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EDITORIAL: Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel*

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EDITORIAL: This is a fool’s errand, we know, but in the name of decency, fairness and The Golden Rule, we are calling on the local media to exercise some measure of restraint in reporting on the drug and criminal justice problems of the brothers Reid. And no, we’re not just talking about the kind of restraint that keeps you from getting sued, but the kind of restraint that comes when editorial decision-making is attached to journalistic ethics — not just ratings aspirations. As we type this, Philly.com has just splashed a top story about the pills allegedly found in Brett Reid’s truck last week when he was very publicly hauled in for DUI and violating his probation. The headline screams 200 PILLS FOUND! — and yet, when you read the story, there’s a quote from the eminently-quotable Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor saying, “I think some of them are (prescription), maybe all of them.” This is not journalism, it’s poking a stick in someone’s cage. (You want a good drug story, a story about how drugs are actually impacting the life of this city? Go here and here, there’s a million of ‘em. They will, however, require a little more shoe leather than standing in front of Andy Reid’s house and tsk-tsking as you read the lines the DA has fed you into the camera.) C’mon, people! He’s just a kid struggling publicly with what is obviously a very serious drug addiction. There is far too much blood in the water for what is at best a sand shark being portrayed as a Great White — just because it’s easy and his dad is famous.

*From Alexander Pope’s “Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot”

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