Many of the worst tendencies of mainstream journalism’s approach to drug policy issues are highlighted in this Fox News report. It’s about an Arizona woman who bought a retired police drug dog and is trying to convince local parents that they should pay her to drag the dog through their homes. This process, she claims, will alert parents to the presence of any illegal drug in the house.
You can see the report here: canine p.i. – Fox News
Where to start? I interviewed a lawyer who pointed out the many flaws of drug-sniffing dogs a few years ago for DrugSense Weekly. Basically, police don’t keep records on the accuracy of drug dogs, and there are many reasons to believe that the dogs are highly inaccurate. Indeed, accuracy decreases with age and when dogs are trained on too many scents – both problems for the pooch on Fox.
But the interviewers didn’t ask about accuracy, nor did they challenge the entrepreneur’s suggestion that the dog could detect “any” illegal drug. They simply assumed drug dogs are infallible and admired the beauty of the animal.
This report isn’t really worse than other sycophantic stories on drug-sniffing dogs. Sadly, virtually every story I’ve seen on this topic is done with the same approach and assumptions – and absolutely no sense of skepticism.