March 15, 2008

Drunk driving crackdown? Really?

Readers MS and CS offered this response to the state's "crackdown" on drunk driving this weekend:

MS writes:

Do they think we're this stupid?

When have you heard of anybody getting a warning for drunk driving? Why would the paper just report this without questioning it? Does the governor know we have legally drunk drivers on the streets and the cops are letting them off?

CS adds:

I think the (media) thinks they are fulfilling some sort of public service by printing this.

I wonder if we won't be getting warnings for committing other crimes this weekend. I wonder if there ARE weekends where we do just get warnings for committing crimes. I want to know what and when.

MS adds (note sarcasm):

Here's another example- I remember reading this story and just rolling my eyes... ridiculous nonsense...

The police lie to the press, the press acts as scaremonger, and then (if we're lucky) eventually they are forced to admit it was all bullshit.

It was aimed at making the prankster go running to a hospital and admit it was he who'd pulled off The Great Dummy-on-a-radio-tower prank of '06.

Well I didn't fall for it.

And neither did my accomplices.

A Google search found that six newspapers (and RacinePost) ran this quote with the OWI crackdown story:
There will be no warnings for impaired drivers; violators can expect to be arrested.

One paper paraphrased the quote as being by John J. Pasmovic of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The JS directly quotes the exact same words to Michael Witter, Midwest administrator for the NHTSA.

Four other paper attribute the phrase to "officials."

None of this is meant to sully the message of not drinking and driving this weekend. It just shows the media relying on government propaganda in the hopes of striking someone's consciousness that they could actually kill someone if they drive drunk. Unfortunately, as the readers pointed out, the message is a bit ... stilted. Better would have been something like, "more police will be on the road this weekend watching for drunk drivers," or "police will crackdown on bars that serve drivers arrested for DUI this weekend." But a "crackdown" on drunk driving? It's like putting out a press release saying police are opposed to murder. Yeah, good ... that's your job.

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