Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Plea to All Media Companies and All Media Organizations in Austin, Texas: Insist on Twice-Per-Year Random Drug-Testing of All Your Employees!

I was recently alarmed to hear unconfirmed reports in town that the "Austin Chronicle" alternative newsweekly publication in Austin, Texas, and the Cox Enterprises-owned "Austin American-Statesman" in Austin, Texas, each allegedly employ and allegedly harbor numerous or several law-breaking illicit-drug addicts on their respective staffs.

I hope very much that those shocking rumors I've heard are completely incorrect, and that NO ONE currently employed by the "Austin Chronicle" or the "Austin American-Statesman" has ever at any time consumed any quantity of marijuana --- whether in the form of a marijuana brownie or otherwise --- or any other illicit drug on any occasion in calendar year 2010. In that regard, I myself have never at any time in 2010 been directly informed by any "Austin Chronicle" employee or by any "Austin American-Statesman" employee, respectively, that he or she has ever at any time produced or purchased or possessed or consumed or sold or otherwise distributed any quantity of marijuana or any other illicit drug on any occasion this calendar year. Nor have I myself ever directly observed any quantity of any illicit drug inside either of those two respective newspaper office buildings in my entire life.

The Cox Enterprises parent company of the "Austin American-Statesman" is itself headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Cox Enterprises of Atlanta is, of course, legally and morally responsible for any and all misconduct and violations of the law and any and all unethical conduct by "Austin American-Statesman" employees or officials of that daily newspaper in Austin, Texas. The "Austin Chronicle" is published by Nick Barbaro, a former arts and entertainment writer for "The Daily Texan" student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin.

If there is any possible truth to the alarming rumors I've heard about these two respective media companies in Austin, Texas, this indicates that the news and editorial policies of the "Austin Chronicle" and the "Austin American-Statesman," respectively, might currently be unduly influenced and swayed by, and might possibly or allegedly reflect the drug-permissive biases and prejudices of, several or numerous allegedly law-breaking alleged illicit-drug addicts allegedly or possibly employed on each of those two respective general-circulation newspapers' respective staffs.

Any such bias by either of those two newspapers in local news and editorial coverage relating to illicit drugs would also significantly undermine efforts by the City Government of Austin, the Travis County Attorney, the Travis County District Attorney, the Travis County Sheriff's Office, the Attorney General of Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Government, to adequately address the illicit-drug crisis currently besetting our capital city along the Colorado River.

Each and every news media organization currently operating in Austin, Texas, has a moral imperative to serve as noble "Champions of Goodness and Idealism" in our culturally influential city. When those media organizations fail to adequately uphold law-abiding lifestyles in Austin, Texas, our entire city, county, state, and nation suffer accordingly.

If either the "Austin Chronicle" or the "Austin American-Statesman" is currently failing to provide full and comprehensive news and editorial coverage that's favorable to the anti-drug community in Austin, Texas, possibly an illicit-drug raid by the Austin Police Department (or by the Texas Department of Public Safety or FBI) that features deployment of drug-sniffing police dogs inside at least one of those two newspapers' office buildings in Austin, Texas, might reveal a shockingly tangible explanation for that newspaper's alleged negligence.

The inevitable implication from these very alarming unconfirmed rumors I've heard about two of the most influential news media companies currently operating in Austin, Texas, is that any and all media companies in Austin, Texas, have a moral obligation to prove to the people of Austin that those media companies are each very opposed to any and all consumption of marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, or any other illicit drug by ANY of their employees or officials---including by any photographers, freelance photographers, reporters, writers, freelance writers, editors, editorial writers, editorial board members, consultants, owners, or legal representatives for that media company.

Any and all media companies and media organizations currently operating in Austin, Texas---including, I would hope, "The Daily Texan" student newspaper at UT-Austin---should permanently establish a twice-per-year random-drug testing requirement tradition for each and every current employee of that media organization, including each and every official of that media company and any and all freelance writers and freelance photographers for that media company.

Each and every media company or media organization currently operating in Austin, Texas, should also impose a policy of immediately either dismissing from their staff or placing on paid temporary medical leave of absence, any person being employed by that media company who fails a random-drug test at any time. Individuals placed on medical leave of absence in that context could be required by their media company to successfully complete a drug-treatment program and sign a follow-up drug-free pledge with their employer before they are then permitted to return to their workplace.

If they then fail any of the future twice-per-year random drug testing tests administered to themselves by their employer, they should be automatically fired by that media-company or media-organization employer in Austin, Texas.

In this way, all of the media companies and media organizations operating in Austin, Texas, can help to protect the credibility of the news media in Austin. This type of urgently-needed moral leadership by the news media in Austin, Texas, will also help to combat the deplorably drug-permissive nationwide reputation of Austin---a capital city made infamous globally by the marijuana mischief of popular folk singer Willie Nelson.

My hope is that in the foreseeable future, each and every news media company and news media organization operating in Austin, Texas, will post a sign near the front door entrance to their office building that proudly declares, "Welcome to our Drug-Free Workplace that Exclusively Employs Permanent Abstainers from Any and All Illicit Drugs! We Are One Employer in Austin, Texas, that Performs Random-Drug Testing At Least Twice Per Year on ANYONE and EVERYONE who works for us and ANYONE and on EVERYONE who works here!"

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