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Slate Thinks Newsweek is Cheesy

Slate's Jack Shafer is not impressed with Newsweek's slice o' cheese this week. To wit:

How much journalistic feebleness can you pack into a 700-word story about illicit drugs? The latest issue of Newsweek explores the limits with its article "Stopping a Kid Killer: A concoction called 'cheese' has led to 21 deaths in the Dallas area, and authorities worry it will spread."

Although "cheese" heroin sounds like something the Onion would make up, it's real. But Newsweek makes "cheese" heroin sound more mysterious than it really is, first by defining it as a "new drug," which it's not, and then by calling the compound a "mixture of heroin and cold medication." That's a hopelessly vague description, given the dozens of cold remedies on the market.

"Journalistic feebleness"? Patrick, here's a guy after your own heart. And to think, Shafer used to be one of us... --Robert Wilonsky

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