The Evolving Perception of Marijuana

We have all heard about changing marijuana policy as states have been legalizing medical and now recreational marijuana use. One of the biggest stories about this topic was Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s public apology and explanation for why he changed his stance and became a supporter of marijuana policy reform. While this report was a big “win” for pro-weed Americans, Gupta received extensive criticism for anti-marijuana groups. One of the most prominent anti-marijuana advocates is Patrick Kennedy; a story about his fight against marijuana legalization is here.

My first question is, what do you think the goal of the Patrick Kennedy article is? More specifically, how does the description and analysis of Kennedy and his anti-marijuana work affect the way readers may perceive the cause? Does the writer make an attempt at subtly discrediting Kennedy? Is the article biased?

More broadly, what does the vast coverage of Gupta’s statement display about how mainstream media is reporting marijuana policy reform? While Gupta has been known as a reliable medical correspondent in modern journalism, could the resonance of his report throughout media outlets be likened to the journalists who report the findings of a minority environmental scientist who discredits global warming? Does this give us the whole story, or did Gupta just switch from one bias to another?

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2 Responses to “The Evolving Perception of Marijuana”

  1. Though there might be a slight bias in this article, I still feel like it presents Kennedy’s argument clearly and in a way so as to convince the audience of his point. It is definitely framed skeptically, and maybe it is my own biases playing out here, but I think this adds depth to the piece. It doesn’t make me discredit Kennedy in my mind, but it does mean that I take what he’s claiming with a grain of salt.

    On the note of Gupta’s statement and its media coverage, I believe that it was so heavily covered not because journalism has a definite bias on marijuana legislation but because he’s an authority in medicine and he revoked an opinion. It’s very infrequent that any public figure will acknowledge their mistakes, and Gupta very publicly and vocally admitted that his opinion was wrong. I would say to your other point that, of course Gupta just switches from one bias to another because that’s impossible to avoid, but I think there is merit in reporting his switch in opinion. I think it speaks to the fact that there in no definite authority on the issue and that water is just as murky with this issue for doctors as it is for the everyman.

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