TV Drug How-To Report Riles Viewer

 May 8, 1998 | Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)

 | Page: A8 | Section: A8
323 Words | Readability: Lexile: 1290, grade level(s): 11-12

As the parent of a 16-year-old son, I am compelled for the first time to voice outrage caused by an irresponsible reporting act. On the 11 p.m. broadcast of April 24, WTVC News Channel 9 aired as its top story a detailed report how crystal methamphetamine can be manufactured with common everyday products. ... The reporter stated that she was able to find the "recipe" using the Internet and that it took her only five minutes in which to do so. ... Video provided the viewer a visual of the brand names of each off-the-shelf product needed in the manufacture of this horribly dangerous and rampantly addictive drug. ... No warning of parental guidance or caution preceding the report was given. How many people may now feel they have the information wherewithal to take a step they may not have taken before WTVC's report? ... How many people may now search the Internet, obtain the information, purchase the products and make some of the home brew? ... I have spoken to Steve Hunsicker, news director of WTVC/9. He told me ... the report could have been done differently, that the statement regarding the ease in which the information can be obtained could have been worded differently and that the name brands of the products may not have been shown. Even though Mr. Hunsicker said the report was a tie-in to stories relating to crystal meth drug arrests in neighboring counties, this program fell on the first night of the May "sweeps month" period for television stations ratings and was the first story of the broadcast -- the reports about the drug arrests were not mentioned until after the piece was aired. I am not a proponent of censorship. I am a proponent of responsible journalism. This community does not need local television news programming that places its viewers at risk by compounding an already epidemic problem and sacrifices quality informational reporting at the expense of scintillating, sensational or ratings-driven stories. RONALD C. McCLURE Soddy-Daisy

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