Given the extent of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, you would expect that his eyes and ears would have at least picked up that maybe, somewhere along the way, at one or two events throughout the last few decades, some people enjoy dabbling in narcotics when they go to music festivals. Well, turns out that despite being one of the biggest news mediums in the country, when The Daily Telegraph went to Listen Out Festival in Sydney, the shock of being offered drugs was just a little too much for them.
Given the nature of the article, it seems like it was quite the dramatic experience; “We hadn’t even made it to the front gates when the call of “caps caps” was whispered into my ear… he was offering MDMA capsules at $30 a pop, or $25 for those buying in bulk.” As the reporter continued their day, they were confronted with even more evidence that despite warnings people, for reasons unknown, were carrying illicit substances and potentially even consuming them. “The portable toilet cubicles were littered with remnants of illicit substances, including empty resealable bags and plastic balloons. A stream of people flowed through the medical tent suffering from the effects of alcohol or other substances.”
The article goes on to talk about how NSW Premier Mike Baird had warned festival organisers to “clean up or shut up” when it came to drugs at events. It also mentioned a number of previous drug-related deaths at festivals, but failed to talk about the reasons why this happened or ways to prevent it in future. And for those worries that the Tele had gone Gonzo, rest assured they absolutely did not. They found it necessary to end the article by actually writing, “The Sunday Telegraph did not purchase any drugs.”
It’s ok, Telegraph. Pretending that drugs at festivals are a new and surprising change to society sure does make for an interesting headline. It also allows you to ignore the real problems, right? You know, like how the vast majority of drug-related deaths at Australian music festivals could be avoided if pill testing facilities were implemented at events and if harm reduction information was readily available for youths around the country. What about how drug detection police dogs have been proven to cause more harm than good, and have little effect in general, despite costing the state more than $9 million a year? Easy to overlook if you’re so dumbfounded by the mere presence of drugs, right?
Writing an article about how shocking it is to see drugs at a festival is like writing an article about how people went to the beach on a hot day. But the very existence of drugs is all that matters in this discussion, right? Not looking at ways to reduce harm, promote safe usage and prevent further injuries and deaths. That would just be silly. Brace yourselves for a long summer people.