Media Take Inner-City View of Drug Problem

`MOST drug users or dealers aren't black, and most blacks aren't drug users,'' says Don Hamilton, spokesman for the National Office of Drug Control Policy. Why then do most stories on drugs show blacks and Hispanics getting arrested? Where are the pictures of the stockbroker getting frisked? Some observers say there's no place to put users, so it's futile to make arrests. And well-heeled whites are more insulated from arrest. ``Someone on Park Avenue can have drugs delivered by a guy in a three-piece suit,'' says Edwin DeLattre of the American Enterprise Institute.

But the absence of whites in coverage of drugs is also due to reporters choosing to frame the story as an inner-city one, say observers. ``My sense is that the print media are following visual media, who are more interested in violence,'' says Mr. DeLattre.

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