NY Times Reporter Hits Own Paper for Using ‘Cheech & Chong’ Photo in Serious Marijuana Piece


It’s 2014 and the media are still reduced to giggle-fits (sometimes literally) every time someone talks about marijuana?

Monday’s New York Times contained a thought-provoking report on the differences between driving under the influences of marijuana and alcohol. Citing researchers statistical data, the piece ultimately concludes that experts believe combating alcoholic DUI “would reduce risk far more effectively than any effort to curb stoned driving.”

For such a weighty topic, however, the Times decided to accompany the piece with a classic image of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong smoking a fat one while driving a car in 1978’s Up in Smoke.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning Times reporter Matt Richtel took note of the image and tweeted out a critical question for his own paper:

Good question, indeed. While it is just a goofy picture from a stoner classic, one can’t help but wonder why pot conversations always need to be punctuated with Cheetos references and Pineapple Express-like cartoonishness.

Drug reform activists were also irritated by the photo, as Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told Mediaite in a statement:

“At a time when more voters — and even politicians — are starting to treat the marijuana policy discussion with the seriousness it deserves, it’s disappointing to see an outlet like the New York Times revert to tired, old Cheech and Chong imagery. The underlying article was pretty fair and balanced, but the photo editors at the Times need to realize it’s 2014, not 1978, and that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue worthy of serious treatment instead of an opportunity for silly giggles.”

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