Michael Massing

Michael Massing is the author of The Fix, a study of U.S. drug policy since the 1960s.

Recent Articles

Home-Court Advantage:

"This is a different kind of conflict," said General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Pentagon briefing in October. He was speaking of the war on terrorism. "The closest analogy would be the drug war." Since September 11, comparisons between the two wars have been rife: Both are said to involve an elusive and resourceful enemy capable of inflicting tremendous damage on the United States; both are cast as a long, drawn-out struggle that requires concentrated efforts on multiple fronts; and both are led by a powerful "czar" authorized to knock heads, challenge budgets, and mobilize resources. Heaven help us. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure. Every year, the federal government spends almost $20 billion to fight illicit drugs. It has tracked planes in Peru, sent helicopters to Colombia, installed X-ray machines along the Mexican border, and sent AWACS surveillance planes over the Caribbean. Yet drugs continue to pour into this country. Cocaine today...

Toxic Media versus Toxic Censorship

O n the October 23, 2000, issue of TAP , Wendy Kaminer argued that political calls for regulating "toxic media"--like violent movies or profane rap albums--can lead to dangerous censorship and repression. But what if there's a legitimate public interest in monitoring the cultural products kids consume? Michael Massing says that Kaminer's argument is typical of liberals' "reflexive disdain" toward the expressed concerns of parents on this issue. The two writers elaborate in the exchange that follows. Michael Massing writes : A nytime a public official issues a peep of protest about the violent fare on television, a chorus of liberal voices rises in denunciation. The most recent instance came in September, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report criticizing the marketing of movies and music with violent content to young people. Citing the report, both Al Gore and Joe Lieberman blasted Hollywood. And the response from liberal commentators was furious. Gore's "frenzied and...

Ending Poverty As We Know It

Last year, when the editor of another magazine asked me to write about the progress of welfare reform in America, I called around to see which state was leading the way. I ended up in Wisconsin. Under the direction of Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin had begun cutting its rolls earlier than most other states and had pared them far more sharply. During my visit there, almost everyone I met embraced the idea of welfare reform. Even longtime advocates for the poor said they had become convinced that too many people had become too dependent on welfare and that reform had given them a needed push. But I also heard many complaints about how welfare reform was being carried out. Thousands of people who were unable to work were being pushed off the rolls; hunger and homelessness had increased. Even those who had found jobs were having trouble retaining them, and their average wage was falling. Welfare reform was getting many people off the dole, I was told; it was not getting...