Some of $245,000 that the Montana Meth Project spends on Public Affairs and Public Relations seems to be getting a workout this weekend.
Kathryn Sabol offers an intriguing defense:
Although it’s difficult to quantify, the fact remains that the Meth Project’s graphic, in-your-face approach resonated with the target audience. Young people reported being jolted, through age-appropriate media, into discussing methamphetamine with parents and peers.
In other words, we should believe the survey results that show the Montana Meth Project works, but ignore the part wherein their own surveys show that meth use actually increased in teenagers.
Erceg-Hurn has spent no time actually speaking with Montana teens. His article is based upon selective and misleading representations of studies that, in fact, show significant, positive changes in use and attitudes. I hope that in the future the Associated Press and the Great Falls Tribune will examine the facts more closely before giving a forum to other so-called experts.
It’s nice to see that the Montana Meth Project is resorting to a time-honored right wing smear tactic to discredit Daniel Erceg-Hurn: he’s a foreigner! As for misleading statistics, here’s a challenge for Ms. Shea or anyone who would like to defend the Montana Meth Project: explain why Meth use went up among teenagers after the introduction of the program. It’s your own survey data. Explain it, instead of relying on ad hominem attacks.
Finally, in a Minority Report moment, Laura Tode has leapt forward in time to tell us about two students who will leave on a bus for Helena in about five hours, along with 2,000 other students:
While many Billings students might have spent this morning sleeping late and enjoying a day off, brothers Brody and Kael Giebink were up before dawn to catch a 6:45 a.m. bus to Helena for the March Against Meth. The event is sponsored by the Montana Meth Project, a public service marketing campaign for the prevention of methamphetamine use.
They’ll be joining about 2,000 other young people to march on the state capitol where they’ll deliver the signatures of more than 55,000 Montanans…
I’m going to go out on a limb here. I suspect that the Billings Gazette typically does not write stories before the events take place. It’s especially awkward, given that the Montana Meth Project has pre-announced that 1,000 students will be attending. If the Montana Meth Project and Billings Gazette are going to pre-write the news, they ought to at least have the decency to have same story.
Given that the Gazette has done nothing but act as the propaganda arm of the Montana Meth Project, maybe the rules are different in this case. To date, the Gazette has not seen fit to disclose in any of its glowing news and editorial coverage that its publisher is the chair of the Montana Meth Project, and has not disclosed the amount of advertising revenue the Project has generated for Lee Enterprises. It’s beginning to seem obvious that one or both is driving Lee coverage.