Drug Czar Wants To Reopen The Cookie Jar

Drug Czar Wants To Reopen The Cookie Jar
Posted by FoM on July 11, 2000 at 15:20:31 PT
By Lance Gay, Scripps Howard News Service
Source: KnoxNews
White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey said Tuesday he wants to turn his office's Internet "cookie" machine back on to find out what turns on kids about drugs.But lawmakers warned McCaffrey that continuing controversies over White House drug office snooping on Internet users, and paying Hollywood scriptwriters to put anti-drug messages in TV sitcoms, are undermining public confidence in the government's $1 billion, five-year anti-drug campaign.
"We can't afford to have kids thinking that every anti-drug message portrayed on TV was planted by the government. Likewise, we cannot afford to have their parents fearing that they are being spied upon every time they visit a government Web site for information or help," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Government Reform criminal justice subcommittee.McCaffrey insisted that payments to Hollywood scriptwriters, and tracking of Internet use of drug sites, are key parts of his advertising campaign to persuade youth about the dangers of drugs, and to reduce drug use in the United States. The retired Army general pleaded with Congress to give him two years more to show his anti-drug efforts can curb youthful drug use.Mica questioned the effectiveness of the program. He noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual drug survey shows teenage drug use increased over the last decade, with 26.7 percent of students reporting they had used marijuana in the previous year in a 1999 survey, almost double the 14.7 percent in 1991. Cocaine also increased over the same period.McCaffrey told reporters after the session he's planning to expand the use of financial incentives for TV networks and scriptwriters who broadcast anti-drug themes in sitcoms and dramas to include Hollywood's movies.Over the last two years, the drug office has paid scriptwriters and networks about $22 million for "programming content" - placing anti-drug messages in TV shows. Networks also received credits for airing anti-drug messages in their shows, allowing them to run commercial advertisements in place of government-sponsored anti-drug ads.McCaffrey said the program has been altered this year, and he will no longer review scripts in advance, or give payments for writers to insert anti-drug themes in scripts. Instead, payments will reward writers and producers who send the anti-drug message only after the movies or TV shows are released.McCaffrey said up-front payments might interfere in the "creative process" of making a film, but post-release rewards would not."I'm not going to inject a message in a film,'' he insisted.McCaffrey also said he wants to overturn a directive issued by White House chief of staff John Podesta last month, ordering the drug czar to turn off computer-tracking cookies that White House computers were dropping in the personal computers of visitors to anti-drug Internet sites operated by McCaffrey's office.Cookies are software programs used primarily by advertising firms to track users as they visit Internet sites. Scripps Howard News Service last month reported that cookies used by the White House drug office were connected to the New York advertising firm Doubleclick, which admits it is compiling databases on the Internet surfing habits of some 40 million Americans. When used with other database programs, cookies can be used to identify people by name. McCaffrey said the monitoring project has been "temporarily put on hold" and the sites have stopped using cookies. "This is a real concern," McCaffrey said, explaining he wants to turn them back on so he can monitor what kids are doing on the anti-drug sites."No personal information at all is collected," he said.While applauding McCaffrey for his zeal over reducing youthful drug abuse, lawmakers questioned his methods. "I'm always concerned about Big Brother looking over your shoulder," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., said entertainment producers should be voluntarily putting anti-drug messages in scripts, without government payments. "We are all uncomfortable that this is tied to money,'' he said. "This is something they ought to be doing on their own."Lance Gay is a reporter for Scripps Howard News Service.Washington, D.C. Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 Copyright  2000 Scripps Howard News Service Related Articles:How Cookie-Gate Crumbles Sam's Cookie is Watching You' Hands Caught in Cookie Jar House on Cookies: Doh!
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Comment #8 posted by fivepounder on July 12, 2000 at 07:42:30 PT
Thanks dddd.
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Comment #7 posted by Dan B on July 12, 2000 at 00:07:44 PT:
Not interfering? Yeah, and pigs hate mud.
"McCaffrey said up-front payments might interfere in the 'creative process' of making a film, but post-release rewards would not."The pile just keeps getting higher. Payment after the release of a movie will stifle the creative process even more than reviewing scripts before release. Think about this: A screenwriter knows the company that may buy his script is looking for a way to get its hands on some of that federal drug money. In accordance with this knowledge, he or she crafts a screenplay that speaks to the drug issue. But he or she is not sure how strong his or her message may need to be in order to get that drug money, so the screenwriter includes messages that are so obviously anti-drug that they cannot possibly be mistaken for anything other than anti-drug messages. The messages are made stronger, even more propagandistic, and even at that the drug czar gets to choose which movies get the money and which ones don't. You can bet that if a studio comes out with two movies, one anti-drug and one anti-drug war, the anti-drug movie will be "cancelled out" by the anti-drug war movie, and the studio will receive nothing. In this way, the drug czar will censor not just movies, but the entire movie industry without getting his hands dirty; he can claim that his efforts to reward anti-drug messages occur after the fact (as he has already clearly stated), thus they have no impact on movie content. What a crock!I cannot believe that writers are not being more vocal on this issue. What happens when he begins targeting books, magazines, and other printed material? And you can bet that TV and movies are preliminary steps toward a much more expansive censorship program. Such reward programs are generally followed by punishment programs, a la McCarthyism. I wonder how many creative people will need to be blacklisted before the industry blows the whistle this time?
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on July 11, 2000 at 22:59:18 PT
Right on! Fivepounder gets the best commentary award from me.....dddd
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Comment #5 posted by fivepounder on July 11, 2000 at 22:47:58 PT
oink, oink
I have no problem in stating what should happen to our czar. He should be fileted like a damn mackeral for what he has done to people who do no other harm than liking to smoke a little weed. He is the apex of pigness, your basic stone cold nazi, programmed to kill and doing it every day with his policies. Its less than a month since Peter McWilliams senseless death. This is not even going into his Columbian plan. Lets just hope we are finished with his pigness when Clinton goes. Are yopu listenig Barry, you f**king PIG!
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on July 11, 2000 at 18:49:34 PT
tax money
 Kap brings up the thing that I think is the biggest outrage,,and that is the;"Mr. and Ms.Taxpayer. " It's always boggled me to think that this czar,has been given massive quanities of money to experiment with. I dont know about you,but when I send uncle sam 25 or 30 percent of what I work my ass off for,and I think of it perhaps paying for the czars limo,or dinner and cocktails at an anti-drug meeting,,,,it makes me wanna freak out... I also find it surreal,that we somehow have a position for an un-elected government official,that we call "the czar". This government is like an out of control monster.....I could go on,,but I would not be able avoid numerous expletives,and profanities......dddd 
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on July 11, 2000 at 17:35:04 PT
Tax Dollars Hard At Work
They can't afford bad press, what a joke!
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on July 11, 2000 at 16:35:21 PT:
His fingers weren't burned enough.
Arrogance of those in power, like their policies, have a certain degree of inertia to them. Just look at the Old South; many of the LEO's down there hadn't understood that the days of Jim Crowe weren't over until Federal investigations and prison terms were handed out for what was once considered perfectly acceptable lynchings.It hasn't quite sunk in to Barry yet that he did wrong. And not just to his favorite targets, but to Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer. He honestly can't understand why he shouldn't be snooping in people's hard drives. Just like he doesn't see anything wrong in continuing to leverage air time for anti-drug messages. He just doesn't get it. Like the unrepetant Nazi's at Nuremburg who would stand and bald-facedly, (despite the literally tons of evidence to the contrary) declare their innocence, Barry and his bully boys just don't see anything wrong with what they are doing.They have murdered, they have ripped families apart, they have ruined careers... all quite acceptable behavior, to them. They have presided over the destruction of civil liberties our Vets had fought and died to preserve... without batting an eye.I submit that they need more than the slap on the wrist that they have received for their perfidy. Given the suffering they have caused over the last 8 years alone, I believe that something like Shylock's Pound of Flesh would be more appropriate.After all, if Darryl Gates can demand that I be shot for my choice of intoxicant, and William Bennett favor severing my head from my shoulders, then surely they can't object to a little (equally) unlicensed surgery of my own?Fair's fair, right? 
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Comment #1 posted by observer on July 11, 2000 at 16:01:10 PT
Anti-drug Propaganda Themes in Hollywood's Movies
McCaffrey told reporters after the session he's planning to expand the use of financial incentives for TV networks and scriptwriters who broadcast anti-drug themes in sitcoms and dramas to include Hollywood's movies.Just as Nazi cinema reinforced anti-Jewish stereotypes, American movies and television reinforce false stereotypes about drug-users. In Germany, gratuitous anti-Semitic scenes were routine even in movies where the plot had nothing to do with that topic. Likewise, President Nixon bragged about convincing Hollywood producers to insert anti-drug user messages in dramas: "Appoximately 20 television programs throughout the country are going on this fall dealing with the drug problem one way or another. and dealing with it not in the way of a straight-out sermon but in terms of that subtle, far more effective, method of approach where a story is told and the individual -- and usually the young individual -- watching the program becomes interested in the story and, therefore, they get the message."115  Nixon met with forty-eight television producers, including representatives from programs such as "Dragnet," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Storefront Lawyers," "I Spy," "Zig Zag," "Felony Squad," "Silent Force," "The Name of the Game," "The FBI," "Dan August," "Dial Hot Line," and "Room 222." Nixon also got anti-drug themes introduced into "The Young Lawyers," "Mod Squad," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," and "Mat Lincoln." "Dragnet" producer Jack Webb began working on a series dramatizing federal drug squads.116The practice of inserting anti-drug user messages into episodes of popular television programs continued into the 1990s, with even "Startrek: The Next Generation" including a scene where a bewildered adolescent asked how anyone could be crazy enough to use drugs. Drug users have long been a staple of police dramas. For years such programs have portrayed drug users as violent, irresponsible criminal deviants, in contrast to cool professional police officers, whose investigative techniques are inspired by devotion to civil liberties.(Richard L Miller, Drug Warriors and their Prey, 1996, pgs.22-23) see also: ONDCP media campaign 
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