By now you’ve heard the usual story about the media and the White House getting it wrong, and you’re probably wondering how that has anything to do with Donald Trump.
But, in the spirit of good reporting, I want to talk about something that you might not have heard about: The White House and the media getting it so wrong about the Trump administration’s handling of the opioid crisis.
In an article published on The Daily Signal, journalist Andrew Sobieski makes the case that the media got it wrong about how Trump has handled the opioid epidemic: The media has been wrong about this epidemic for years, Sobiesski wrote, and it will take more than one bad tweet for that to change.
But the media has got a lot of work to do to get it right, and we need your help to do it.
Sobieskis piece, which I have included in this post, is worth reading.
But let me also say that the article is pretty far-fetched and doesn’t quite make sense.
So, I’ve compiled a quick primer to try and explain why I think Sobiesks article is wrong and what it will mean.
And I’ll be following up with a more in-depth look at the White the media-is-badly-wrong narrative that will make sense of it.
The White the Media-Is-Badly-Wrong Narrative Sobiesky says that “the White House has been far more accurate and forthright about its drug-war policies” than most of the news outlets he’s been covering.
But that’s not the only problem with Sobieskes piece.
First of all, Sobyski says, the White house has not done much to “put a dent in the epidemic,” and that’s partly because of the president.
In the months leading up to the opioid overdose crisis, the president’s administration has been trying to use his power to make it harder for people to buy drugs.
Sobysks piece argues that that strategy has “failed,” and “the president’s response to the crisis has been anemic, inconsistent, and incomplete.”
And while the president has said he wants to “make it easier for addicts to access treatment and get the drugs they need,” the administration has failed to make a dent.
Sobrieski wrote that “while the Whitehouse’s approach to the overdose crisis has improved, the administration is also far more reactive than it could have been, in terms of responding to the epidemic in a timely manner, and taking action against drug traffickers and other problematic dealers.”
For example, the first overdose-prevention measure the WhiteHouse took was to close down “excessively trafficked, high-volume online drug markets.”
Sobieskas piece makes a point of saying that this action was a “small, incremental step” in the right direction, but that it was a significant one.
Sobleski says that the White is “not doing much to stop the flow of opioids into the country,” and the administration hasn’t been doing anything “to increase enforcement efforts” or “to enforce the drug-trafficking laws that were in place prior to the recent surge.”
Sobyskis article goes on to say that “White House officials have said that the administration does not have a strategy to reduce overdose deaths,” but Sobieszes piece says that that is not true.
The president has promised to do “more,” but he hasn’t yet.
And while SobiesKes piece claims that the president is trying to “get the opioids off the streets,” he writes that “there is no evidence that this strategy has worked.”
In fact, the Trump White House “has not made progress on the issue of opioid overdose deaths, even as it has pursued an approach to reduce overdoses that has not been widely embraced by the public.”
In other words, the idea that Trump has “got the opioids out” has been a lie for months, and he’s just keeping on lying about it to try to make himself look good.
The media and Trump are not the same As I’ve mentioned, Sobiedski’s piece is based on a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that the opioid-overdose epidemic has been “far more severe” than initially reported.
The CDC’s National Prescription Drug Monitoring Survey found that during the course of the crisis, more than 1.6 million people died of drug overdoses.
Of those deaths, 5 percent involved opioids, and nearly 2.5 million people were opioid-dependent.
The numbers don’t lie: There have been more deaths from prescription opioids than from heroin or fentanyl.
But Sobieskin’s piece goes a step further than that.
Sobiedks article says that, as of July 2018, the number of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. was 2,923,000.
Sobists piece makes it clear that the number is far higher than that: Sobieskins claims that “over