truth about the negative effects of Ecstasy to complete his story.
"In 2002, I heard testimony from the mother of 23-year-old Kelley Baker who died of an Ecstasy overdose," Souder noted. "Will Jennings' 'special' offer the facts about Ecstasy's effects on her young life?"
Copyright � 2004 Talon News -- All rights reserved.
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