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How to talk to the press! - Elf M. Sternberg
How to talk to the press!
John Carlson, the morning rush talker on the conservative KVI radio station, was interviewing the directory of Vancouver BC's safe injection and needle exchange site. Carlson let him have the opening piece, in which he discussed how he came from a conservative and skeptical background, but after doing his homework and reviewing the success other cities had had, he'd chosen to go ahead with the needle exchange program in Vancouver.

Carlson, it has to be noted, has had a strong antipathy to needle exchange programs going back at least as far as his failed run for Washington's governor's office in 2000, and has used the phrase as a hippy-punching punchline on his show from time to time.

After a few back-and-forth questions, Carlson said, "So... heroin use is down in Vancouver, then?"

The director said "No." And then there was silence.

Carlson reacted, "Oh!" and you could absolutely hear the delight in his voice, because he'd found the truth he was looking for. He'd found the talking point that affirmed what he believed in.

Never, ever go into a debate like this without knowing what the other person wants out of it, and without being fully ready to address talking points like this. You never just let someone take their weapon and stick it in.

A better answer would have been "No, but the rate of heroin use hasn't increased either. That's not the point of a program like this. What has gone down is the number of people dying of overdoses and blood-borne diseases, and as a harm reduction that keeps people alive, it works very well. Injection site clinics are points of contact with drug users; it gives us window into their lives that allows us to monitor for other forms of cimme and disease. And it offers a chance for counselling and rehabilititation, something we almost never see if we treat drug use as a criminal issue rather than a public health issue."

But no, the poor hapless fool stuck his head into John Carlson's meat grinder and got it bitten clean off.

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Current Mood: disappointed disappointed

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tagryn From: tagryn Date: October 5th, 2016 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
He could have said heroin use is down in the city and probably been correct, though the reasons are considerably more sinister (if the anecdotal evidence is accurate):
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