Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Hutch's Church Flirts with Hom... | Reading Tonight »

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Vanessa Ho

posted by on August 18 at 9:53 AM

This was originally posted Saturday, August 16, but it’s been moved up for the reading pleasure of those that were outside enjoying the sun and the pot this weekend.

A grow-op gets busted and the usual shit’s in the PI. Here’s Vanessa Ho’s lead in this morning’s paper:

A park service pilot on a routine flight over the North Cascades National Park service area helped discover a large marijuana farm worth nearly $48 million—the first such grow operation found in a national park site in the state.

Officials said the farm, which law enforcement officials raided this week, contained more than 16,700 plants. It was well established and resembled the elaborate grow sites run by Mexican drug traffickers plaguing national parks in California, authorities said.

In addition to suggesting that dangerous and dirty foreigners are somehow involved—no one has been arrested, so we don’t know if those damn Mexicans are to blame—a truly stupid fucking credulous hack would suggest that this grow-op endangers our children somehow. Vanessa doesn’t disappoint. Here’s her third paragraph:

“In the business we’re in, the national parks are for the American people, for your kids’ kids,” said Chip Jenkins, superintendent of the National Cascades National Park Service Complex.

Yes, national parks are for the children—think of the children!—and not, you know, all those damn plants. But Ms. Ho really proves that she’s a stupid fucking credulous hack—another of PI’s drug war stenographers—with these graphs:

The bust coincided with a raid by the Chelan County Sheriff’s office this week that wiped out 24,000 pot plants, and comes at a time when authorities are seizing record amounts of marijuana plants statewide.

Last year, 296,000 plants were destroyed; this year, authorities expect to exceed that number, said Lt. Rich Wiley, the head of the narcotics division for the Washington State Patrol.

He said the increased seizures are mostly because of a more intense focus by law enforcement.

Did the police tell you that, Vanessa? Really? The very same police for whom the drug war functions as a Soviet-style full-employment program said that? Amazing! Who could have predicted that the police would think so highly of the job that the police are doing?

Like so many of her stupid credulous hack colleagues at our daily papers, Vanessa Ho fails to ask the obvious follow-up questions: Has this more intense focus by law enforcement—those 300,000 plants seized last year—put any measurable dent in the supply of pot around here? Has it impacted the price of pot around here?

Hempfest is taking place right now literally under the windows of the PI’s offices. Maybe Vanessa could wander down and ask some of the 100,000 stoned people in Myrtle Edwards Park if they had any trouble scoring some pot today despite the Washington State Patrol’s “more intense focus” on tearing pot plants out of the ground.

And after Vanessa learns that pot is as plentiful and cheap now as it was last year and the year before that and the year before that, maybe she could ask the next obvious follow-up question: If these pot busts haven’t made a dent in supply or caused prices to soar, are they worth the expenditure of scarce police resources?

The dailies do an awful lot of reporting on the War on Drugs. But they don’t cover it like they cover every other story—they refuse to. On this issue, and this issue alone, daily papers act as if there aren’t two sides to the story, as if there aren’t activists and organizations and politicians on the other side of this issue. There are activists and organizations and politicians out there who think what that we’re doing now—tearing up pot plants, arresting pot smokers—is futile and ridiculous and unjust and waste of money and lives. But they are never quoted in these pieces, they are never asked for comment, their existence isn’t even hinted at.

And guess what? These people will give you quotes, Vanessa, for your stories on Our Glorious War on Drugs. Really! They’d be happy to!

And, finally, the most obvious follow-up question that Vanessa Ho, stupid fucking credulous hack, neglected to ask, the question that every reporter should ask after a grow-op gets busted: Why are people growing pot in our national parks? And in suburban basements? And in underground bunkers? Grow-ops in our national parks, Ms. Ho lets us know at the end of her piece, can lead to the untimely deaths of “bears, deer, rabbits and birds.” Oh my. That’s so sad. But, again, why are people growing pot in remote wilderness areas and suburban basements? Why is that? Why would people do that? Is it because they don’t like bunnies?

No. They do it, Vanessa, you stupid fucking credulous hack, because it’s illegal to grow pot on farms, out in the sunshine, out in the open, in a manner that doesn’t pose a threat to our children and their children and bunny rabbits and their children. If we want people—particularly those Mexicans—to stop growing pot in national parks and suburban basements, legalize pot, regulate pot, and tax pot. That seems like an obvious point, one that belongs in every story written about grow-op busts. And it belongs in daily papers in particular because daily reporters and editors are always blowing themselves about being impartial and objective and this point represents the other side of this story and if you were being impartial and objective and blow yourselves about it, then it belongs in every story you write about grow-op busts.

And it’s the sort of question that a real journalist—not a stupid fucking credulous hack like Vanessa Ho—would ask in a piece about a grow-op bust in a national park.

But Vanessa Ho didn’t ask it because she’s a stupid fucking credulous hack.

RSS icon Comments


She's a hack, but I am not a fan of growing drugs in our national parks. People who are growing that much weed are often rather nefarious sorts who like to protect their shit with guns. Even if we legalized pot I would still not want it grown in a national park.

Mostly becasue its an invasive species.

Posted by Giffy | August 16, 2008 12:43 PM

I don't want it grown in national parks either, Giffy. And the quickest way to make sure it stops happening, or all but stops, is to legalize pot, regulate it, tax it, and let farmers grow it (legally--they already grow the stuff) on farms, where God intended us to grow it.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 16, 2008 12:48 PM

dan, that was the best slog post in months! Thank you.

Posted by Random Poster | August 16, 2008 12:50 PM

Sounds like you took an extra dose of pissy pills this morning.

Posted by Andrew | August 16, 2008 1:01 PM

Sure, legalize and tax the sale of pot. But until then, what should be done about illegal grows on public land?

Posted by Greg | August 16, 2008 1:04 PM

I'm just glad it hasn't affected my supply.

Posted by monkey | August 16, 2008 1:13 PM

I get ribbed by my friends for being a conspiracy theorist with some regularity; By way of a defense I often answer that if you want to see a perfect illustration of how a concerted misinformation campaign could be waged for decades with willing cooperation by the media, look no further than the War On Pot. I'm sure reporters like the one you're currently raking over the coals don't have to be issued secret instructions on how to report these stories from the offices of some shadowy cabal of drug dealers, pharmaceutical companies, and DuPont (makers of nylon rope!) in order get the message that they are expected to continue writing this sort of story. Any reporter who bothered to follow the career of Greg Palast would be able to figure out for themselves what the career consequences of routinely questioning the status quo would be for them.

The main difference with the deliberately slanted reporting on this story and the slanted reporting on a host of other stories is that there are millions upon millions of Americans who know perfectly well what the actual effects of pot are and can see clearly that prohibition only serves to drive up the price of pot, enrich organized crime and fill our prisons with nonviolent offenders. So unlike a story on, say, Afghanistan, people don't need to fly around the world to see that the "facts" they are being presented with don't add up. Pot law has helped to create an enormous counterculture of people who are distrustful of the government and the media by providing a clear illustration of what propaganda wrapped around bad policy looks like.

Of course, I'm sure weed's paranoia-enhancing qualities don't hurt either.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 16, 2008 1:27 PM

But Dan: You're a stupid credulous hack, too. Take a pill and relax. There are more important things to worry about. If only you could work up this much energy about something that really matters ...

Posted by Prospero | August 16, 2008 1:30 PM
9 know, on the domestic front, about the only more important thing to worry about than a "War on Drugs" that has made the USA the country with the highest incarceration rate IN THE FUCKING WORLD is the fact that Big Media, Big Pharma, and Big Oil basically own our government.

And, oddly enough, there is a link to marijuana prohibition for all three of the aforementioned bad actors.

Worry away, Dan!

Posted by Mr. X | August 16, 2008 1:41 PM

This thing you care about? I don't care about it. And your caring about this thing about which I don't care reveals you to be a deeply un-serious person.

All serious people care only about the things I care about and don't care about the things that I don't care about.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 16, 2008 1:45 PM

well fucking said.

Posted by isweatbutter | August 16, 2008 1:52 PM

I'm a capitalist pig - but at least I know that - and every time I read about a bazillion-dollar drug bust, I am only sad because that's a bazillion-dollars not going back into the economy.

Posted by Ye Olde Roach-clippe shoppe | August 16, 2008 1:58 PM

@2, or in our backyards, closets, and well lite basements.

Posted by Giffy | August 16, 2008 2:04 PM


I often feel this way myself, Mr. Savage. Don't you also tend to notice that the daily headlines are filled with one story after another that validates your politics? I do. The huge, dramatic news stories that grip the nation are the ones that most often -- virtually always -- serve as exemplars of the rightness of my positions on the issues most dear to me.

Posted by elenchos | August 16, 2008 2:13 PM

just another example of out of touch 20th century media in their long slow march towards irrelevance.

Posted by Tiffany | August 16, 2008 2:39 PM

hey jackass (jenkins), national parks aren't just for americans.

lots of weird foreigners on those trails. most aren't tending to their grow ops.

Posted by holz | August 16, 2008 2:55 PM


Overflowing jails don't matter? People losing housing, school grants, jobs, for something less malevolent than alcohol? Putting people in jail just makes them more hardened. This is an issue that does affect everyone.

Posted by P to the J | August 16, 2008 3:11 PM

I love it when you give it to those incredulous hacks good, Dan. I always wonder, though, if and how they respond to these posts. Certainly they read them, or at least hear of them.

Are they offended? Open to criticism? Defensive and huffy? My bet is unresponsive and aloof.

Posted by Judith | August 16, 2008 3:14 PM

I agree whole-heartedly with the legalize it plan, but I thought Dan got a wee bit shrill about the children and the bunnies. I am an actual park ranger in California and these huge grow operations are doing serious ecological damage to our parks. The number-one mission of the Park Service is to "protect and preserve for future generations". I think the loss of irreplaceable native habitat, for the benefit of future generations, was what the park superintendent was referring to. Not that pot is endangering the kids.

Just sayin is all.

Posted by Steagle | August 16, 2008 3:55 PM

Who's the SFCH here?

Ms. Ho seems to have properly attributed the statements provided by her sources, and avoided conflating these statements with her personal beliefs and/or "the facts". (You documented that rather well.) She did not claim Mexicans were responsible for this grow-op. (Apparently you misread that.)

And the fact that she failed to write the opinion-piece you would have preferred to see in place of this straight piece of reporting is ... not her problem, is it?

Posted by RonK, Seattle | August 16, 2008 3:56 PM

Wonderful, beautiful blog post. Thank you for articulating this Dan.

Posted by Captain Jack | August 16, 2008 3:58 PM

"I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex. " - Jack Handey.

Posted by Nate | August 16, 2008 4:03 PM

@20 V'Ho's problem is that she does not provide context or balance, while parroting the company line, which is what Dan is commenting on. Perhaps if people started a letter writing campaign/ staged a few protests (a smoke-in would be amusing) to complain to the paper regarding their lack of context and balance, they might budge a little. Otherwise, they will keep writing the company line.

Posted by LMSW | August 16, 2008 4:13 PM

boo fucking hoo. She wrote a story and didn't include my viewpoint. It's a story about a pot bust. Period. It's not some in-depth 6-part investigative piece on marijuana growing. I thought weed was supposed to relax you. Go smoke some, Dan.

Posted by him | August 16, 2008 5:29 PM

The drug war is not a good idea. The laws you cite do indeed lead to grow ops in the woods.

This does not mean that these grow ops are benign. They are usually run by the most violent and well organized of the drug gangs. If resources are to be spent on the war on drugs, this is the correct place to spend them. Among their other problems they are territorial and protect their "territory" from innocent people who are using the parks in a legitimate way.

Even were drugs to be legalized, these guys should be stopped. Legalization would reduce the price and efficiency of these operations, but might well not do so enough to make these operations uneconomical.

As we say in the legal community, bad cases make bad law. These guys are the least deserving of sympathy of any one I can think of in drug production or distribution. I mean, I guess you could nominate the Mexican border drug gangs, who have made government impossible in border Mexico, but these grow ops are often run by the same people.

Posted by Jim | August 16, 2008 6:09 PM

Even were drugs to be legalized, these guys should be stopped.

Does anyone get the fucking point? If mj was legal, these guys WOULD BE STOPPED!!!!!

It is 1000x times easier (read: cheaper) to grow a legitimate crop than it is to do it surreptitiously on some remote patch of a Natl Park.

So by parroting the War on Drugs bullshit without questioning anything, the SFCHOTD only helps ensure more illegal grow ops. Are they as complicit as the fuckwads that make the laws or the filthy souless pigs that enforce them? No, but they sure don't help.


Posted by Mike in MO | August 16, 2008 6:47 PM

For generations, there has been a quid-pro-quo: journalists get access (tips, leads) to cops and prosecutors in return for unquestioning coverage of staged events (weapons seizures, drug busts). No MSM reporter or editor is going to say "bullshit" the next time the cops trot out a pile of plants; daily journalism survives thanks to this quid-pro-quo.

Meantime, the bigger picture: pot remains demonized because hemp is superior to cotton. Southern states, to protect their cotton industry (which required slaves, don't forget) promised their votes to the Democratic Party--the so-called Bol Weevil democrats--with the understanding that the national government would protect cotton-growers.

Leaving aside that the federal gummint's revenooers had to do SOMETHING after the repeal of Prohibition in the early 1930s ... so the Treasury Dep't sic-ed them on marijuana.

The war on drugs really is a full-employment program...for cotton-growers, federal anti-drug agencies, local police forces...and, yes, unsuspecting hack journalists like Vanessa Ho.

Posted by Cornichon | August 16, 2008 7:28 PM
28 sound really grouchy...just like a person who...didn't have his smoke today.

You see, that's the "Reefer Madness" they don't tell you about. Sure, smoking it (seems) harmless, but working with people who are coming down from their high the night before? Sheesh...take a nicotine addict w/o a smoke, a coffee drinker w/o a latte and a mainliner w/o a fix, roll them all up and you'll have a pothead who hasn't yet lit up today.

Posted by John Bailo | August 16, 2008 7:43 PM

@25: "Legalization would reduce the price and efficiency of these operations, but might well not do so enough to make these operations uneconomical."

Right, as evidenced by all those enormous tobacco grow operations and massive moonshine distribution networks that keep making headlines.

Posted by Furcifer | August 16, 2008 8:01 PM

Actually her story was fine. It just doesn't fit with the Savage jigsaw puzzle view of the world. Who the fuck cares? You're an idiot and one who somehow gained the use of a newspaper to foist your idiocy on the public. You are an appallingly illogical and irrational writer and the very second you step outside of your alleged area of expertise, sexual advice for candle fetishists, you fail miserably.

Seriously, if you ever remotely approached the quality of her article in any of yours, I might treat you seriously. As it is, you're a joke. But you're fun to watch flail. You're like the car accident I saw on I-5 South this evening, spotted some nasty oily black flames from a mile away, got closer and saw the flames burning up the dry grass on the media, then it boomed as the gas tank exploded and blew a big fireball out the back.

Shorter Savage:

Weed is cool. Grow it wherever, man. Until it's legal cops suck.

Posted by Bob | August 16, 2008 8:33 PM

Let he who owns glass house cast first stone. Or be stoned. Alas, one important factor left out of Dan's article: William Randolph Hearst is the MAIN culprit as to why weed was demonized and criminalized so heavily and thorougly in the 1930's. And guess who Ms. Ho works for? Right. Hearst's own P-I.
Vanessa is no hack. She's a veteran journalist doing the good work of Americas fourth estate. Long live the American newspaper. Please.
But Dan's right. The continuation of this anti-marijuana climate perpetuated by a rich timberland owner and newspaper czar is ... silly, wasteful and a sign that corporate interests trump the little people like us who might want a nice little farm where we could grow a little patch of hemp.

Here is a link to an post about William Randolph Hearst's war on pot circa 1937.


Posted by Laura | August 16, 2008 9:22 PM


Your post is made of fail.

Posted by AMB | August 16, 2008 11:08 PM


Just listen to yourself.

Posted by John | August 16, 2008 11:39 PM

Pot grow ops might analogized to moonshine and it might be analogized to cutting timber on public lands. I understand the temptation to compare it booze and tobacco, because it fits the conclusion you want it to fit.

It may be true that grow ops would fade away with legalization. I support legalization, and would be thrilled if that happened. I don't think it is an inescapable conclusion though. The economics of legalization might cause grow ops to no longer be desirable, but then again, they might not.

It depends a lot on the final price of legal pot (which will depend a lot on the amount of tax that is levied) as well as the costs of doing business legally and illegally. Obviously a big advantage of a grow op is that you don't have to own the land, you don't have to pay property taxes, income taxes or excise taxes or permit fees. Nor do you have to be a legal resident. These might be enough to keep the grow ops in business. They might not. In any case, wishing doesn't make it so.

Posted by Jim | August 16, 2008 11:57 PM

I am against legalizing marijuana. It would imperil my job.

Posted by Prison Guard | August 17, 2008 1:30 AM

I think the general climate of the US would be greatly improved if everyone got stoned a little more often.

Posted by Jen | August 17, 2008 6:24 AM

I don't believe pot should be regulated, taxed or any other type of governmental restriction. It should just be left alone. Anyone who desires to smoke it should be able to just grow it in the garden with the tomatoes and carrots and anything else they wish to grow. That would of course have an impact on some peoples quarterly profit and loss statement. And anywhere there is money, there will be politics.

Posted by papillon | August 17, 2008 7:21 AM

Farmers can profitably grow wheat at $4 for 60 pounds. Thats slightly less than 7 cents a pound. That includes the cost of the land, their taxes, equipment, labor, fertilizer, etc.

If pot could be grown, legally, on farms, like any other crop, I guarantee all these illegal pot growing operations would stop almost overnight. There is no way that gun-toting thugs growing pot in National Forests can compete with 7 cents a pound. Even if you assumed that it cost, say, 5 times as much to grow pot as wheat on a farm, that's still only 35 cents a pound.

Seriously, if grown legally as a normal farm crop, pot would be uber cheap to produce. No need for illegal grow ops of any kind.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 17, 2008 8:11 AM

Yes, national parks are for the children—think of the children!—and not, you know, all those damn plants.

Thanks for clearing up a point of confusion I've had for a long time. Hiking through a nature preserve in Austria years ago, I was amazed to see fields of corn growing in the meadows. (I don't know which aspect was more incongruous: agriculture in a nature preserve or obviously non-native plants growing in a nature preserve.) Now I realize how narrow-minded I was: "plants are plants," and it's all good.

I would suggest legalizing pot in Seattle, first. Imagine the spectacular kind and nature of accidents once motorists, pedestrians, and the dreaded fixie riders can cause once they start toking outside the home.

Posted by "nabs" sativa | August 17, 2008 8:50 AM

Yeah, I hate it when I'm camping with my family in the National Forest in one of those public campsites that resembles a parking lot and dirty Mexicans won't stop encroaching on our family trip with their grow-op. Happens all the time.

Posted by Baxter | August 17, 2008 11:06 AM

Of course, if people didn't keep buying and smoking pot supplied in part by large criminal organizations trashing our national parks, creating the demand for this product, that would also help stop the problem.

To offer an analogy, because we don't have solar powered cars yet, we should use public transportation or bikes to reduce our carbon emissions, instead of just complaining that "things should be different" while not changing our behavior at all.

In the meantime, I can't believe anybody would want to put this sort of shit, grown with pesticides and industrialized fertilizers, in their bodies.

Posted by shorty | August 17, 2008 12:17 PM

@41: "industrialized" = "industrial"

Posted by shorty | August 17, 2008 12:18 PM


Actually, I'm pretty sure that outdoor grow operations of this magnitude don't relay much if at all on pesticides and/or industrial fertilizers.

BTW, you never consume produce with those same aforementioned chemicals, right?

Concern troll.

Posted by Mr. X | August 17, 2008 12:52 PM

I do not get Dan's rant at all. How is the reporting of what police officers say bad reporting? Yes it's the job of reporters to contextualize these quotes. But to attack her for even reporting what cops say really misses the point, and personalizes things in a childish and unhelpful way.

Posted by Trevor | August 17, 2008 2:17 PM

When the police say "our gang unit is really effective," the press will go and check to see if the stats bear that claim out. Is gang violence down? Is what the police are doing really working?

When the police say that they're seizing tons of pot and they are, by implication (or, as is typical in these stories, by assertion), making strides in the War on Drugs, the press does not ask the same sorts of obvious follow-up questions, which I laid out in my post. Questions like, "Hey, after all of these seizures, is anyone having trouble getting their hands on pot?"

Just relaying what the police are saying to readers isn't reporting. It's propaganda.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 17, 2008 3:03 PM

Dan Savage is an asshole, according to a review of his writings and the rag he edits.

For Savage to criticize any one else's journalism is just plain laughable. Apart from any standards of balance, fairness or just plain ethics, the Stranger just makes stuff up.

Dan Savage is an asshole. And a potty mouth.

Posted by Editor's Note | August 17, 2008 5:04 PM

I'm a bad, bad man. Please don't read my blog.

But we're not suggesting that Ho fell short of Stranger standards, but of the standards set by daily journalists for themselves. All that impartial, objective, fair, balanced, blahblahblah, get both sides of the story -- all that crap that goes right out the window when there a press releases arrives from the DEA.

But, yes, I'm an asshole. Totally. And a potty mouth. Make stuff up? Nah, too lazy for that.

Now stop reading my blog, Editor's Note, as that only encourages me.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 17, 2008 5:33 PM

Oh no, Dan, you do make stuff up -- that's the hallmark of Stranger journalism.

The Stranger staff is quick to spot hypocrisy in everyone but themselves-- and you are the hypocrite in chief when you go after other writers.

Accept your role, Danny Boy, you are a clown not a media nanny. Doesn't become you, dear boy.

And gee, if you don't like this comment, you don't have to read it!

Posted by Editor's Note 2 | August 17, 2008 6:16 PM

Dan, you are so wrong.

It is TOTALLY because they don't like the bunnies.

Posted by COMTE | August 17, 2008 7:28 PM

Dan's trash talking the dailies could be why Josh Feit got stiffed when he tried to get hired at the Seattle Times.

Posted by Works at Fairview | August 17, 2008 7:39 PM

Mr. X @ 43:

The PI article says the growers had fertilizers and pesticides at the site.

I try to avoid eating non-organic produce with that stuff on it as much as possible, but at least non-organic produce has some limits as to how much pesticide and what types of fertilizer can be put on it. Any idea how much of either of those things the illegal growers are using? I bet it's a lot.

Also, do you even know what a "concern troll" is? I think "concern troll" would be "Gee, maybe we pot smokers should be worried about what we put in our bodies," not "I can't believe anybody's stupid enough to use this stuff."

Mr. X: Cheerfully disregarding facts that don't fit with his world view.

Posted by shorty | August 17, 2008 10:53 PM

The sumptuary laws of the US do more damage - physically, psychically and financially - to its citizens than anything else in our arsenal of religion-driven dictates. They will never be repealed as long as the Aristocracy of the Haves prevail.

Sumptuary laws (from Latin sumptuariae leges) are laws which attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were laws which regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, and luxury expenditures. In most times and places they were ineffectual.
Posted by RHETT ORACLE | August 18, 2008 12:28 AM

As someone said awhile back. It was just an NW news story of a marijuana find and reported on. Maybe it should not have been mentioned that it resembled other marijuana discoveries in other geographic areas that involve our favorite Mexican cartels. At least it is still America for now. Don't like the story? Simple. Don't read it.

Posted by MThing | August 18, 2008 2:32 AM

Move it up? Because ... it was so constructive? Are you in a pissing match with Chelsea Alvarez-Bell to see who can get the most comments on a story?

Posted by wtf | August 18, 2008 10:00 AM

Remember the Tragedy of the Commons folks.

If we start growing pot in our national parks, then they'll come up with even more ways to bring guns and armed security (pro or con) in the parks.

Just decriminalize and ... holy smokes, i just saw lightning and now hear thunder!

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 18, 2008 10:01 AM

is it really necessary to try and tear down fellow reporters and don't you see that such language might come back to bite you one day?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 10:02 AM

oh, and @49 for the win. Bunnies rule!

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 18, 2008 10:04 AM

We pointed this crap out over and over again, and we were polite. Got tired of it, stopped being polite.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 18, 2008 10:06 AM


Still waiting for that in-depth story on decriminalizing marijuana from one of your reporters.

When is it coming? Not on the budget yet?

Let me know, ok?

Posted by Jeff | August 18, 2008 10:08 AM

Maybe the problem is the reporters Dan, maybe it's the editors who wouldn't allow such an article.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 10:19 AM

Well said, well said.

Posted by Anon | August 18, 2008 10:38 AM

Shit's gotta stop. We're getting tired of it. Sometimes you just have to call someone like Vanessa Ho a stupidfuckingcreduloushack even if it's not nice because we're all responsible for the choices we make in our professional lives. Letting yourself become a "reporter" and not a reporter, even when the system you're in rewards "reporters" and punishes reporters, is still morally wrong and something we can hold you individually accountable for.
Sorry, Vanessa. And thanks Dan.

Posted by kj | August 18, 2008 10:42 AM

P.S. I think it's funny that so many Stranger-haters spend time reading SLOG.

Posted by kj | August 18, 2008 10:50 AM

I wouldn't have a problem with it if The Stranger weren't being such rank hypocrites with the condescension towards hacks. Dan Savage's stupid fucking credulous support of the war in Iraq? ECB on everything? Theres only a few topics in which The Stranger has a winning hand in thought/opinion, and to trot it around like this seems childish and pathetic.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 11:11 AM

Won't pot have to become legalized at some point? I mean the governments-- state and federal-- live on taxing things americans love and refuse to give up-- tobacco, beer, spirits etc...they'll need something else to tax right? The anti smoking movement has given way to a generation who is pretty anti-smoking, and demonized smokers to the point they can't leave their houses to enjoy a smoke without glaring looks ( at least in the northeast)-- they'll need a way to make up tax money right? As much as everyone wants smoking to go away if it actually did taxes will go up on something else-- and maybe it won't be something anti-smokers don't like--maybe they should tax the hell out of bottled water and soda -- after all soda is evil-- its feeding the fat epidemic. Lets demonize soda drinkers! Tax a bottle of soda by $2 and see what happens...

Course I'm neither a smoker or potsmoker and this is just a random opinion.

Posted by Puppycup | August 18, 2008 11:17 AM

Dan, "son and the pot"? Last weekend I enjoyed the sun, and my sons, but I don't ad pot into that particular mix as a matter of principle. Assume the same applies for you and your son and the yet-to-be legalized stuff.....

Posted by Matty | August 18, 2008 11:24 AM

Savage criticizing other journalists is a bit like Thomas Kincaid mocking Vincent Van Gogh's work.

It's funny, but not much more.

Posted by Jeff | August 18, 2008 11:35 AM

@64 Yes. I've read The Stranger (off and on) since the first issue. There's lots of good reasons to read The Stranger. It is often entertaining and informative.

But what are the big lessons I remember learning from The Stranger in the past few years? The war in Iraq is good, Hillary is a saint, and Obama is an evil, sexist, gay-hating loser. No, everybody who's "progressive" doesn't have to believe all of the exact same things -- but come on.

Taking the lead in using vulgar language to insult wage-slave reporters on any issue when your own record is less than sterling is not a good idea. Sure, I care about the police state and jail over-crowding and I think the War on Drugs is wrong and bad and marijuana should be legal. But childishly attacking working people who don't control the contents of their own reporting? No.

Lastly, I'm not a pothead. I can't know what that's like. But it's frankly weird to watch a middle-aged man get this worked up over something that's not even denying him the pot that he feels so passionately about in the first place.

Posted by whatevernevermind | August 18, 2008 11:37 AM

The news story and the coverage is what it is, but this thread is hilarious.

Posted by Gomez | August 18, 2008 12:12 PM

Speaking of SFCHs, ECB *just today* reposted something that Joel Connelly blogged about a week ago (on Dino Rossi), with no credit given to the journalist that originally wrote about this. Now who's the hack?

Posted by rb | August 18, 2008 12:39 PM


I missed that - and stand corrected.

She's still a credulous hack, though.

Posted by Mr. X | August 18, 2008 12:51 PM

THIS is Dan Savage's blog? THIS? Whoa. That's pitiful. I thought this was a group blog by Stranger writers. Do you strut around your desk singing, "If I were king of the forRRrrRRest" like the Cowardly Lion whenever you throw out click-bait like this?

Posted by Don't like my post, don't read it | August 18, 2008 1:33 PM

Honestly, Savage, you are so fucking lame.

Posted by rail thin | August 18, 2008 1:34 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with your points, Dan. They are grounded in logic, research, human rights and social justice.

On the other hand, I found your use of the words fucking stupid distracting and disturbing. Were they meant to express your passion? I share your passion for this issue, and think that the drug prohibition laws are fucking stupid, but would hesitate to direct those adjectives at a person (even one who deserves to be called on her journalistic failings and ignorance, which i applaud you for doing).

It may be worth considering if being less agressive is actually more powerful, and more in line with the world you are ultimately trying to create.

Posted by more powerful | August 18, 2008 3:29 PM

Dan needs his own You Tube channel, to be named "This Channel is NOT for the stupid Archie Bunkers of the Slog Comment Gallery."

Posted by EatitStifle | August 18, 2008 7:12 PM

X at 71:

Gracious of you.

I concede that the corporate media spends a lot more time covering drug busts than it does covering the arguments in favor of legalization, and that it could do a much more evenhanded job.

How about a compromise: the PI should do evenhanded articles on busts that take place on private property, and credulous rah-rah articles when drug gangs crap all over the national parks?

Posted by Shorty | August 18, 2008 9:13 PM

Vanessa Ho and other reporters should think carefully before they publish "narc math" that inflames hysteria and pushes prohibition as the unchallenged response. They promote the idea that growing pot is an easy way to make tens of millions of dollars. The subliminal message is: "Get rich quick by growing on public lands." Lots of people are facing financial hardship right now, so I don't see how that is supposed to discourage them from growing cannabis.

Here's some real math: $48 million divided by 16,700 plants = $2874. per plant. Current market value is $2000-$2500 per pound (for outdoor sinsemilla; seeded sells for less), so average $2250 per pound (often less when sold in bulk) or 1.27 pounds of sinsemilla bud per plant.

Growers know that half of those plants were probably males that had not yet been pulled, as they are just (in August) showing flowers. So at a minimum, narc math inflates the real value by a factor of 2. More likely, there would be 8,350 female plants, if they all survive (not likely). That means each plant would have to produce more than 2.5 pounds of bud each to sell for $48 million. A web search shows that the federal DEA published a study on pot yields and found that an average mature female plant grown in full sun produces 4 ounces of bud (the seized plants were in a forest, so most likely the growers would get 2-3 oz each), and it's not easy work. Using 4 ounces each, 8,350 female plants x 4 ounces = (33400 oz) 2087.5 pounds x $2250 = $4.7 million. That's good money, but less than 1/10 the claimed $48 million reported in the article. The reporter should have questioned the narc math, and checked with recognized experts in the field to provide balance.

The bottom line is that the Drug War is causing these problems, and cannabis is the nation's number one cash crop. By any calculation, it is long past time to allow personal adult cultivation and use, and to tax and regulate the commercial market. Americans need to learn and pay attention to math.

Posted by Chris | August 18, 2008 9:50 PM

@77 Ignore Dan Savage - he just thinks he plays newspaper better than all the other kids on the block. And that's because he's let his vast land investments go to his head while he pretends to be "down with the peeps, y'all."

Posted by When was your last book deal? | August 18, 2008 10:19 PM

Jeff @59, in your spare time at the daily, go check the archives for pieces by Dominic Holden, Dan Savage, David Schmader, and Christopher Frizzelle, to name a few. Been there, done that, now it's your turn.

Posted by NaFun | August 19, 2008 10:46 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.