[CR] Week in Review

Today is a big media day for the team at [CR] – check out Board Member Barrett Seaman on the Fox News Strategy Room with Ellis Henican and a group of Fox News Channel interns at 4 PM EST. They’ll cover the debate about the legal drinking age.

This afternoon’s wave of interest comes thanks to Shari Roan at the Los Angeles Times, who broke some significant news late last week: Dr. Morris Chafetz, a member of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving that recommended changing the drinking age from 18 to 21 during the 1980s, spoke out about his change of heart on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the law. Chafetz said that his desire for consensus on the issue of the legal drinking age caused him to make one of the biggest mistakes of his professional career, and he now believes that Legal Age 21 “has not worked.” Media outlets across the country picked up the story of his changed position on 21…here are a few samples to go along with your weekly update:

Stories this week:

Dr. Chafetz joined The Patt Morrison Show on Southern California Public Radio to discuss his regret about the recommendation to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21. You can listen to the segment to hear from Dr. Chafetz himself and many supportive callers.

When you’re finished listening to the segment on SCPR, read Amanda Carey’s take on Dr. Chafetz’s announcement at the Reason “Hit & Run” blog: “Simply passing a law isn’t going to stop young adults from drinking, an activity that has long been a sign of adulthood. Yet because of the fear of punishment, those young adults are much less likely to seek help when the partying gets out of hand, and the results are frequently disastrous.”

Not to be outdone, Ellis Henican of Newsday and am/NY wrote his own column on the Chafetz announcement which was re-printed at FOXNews.com. Henican began his column, titled “21 Has Lost Its Buzz — Time to Lower the Drinking Age,” with a simple observation: “Somewhere in America, there may be a college student who is dissuaded from drinking by Legal Age 21. It’s a big country, you know.” As we noted earlier, check out Henican and [CR] Board Member Barrett Seaman on the Fox News Strategy Room this afternoon!

As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Rounds’ efforts to lower the legal drinking age to 18 in licensed establishments in South Dakota is getting plenty of attention. Check out Chet Brokaw’s initial report in the Associated Press, and read about the details in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

In other news…

Administrators at North Dakota State University have implemented some changes to campus alcohol policies that will try to improve on the culture of binge drinking after several athletes had run-ins with law enforcement. Check out WDAY-TV’s report on the changes, and read about the plan to incorporate these changes at the NDSU’s Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Programs page.

Federal restrictions on highway funds prevent the individual states from experimenting with alternatives to Legal Age 21, and if some legislators get their way, the strings attached to highway funding will get even longer. Adam Richtel of the New York Times reported Wednesday that a group of Senators is proposing legislation that would require states to implement bans on texting while driving, otherwise they would face a 25% reduction in federal funding. It’s clear that distracted driving is a major safety issue, and we want to get your take on these incentives. Do you think this type of incentive will encourage safer driving, or is it another example of the federal government meddling in state business?

If we missed something this week, let us know in the comments. Have a great weekend, and be sure to check out [CR] online and on the radio this afternoon!

One Response to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    It’s great that Dr. Chafetz has reconsidered that the ageist drinking age is wrong. The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with an alcohol education program. Tim Rounds’, although not supporting the privilege of those 18-20 to drink privately, is doing good by supporting that licensed establishments allow those 18-20 to responsibly drink there. Texting while driving is not safe but by using the same tactic which was used to raise the drinking age, I don’t approve of the bill in Congress regarding texting.