May 11, 2001
comments powered by Disqus
An article in the national section of today's New York Times reports that "Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were the first two employees at the White House to take a drug test. But White House officials declined to say if anyone on Mr. Bush's staff had failed the mandatory test."
It's odd that the New York Times reports that "White House officials declined to say if anyone on Mr. Bush's staff had failed the mandatory test."
Other newspapers this morning report the opposite. The Washington Post, for instance, says, "Officials said 650 people were tested as a condition of employment, and 127 have been randomly tested since then. A senior administration official said no one has failed."
The New York Post reports, "President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney -- followed by 650 White House staffers -- took drug tests their first week in office, and everyone was clean, officials said yesterday."
The White House Web site carries a transcript of yesterday's briefing by the press secretary, and it quotes the press secretary, Ari Fleischer, as saying, "I'm not going to get into anybody did or did not pass. That's going to be treated as a private personnel matter. I would suggest to you that in its entirety, this White House is a very professional operation, and there are no problems that have been brought to anybody's attention. Let me say that. In the event that something -- somebody were to be tested positive, the White House policy is to treat this on an individual, case-by-case matter, to sit down and talk with the person whose test may have come back positive, to work with them to determine whether it was some type of casual usage or if there is a more serious problem, to determine what drugs were involved, and to work with that person and to help that person seek treatment and counseling. And if the situation is not resolved, the consequences could be anywhere from a letter of reprimand to firing."
That prompted a follow-up question:
Q. Ari, when you said that no problem has been brought to anybody's attention, are you suggesting that nobody failed the test?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm suggesting from this podium -- I'm not going to get into counts and numbers on something that may involve counseling of employees. But the fact of the matter is that there are no problems.
Mr. Fleischer's comments could be interpreted in a variety of ways. It may be that the Washington Post pursued the matter on background, while the New York Times did not. Still, reporting that "White House officials declined to say if anyone on Mr. Bush's staff had failed the mandatory test" without also reporting Mr. Fleischer's claim that "there are no problems" seems to be giving Times readers less than the full picture.
Subscribe to the Mailing List
© 2017 FutureOfCapitalism LLC