On my latest trip to Seattle to see Marc Emery plead guilty in a US Federal Court, I bumped into LA Times writer Kim Murphy, who told me she was writing a story about the embattled marijuana activist and his troubles with the law.
We had a great conversation over lunch, paid for by the LA Times! Kim said she had been given the assignment by the senior editor of the paper and didn’t know much about Marc or the case, so CC‘s advertising manager Britney and I told her everything we could.
She listened intently for about an hour, and seemed especially interested in the DEA press release that was issued just after Marc’s 2005 arrest, where administrator Karen Tandy admits that Marc’s arrest was politically motivated.
Here’s the release in full (click here for a photo of the original):
Statement from DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy
Major North American Marijuana Trafficker Self-Proclaimed “Prince of Pot” aka Marc Scott Emery Arrested Today
“Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.
His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.”
Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.”
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.
Yes, it is a shocking admission of the government’s political motivations in targeting Marc Emery.
Kim, the LA Times writer, was indeed very interested in this statement, and the fact that it has been unusually removed from the DEA’s website. Kim was also interested in the fact that Marc had reported his earnings and paid taxes to the Canadian government each year while explicitly stating the money was from the sales of marijuana seeds, and that Health Canada actually sent medical marijuana patients to Marc to buy seeds.
Kim came up to Vancouver to interview Marc’s wife Jodie Emery and to check out the Pot Block and CCHQ. When she was here, she brought up the DEA press release again, and was amazed that it hadn’t received more press considering its significance. I told her I though there was a concerted effort by the press to ignore the facts in press release. She was skeptical, and told me that in her many years as a journalist at the LA Times, she had never been edited in a way that would remove key facts or change the meaning of her stories.
I guess when it comes to Marc Emery, there’s a first time for everything.
The LA Times’ story about Marc, “‘Prince of Pot’ is at a low” published on Friday, June 11, 2010, though it is very well written and sympathetic to Marc’s situation, contains NO references to the DEA press release, the fact that Marc paid taxes, or the fact that Health Canada passed Marc’s info on to medical patients. All these important facts are missing.
Turns out, the facts were in Kim’s original draft, but were removed by LA Times editors, who told the writer the details ‘weren’t important enough’.
What do you think? Do you think these details were really removed because they weren’t important enough to the story? To me, it seems like the DEA’s press release may be THE MOST IMPORTANT piece of evidence in the case, because it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Marc was arrested for his political activism.
I encourage you to contact the editors of the Los Angeles Times to let them know how important these facts really are. [email protected]
UPDATE: I just had a telephone conversation with the very courteous and friendly Kim Murphy about what exactly transpired with her editors. She told me she doubted the edits were made for political reasons, but probably due to space constraints. Her original story was quite lengthy, so some parts had to be cut. When it came back with the cuts, she asked them specifically about including the DEA press release info. Her editor told her that part “wasn’t as interesting” as the parts they left in. She said she didn’t think about it much at the time, and just agreed and went along with it. “I probably should have fought harder for those points to remain in,” she said. I told Kim I felt like those might be the most important facts about the whole case, and she agreed and said I should forward my comments to the Los Angeles Times (email address above).