In this segment withStephen Siff, Associate Professor of Journalism at Miami University and the author of ‘Acid Hype: American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience,’ we get into the U.S. news media's role in the promotion, and in particular the "hype," of psychedelic drug use in the 1950s and '60s — initially by prominent public figures and the "Intelligentsia," and eventually the wider population more generally. We also get into the Nixon Administration's role in instigating the War on Drugs, and the role the US media played in propagandizing the government's agenda regarding the prohibition of psychedelic compounds and cannabis.
The media has played a major role in the “branding” of psychedelics and cannabis, both in a positive and negative light (depending on the time, and the context of their legal status). As Stephen examines in his book and in this interview, the initial coverage of LSD and other psychedelic compounds was initially very positive, with media outlets “hyping” the use and potential applications of these substances, effectively branding the psychedelic experience as a countercultural phenomenon. Along with this, Stephen discusses the other role the U.S news media has played in our popular perceptions of these substances. Leading up to the eventual criminalization of these substances under the Controlled Substance Act in 1970, the news media shifted its coverage of these substances, playing into the Nixon and successive administrations’ propaganda campaign to demonize and stigmatize psychedelic and drug use more broadly.
Stephen Siff, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Journalism and the author of ‘Acid Hype: American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience,’ an account of mainstream media’s introduction of new drugs and new styles of recreational drug use in the 1950s and 1960s. His research as a journalism historian examines news coverage and government propaganda about illegal drug use and drug users during the latter half of the twentieth century. He has also published research in Journalism History and Newspaper Research Journal.
Learn more about and purchase ‘Acid Hype: American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience’ here: http://bit.ly/AcidHype
This is a segment of episode #160 of Last Born In The Wilderness “Don't Believe The Hype: The Media, Branding Psychedelics, & The War On Drugs w/ Stephen Siff.” Listen to the full episode: http://bit.ly/LBWsiff