Yesterday, City Desk banged away at the Washington Post‘s Metro section for repeating an already discredited claim that meth has “infiltrated” the Washington region. The repetition came on the heels of “The Next Crack Cocaine?”—a story about a supposedly growing meth epidemic. We also knocked the paper for a story headlined “Police Find Meth Chemical Cache in Wheaton Townhouse.” It later turned out that there was no meth cache and that police actually found residue of GHB.
Today, though, the wagging finger becomes two applauding hands for the step forward the Post took in this morning’s paper.
First, in Maryland Briefing, it set the record straight on the nonseizure of the “meth chemical cache.” (The Post stopped short of running a correction of its incorrect headline(s) and instead blamed the error on what “Police originally believed.”)
Next, it did a 180 with regard to the meth problem in the Washington area: “[T]he meth problem in the Washington region is relatively small compared with other parts of the country,” writes Amit R. Paley, the reporter who produced “The Next Crack Cocaine?”, in a story about three Indiana kids who traveled to Maryland to buy $6,000 worth of a meth precursor.
Paley’s not in the clear yet; he still reports that “the number of meth lab seizures in Virginia, Maryland, and the District has jumped in recent years from zero to more than 80,” which makes it sound like there’s a growing problem in the region. The whole truth is that 75 of those seizures were in Virginia—none were in the Virginia or Maryland suburbs, and one was in the District. The overwhelming majority were in Southwest Virginia, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration county-by-county breakdown—a crucial detail the Post has yet to mention.