|War-Hero Drug Czar Under Fire In TV Ploy|
Posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 09:40:00 PT|
By John O' Mahony
Source: New York Post
Gen. Barry McCaffrey is used to winning -- but the U.S. drug czar is nursing war wounds for giving networks big-bucks incentives to insert anti-drug messages in TV shows.
The four-star general was forced to beat a hasty retreat after TV producers charged him with censorship and congressional officials said his policy allows networks to cheat the government.
Even as President Clinton defended McCaffrey and denied he had tried to regulate TV content, congressional officials said hearings into his anti-drug message deals are likely.
The sudden threat of an investigation stands in sharp contrast to the applause that greeted his 1996 appointment to lead the nation's battle against drugs.
McCaffrey, then 56, was the most highly decorated general on active duty and a hero of the Gulf War.
The general hoped to translate his battlefield successes to the drug war.
In 1997, he got Congress to allocate $1 billion for a five-year program "to fashion anti-drug messages" in movies, TV programs and other media.
Under the program, McCaffrey's office bought TV air time for anti-drug public-service announcements and in return, the networks agreed to match each paid ad with free anti-drug PSAs.
But as the economy began booming, the networks started to resent the free matching ads, especially during prime time, so McCaffrey offered to give the networks a break if anti-drug messages were incorporated into actual shows.
The deal, which involved two dozen popular shows, gave networks an estimated bonus of $25 million in valuable air time to sell to advertisers last year.
Anti-drug messages in episodes of "ER" are reported to have recouped $1.4 million in ad time for NBC to sell elsewhere, while ABC's "The Practice" recouped $500,000.
A Fox "Beverly Hills, 90210" anti-drug episode was worth between $500,000 and $750,000.
Last week, McCaffrey's office agreed to stop reviewing scripts and programs before they're aired, and to stop offering financial credits to networks or producers who ask for advice on how to incorporate anti-drug messages.
But McCaffrey may not recover as quickly from charges that he allowed the networks to defraud the government by not providing matching PSAs. A spokesman for the House Commerce Committee, which oversees broadcasting policy, said the situation demands a proper investigation.
"There's been a lot of head-shaking around here," he said.
"There's definitely interest on Capitol Hill in looking further into the issue."
Published: January 24, 2000
Stop the Secret Propagandizing for War on Drugs - 1/24/2000
Feds in the TV Studio - 1/23/2000
TV Too Easily Acquiescing to Government Intrusion-1/23/2000
Drugs, TV and Propaganda - 1/15/2000
|Comment #6 posted by Ally on January 25, 2000 at 10:10:49 PT|
There is too much of tax payer monies going for Drug War priorities, and not enough treatment programs in jails, or even in regular medical centers.
The analogy of two folks smoking a joint is a good one! Ain't no way that can lead to a life of degredation and drug abuse!
|Comment #5 posted by Doc-Hawk on January 24, 2000 at 17:37:29 PT|
Pubdate: Mon 24 January 2000
Source: St. Petersburg Times(FL)
Author: Stephen Heath, Largo
Drug czar fantasies
Re: For a price, anti-drug message on TV, Jan. 14.
It is not so surprising to read that the office of the drug czar in
Washington has been bribing to gain influence on the scripts of
popular television shows.
Network television programming is often delivered in doses of fiction
or fantasy stories.
In the world of the drug czar, any and all use of currently illicit
drugs is considered abuse. In the czar's world, two young people
smoking a joint together is a sure ticket down an inexorable road of
doom and degradation.
Barry McCaffrey's Office of National Drug Control Policy is desperate
that we not find out the truth, which is that millions of adult
Americans use illicit substances daily and function quite nicely,
thank you. Such a revelation might lead Americans to question why the
drug czar's latest strategy is to no longer war on the American
public, but instead to "treat" them for their "illness."
Most notably, in McCaffery's fantasy world, unlike that of true life,
all marijuana use is a sign of an illness, which can be "cured" by
government approved facilities.
It is curious why your paper and others are not more openly
challenging of the fantasy approaches of one of Washington's most
powerful agency heads. Fantasies like a "drug free" America, which we
may assume will still openly deal in alcohol, tobacco and
I would hope that the print media has not been compromised in a
similar fashion by drug office advertising. --
|Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 16:29:38 PT|
PS: Just wishful thinking again! Unrealistic though I know.
|Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on January 24, 2000 at 15:34:33 PT|
I hate to seem pedantic, but I can't say this enough: the FCC is supposed to control the airwaves for our benefit. The electromagnetic spectrum is supposed to be regulated to prevent abuses of any sort.
And, as always, eternal vigilance is needed, not just against the corporations that seek to monopolize what they don't really own, but *the regulators, themselves*.
By publicly linking both regulators and the regulated to this very smelly abridgement of our rights, they will be even less inclined to spout ONDCP propagand of *any* sort, ever again.
And the WoSD cannot survive being cut off from the media. After all, what's more interesting to watch - Barry's goofy blather, or the latest hot sitcom?
|Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 13:08:06 PT|
|Comment #1 posted by Dave in Florida on January 24, 2000 at 12:00:05 PT|
-Last week, McCaffrey's office agreed to stop reviewing scripts and programs before they're aired, and to stop
offering financial credits to networks or producers who ask for advice on how to incorporate anti-drug messages. -
IMHO the government should buy time at the same rate as everyone else. And they should not offer incentives for plots, even if they do not read the script beforehand. That would seem to lead networks to possibly continue this practice, if an effort to get paid for "the right message" programing. Maybe, some sharp writer reading this, will write a story about the real WOD, or how people really enjoy smoking a bowl after work.