Yesterday afternoon, local TV news reporter Jaclyn Lee posted a Tweet we have not seen so thoroughly ratiod in quiet a minute. In the now viral Tweet, Lee parrots a press report from the Bensalem Police warning parents to be vigilant of supposed threats their children this Halloween.
Sharing pictures of apparently confiscated candy that look like they were taken on a Nokia phone, Lee says that the Police say that the candy bags “look a lot like the real thing.” Ya know, like how all your crunchy Cheetos are covered in giant white cannabis leaves and a “Medibles Infused Snacks” logo.
Other edible knock-off’s featured in the pictures include Sweet Tarts, Nerds, and “Stoner Patch Dummies,” each clearly demarcated as an edible by unmissable cannabis leaves and THC weight.
The readily apparent inconstancies are almost silly, so why would the Tweet draw such a rejoinder from the internet as to go viral?
All Trick, No Treat
There are two compounding cultural narratives in the US that drew such ire: local reporting of policing and the supposed tampering of Halloween candy.
The Tweet falls under the trope of what journalists Adam Johnson’s and Nima Shirazi characterize as “reporting as police stenography” by treating the police as the primary, if not only source of information. But what drew such a strong reaction was how apparent the inconsistencies were with no further reporting.
For one, none of the presented candies are “laced,” but manufactured and factory sealed. There’s probably something under the table about the use of branding, but not one that would harm any children.
And while needles, razor blades, and other potentially harmful, illicitly added drugs were the subject of past fears, the idea that people are planning on spending money on edibles that can’t even be bought in the state to just give away drew more laughter than anger. That stuff’s expensive!
And where did the Bedsalem police get this supposed Halloween candy in September anyways? The reporter doesn’t seem to have asked.
Meanwhile, the cyclical news cycle has sparked a returning frustration for millennials and zoomers who grew up under the constant news cycle of “stranger danger.” The obviously conflated level of fear during what should’ve been the best holiday sapped fun and promoted a level of distrust among communities that only further reifies the police’s supposed necessity in these communities.
Popular replies to the original tweet stated as much, with others upping the framed stakes:
Hopefully people wising up to these silly kinds of news reporting tactics will help us prevent seeing more of the same stories pop up as Halloween approaches.