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Grow-op raids - BBC and Newspapers carry police propaganda

2006 saw a development in the anti-cannabis campaign, where the police began to pubicise their action against cannabis grow operations or "grow ops" as they are known. To this end they began supplying the media with press releases which of course the media were happy to run without critical comment or any kind of analysis.

On Monday 25th September BBC news - on all the stations and website - gave coverage to a news item that hadn't happened yet. The BBC announced that the police had just started a series of raids against cannabis farms. This must be the first time ever that a series of drugs raids were announced in advance!

"Seventeen police forces across England and Wales are carrying out raids over the next two weeks on addresses where they suspect cannabis is being grown".

"In the UK, the type of drug which is mainly grown is known as skunk, a strong variant of the drug which is potentially harmful."
BBC online report

The BBC articles didn't question the police tactic at all of course, but rather they carried the warnings about strict enforcement and the penalties those caught could expect. They also repeated the claims that so-called "skunk" may lead to mental health problems and used that to justify the raids. There was no examination of the reason for the raids or the reason these grow-ops exist.

This is a classic case of news management - policing by public relations with the BBC simply broadcasting what it was told to broadcast. The proportion of street cannabis grown in this country is now over 50% and there is organised crime involved in this of course, it's big money. That, of course, has only happened because of the attempt to prevent the trade through prohibition, so where was the criticisms of the government that's caused this situation?

Expect more of this sort of "spin" and news management. Look out for similar stories of daring police raids in your local paper over the next couple of weeks.

Why does the BBC carry such blatant government / police public relations spin without criticism? So much for the "trusted news service" the BBC claims to be.

The Daily Mail and Independent waded in:

The same story was run by the Independent newspaper and by the Daily Mail the day after. In a valiant attempt to justify the raids, both papers cut and pasted the police press release to come up with this gem:

"The crackdown is targeting the most potent and potentially form of cannabis, known as "skunk".
Skunk contains far higher quantities of the chemical THC than herbal or resin-based cannabis."
Daily Mail report

"The crackdown is targeting the most potent and potentially form of cannabis, known as "skunk".
Skunk contains far higher quantities of the chemical THC than herbal or resin-based cannabis.
"
Independent report

How was it that both national papers had the same cut and paste error? Did they really copy it from the BBC report?

And how is it that no-one on either paper seemed to know that "skunk" is, in fact, herbal cannabis?

 
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