Accuracy in Media

Marijuana, with its supposed medical benefits, has surfaced in yet another case of mental illness and violence. But this time, the target was President Obama, who now wants to make marijuana more freely available. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who pleaded guilty to shooting at Obama and hitting the White House, was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison.

Like many reporters, Josh Gerstein of POLITICO covered his sentencing without noting his devotion to cannabis.

The mentally-deranged conspiracy theorist, who called himself “a modern-day Jesus,” opened fire on the night of November 11, 2011, hitting the south side of the White House with eight shots and doing nearly $100,000 worth of damage.

Despite hating Obama, he did not turn out to be a right-wing extremist. Rather, he was a pothead inspired by radio/TV host Alex Jones, the notorious 9/11 “truther” who sees global conspiracies only he can uncover lurking behind national and world events.

Jones and his writers have recently become favorites on the “Savage Nation” radio show of Michael Savage, carried in Washington, DC on WMAL.

Like Jones, Ortega favored gun rights and marijuana. But when he took his semiautomatic rifle to the White House, a document in the case says that he was determined to express “anger towards the government regarding the continued criminalization of marijuana.” He claimed marijuana “made people smart,” the document said, but was arrested five days after his shooting rampage.

Ortega explained, “Because if the whole world, or the whole United States, would have smoked cannabis freely like alcohol is consumed, I believe that we would all be so much more intelligent beings, and the government knows that. That’s why it’s illegal, because if we were all more intelligent as a whole it would be harder to deceive us. So they just keep marijuana illegal because they know there will always be a population that will follow the rules.”

Roll Call newspaper summarized several of his paranoid beliefs: “For months, he had been sharing theories about how the federal government used Global Positioning System chips, fluoride, and aspartame to control Americans. He also criticized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, claiming that the United States was ‘bullying’ other countries to obtain oil, and compared Obama to ‘the anti-Christ.’”

Topics such as identification chips and GPS locatorsaspartame, and the alleged dangers of fluoride are regular fare on the Alex Jones show.

Ortega also “made two short videos in which he praised Osama bin Laden for having the courage to stand up to the United States, and called for a revolution against the federal government,” the publication said.

A November 2011 New York Times story referred to Ortega as “the lazy kid who used to smoke too much dope,” and reported that he and his friends “watched an antigovernment film on the Internet called ‘The Obama Deception,’ which was written, directed and produced by Alex Jones, a Texas-based conservative talk show host who has espoused a number of conspiracy theories involving the federal government.”

In fact, Jones is not a conservative. He is a pro-marijuana commentator who has been a frequent guest on the Moscow-funded propaganda channel Russia Today (RT), where he defends Russian foreign policy, and his writers insist the U.S. has been provoking Vladimir Putin’s regime.

In our 2010 article, “The Media, Extremists and Conspiracies,” we noted that the Jones film, “The Obama Deception,” features a former member of the Lyndon LaRouche organization who believes that Karl Marx was a British agent. LaRouche began his career as a Marxist and, like Jones, has claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an “inside job” carried out by U.S. operatives.

A combination of Alex Jones conspiracies and heavy marijuana use apparently took their toll on Ortega. The Times added, “Family members and others said that while Mr. Ortega was behaving increasingly strangely—he read a 45-minute speech at his 21st birthday party in October that veered from supporting marijuana legalization to detailing the threat of secret societies to expressing frustration with American foreign policy in oil-producing countries—he never seemed violent.”

However, marijuana has in fact been linked to a number of violent incidents, as we noted in a recent column, “Media Continue Cover-up of Marijuana-induced Mental Illness.”

Prosecutors said evidence showed that Ortega’s motive in shooting at the White House “was to punish and kill the president, who he believed was the head of a government that was oppressing its citizens in various ways, such as by continuing to criminalize the use of marijuana.” At the time, federal agents were cracking down on so-called “medical marijuana” businesses. Since then, Obama, a one-time heavy user, has called the drug safer than alcohol and has endorsed a policy of marijuana decriminalization and legalization, even announcing that his administration won’t enforce money-laundering laws against banks doing business with marijuana stores in states such as Colorado.

Dr. Christine Miller, who has written about the relationship between marijuana and mental illness, commented, “So, our President is willing to propose to this nation that marijuana is safer than alcohol, despite these examples of pot making people psychotic enough to threaten him and others. He can be protected, but the rest of us don’t walk around with body guards or Secret Service agents.”

On the same day that Ortega was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill to decriminalize marijuana.

Our media have shied away from covering the link between marijuana, mental illness, and such incidents as the Maryland mall shooting, in which two people were killed by a pothead who then took his own life.

But Dan Lucas, an independent researcher and policy advocate, came across heavy marijuana use related to a violent attack when he read through the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Oregon) report on the December 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, indiscriminately fired 16 shots at innocent shoppers, killing two and seriously injuring one.  He was armed with a stolen semiautomatic weapon.

The dead were Steven Forsyth, 46, a father of two and a youth sports coach, who took one bullet to the head, and Cindy Yuille, a 54-year-old hospice nurse and mother of two who stopped by the mall to pick up Christmas presents. She was shot in the back of the head. Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was shot in the chest.

The Sheriff’s office reported that Roberts had been smoking marijuana just before the shooting. The killer smoked marijuana between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., and again at 3:00 p.m.—immediately before heading to the Clackamas mall where he started shooting at around 3:30 p.m.

Lucas said the evidence in the case showed that the shooter’s aunt got him starting smoking marijuana daily when he was 16. The killer had written in a diary, “It sometimes made me wonder how my life would have turned out if [my aunt] didn’t smoke pot.” A toxicology report showed that he had used cocaine and marijuana prior to the shooting.

The shooter’s diary described marijuana parties: “I was sixteen when I started smoking with my mom [his aunt]. She packed the bowl and told me to take the first hit…I took a hit and went to pass it and she told me not to. She said ‘if [you’re] going to act like a stoner [you’re] going smoke like a stoner. [You’re] going to smoke that whole bowl to yourself.’ And to be honest with you, I did—I smoked the whole thing. Afterwards she tells me that I had to clean the bathroom for my punishment. But after that it was a daily thing. I would come home and smoke with my mom, go hang out with friends, come home and smoke with my mom.”

Lucas, the chief editor for the conservative blog Oregon Catalyst, says he has noticed how the media fail to report how marijuana is linked to cases of high profile violence. “The apparent media bias is very frustrating,” he tells Accuracy in Media. “Rather than an objective look at how to solve problems, there is a persistent selective and distorted presentation of information. For example, the use of an ‘assault rifle’ will be given huge focus and attention, but the role of marijuana will be marginalized, if reported on at all.”

He asks, “Can you imagine what the national dialog around marijuana legalization would be if the media applied the same standards to marijuana that they do to guns in high-profile violent tragedies?”

In Oregon, he says, a leading proponent of taking away gun rights is State Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene). He says that during the last two legislative sessions, Prozanski has attempted to pass new gun control laws using the Clackamas mall tragedy. At the same time, Prozanski has been pushing to legalize marijuana.

In fact, the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association participated in a fundraiser on his behalf. “Senator Prozanski has been a strong ally of the medical cannabis community,” the group says. “Join us as we build a brighter future for all Oregonians through responsible cannabis business practices.”

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  • stevor

    I guess the author of this article thinks that aspartame and fluoride (the main ingredient in rat POISON) are okay to ingest? A Harvard study told how fluoride lowers IQ so maybe there’s a personal connection between the author and ingesting fluoride. (does the author still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the “lone gunman” of JFK – despite a later government investigation saying it was a “conspiracy” of more than one person?)
    If I get banned by such thinking and daring to post it here will show/tell if thinking is NOT acceptable here.

  • LEE


  • KAG505

    Marijuana. Its harmless, harmless. Just ask the 19 year old from Wyoming who journeyed to Denver, Colorado just to sample what everyody was talking about. Oh wait, you cant ask him. He’s dead. After consuming several marijuana cookies, he became agressive, tore items from the hotel wall then jumped off the balcony. Four floors up. Denver Coroner established that “marijuana intoxication due to the ingestion of marijuana cookies was a SIGNIFICANT CONDITION ” in the death of the young man.
    See the story in the Denver Post.

  • Buck Disqus

    Dude, you are the PERFECT example of what happens when you smoke so much pot your brains turn to mush and you start believing wild conspiracy theories.

  • stevor

    I’d bet YOU smoked more than I (especially when I’ve never smoked pot, don’t do drugs, and don’t even like alcohol.) My mind is probably a LOT clearer than yours! If you truly had a decent IQ, you’d look up the uses of fluoride and how aspartame affects the brain. (you had a lot of diet calorie drinks full of aspartame your problem?)

  • Meathead

    What the h^ll! I’d repaired the damage for $50,000 and smiled all the way to the bank, One $4.99 can of exterior white plaster, one sheet of sandpaper, several strokes on each “ding” and collect the check. Dang, what a missed opportunity! Put me on the “bid list”.

  • Meathead

    Nope. Ovomit’s demise would make “Shotgun” Biden president. Nope, not good at all!!

  • gene456

    Aw, look at that. A pothead tries to harm a liberal hero. NOW what are the Lefty apologists going to do?

    BTW, you notice how none of them are commenting on this story. Is anyone surprised?

  • gene456

    Yeah, that’s what the author said: Aspartame and fluoride are OK.


  • stevor

    If you BOTHERED TO READ, the article was asserting that this guy was a nut because of “conspiracies” involving Aspartame and Fluoride, amongst others. Seem like you’re either VERY LACKING in IQ or on drugs, yourself (or both)

  • Richard Hellstrom

    When I lived in Japan , you could be sentenced to that length of time for just having a joint ! Considering he won’t be ingesting fish heads and rice for the next 25 years , he got off easy ! lol

  • gsb

    Cliff you are just as bad as alex jones. Both of you are idiots.

  • Buck Disqus

    No moron I never drank diet sodas and barely smoked pot, obviously you are imply genetically deficient in Intel to note that the moron in thus article fell for the BS about fluoride etc BECAUSE HECSMOKEC TOO MUCH DOPE.

    you otoh simply fell for it because you are stupid.

    And for a guy who claims he doesn’t smoke pot you SURE ARE DEFENDING THE SMOKING OF IT.

    PS – Some of the top alternative med scientists like Weil agree there is nothing conclusive about aspartame. Doesn’t mean I would want to eat it daily, just that there hasn’t some conspiracy or danger like you nut jobs claim.

  • Hemidemisemiquaver

    Classic argument by anecdote.

  • xes

    pot had nothing to do with the matter. more the fact that this guy is an absolute misinformed dumb ass…also may i add he’s from idaho