paige hulsey

Reporter Roasted for Recreating “Normal Teen Bedroom” for Drug Scaremongering

No one under 40 dressed this room and it shows.

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Journalists have long peddled scare stories about the dangers surrounding America’s youth. From the very first PSA that gravely intoned, “It’s 10PM, do you know where your children are?” the news cycle has been dominated with fearmongering regarding children, and especially teenagers. The media has whipped up a panic about everything from Satanism to color-coded sex bracelets, manufacturing outrage based in half-truths and hearsay.

The latest attempt to cause parental panic comes courtesy of Paige Hulsey, a journalist at St. Louis’s CBS affiliate KMOV. Hulsey tweeted, “Looks like a normal teen’s bedroom, right? Think again. Coming up on @KMOV, we’ll show you what parents should be looking for so they can identify signs of drug use. I was shocked at what I found in this room!!! #stl #n4tm” along with a photo of a “teenager’s bedroom”:

The tweet quickly went viral for Hulsey’s absurd mock-up of a teenage bedroom. Looking at the image, this is quite clearly a hastily thrown together set piece in the corner of a commercial office. It also leans heavily on every stoner cliché there is, from a massive tie-dye wall hanging to a sign that reads “Mile 420.” Whoever this “teen” is, they sure aren’t hiding their love of weed from this ace reporter. There’s a lot to unpack here: unopened soda cans, a bra on the floor, a Lauren Conrad book, the barest of bookshelves, the industrial carpet. Print magazines?! I doubt a teenager even set foot in this room.

Folks were quick to roast Hulsey for the tweet and the obviously faked bedroom:

Hulsey tried to combat the naysayers by tweeting that the room WAS set up at the DEA headquarters, with help from non-profit group Addiction is Real. So what you’re saying is … no teenager lives like this? And this is a staged room from the people who led the war on drugs? Very normal, very cool.

I’d love to see the kitchen, but I heard Rachel Leigh Cook smashed it up while trying to fry an egg.

After decades of fearmongering and parent-scaring, at least social media allows us to call out these disingenuous setups when we see them. And at least Hulsey is game enough to make a joke … we guess?

(image: screencap)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.