DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 167 April 5, 2000 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 167 April 5, 2000 
Posted by FoM on April 05, 2000 at 12:42:57 PT
Magazines Paid To Spout Drug War Propaganda 
Source: MapInc.
A few months ago, published a story explaining how television networks were getting paid federal money to insert government approved anti-drug messages in their programming. The networks got the money as part of the billion-dollar propaganda campaign organized by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. 
Many were rightly shocked by this arrangement, but some argued that it revolved around entertainment programming on television, where people don't necessarily expect to find objective or accurate information. Daniel Forbes, who wrote the original story for Salon, is back with another story about how supposedly objective and serious magazines also got paid if the ONDCP/PDFA liked the slant of their stories.The entire story of "The Drug War Gravy Train" by Forbes can be read at: is a short Associated Press report on the subject. Forbes identifies the following magazines as those that took money for publishing propaganda approved by the ONDCP: US News & World Report, The Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen, Parade and USA Weekend. While the editors at the magazines deny that the payoffs impacted the stories published in the magazines, evidence collected by Forbes suggests otherwise. "Take the case of two magazines: Family Circle and Woman's Day, the latter published by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines Inc. To the average reader, these books probably appear about as different as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But appearances can be deceptive. According to Hall's Magazine Reports Inc., an industry research group, Family Circle ran a hefty eight-and-a-half pages of anti-drug editorial matter in 1999. Woman's Day, on the other hand, ran none, states Hall's research director, Sandy Santora. Family Circle was the recipient of a $1.4 million drug-office ad buy, second only to Parade. The Woman's Day buy? Zero." Please write letters to some or all of the magazines that took the payments expressing disappointment at their willingness to place ad revenues and drug war orthodoxy over independence and objectivity. Thanks for your effort and support. WRITE A LETTER TODAY: It's not what others do it's what YOU do!PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID: (Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list (sentlet if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit. This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness.CONTACT INFO: Source: U.S. News and World Reports Contact: letters Source: Parade Magazine Contact: Source: USA Weekend Contact: Source: Seventeen Contact: ask17 Source: Family Circle Contact: fcfeedback Source: The Sporting News Contact: editors ARTICLE: Pubdate: Sun, 02 Apr 2000 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times Contact: letters Address: Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053 Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: Forum: Author: From Associated Press 6 MAGAZINES GIVEN ANTI-DRUG DISCOUNTS: The White House drug policy office offered financial incentives to at least six magazines that ran stories discouraging drug use, an arrangement similar to one with television networks. The drug office and the publications say there were never any attempts to influence the content of articles. Under the deal with the networks, which drew public attention earlier this year, programs that carried anti-drug messages could be exempted from requirements to run anti-drug ads. Stephen G. Smith, editor of U.S. News & World Report, one of the six named in a report by the online magazine Salon, told Associated Press that people on the editorial side were "utterly ignorant of any kind of arrangement or even the hint of any kind of arrangement." He noted that an article in the January issue of the magazine questioned the propriety of television networks including anti-drug themes in entertainment shows in exchange for public service announcements. Salon reported that the Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen, Parade and USA Weekend also made use of the arrangement that gave them financial credits worth thousands of dollars in ad space they owed the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "We have been open about this from the beginning," Bob Weiner, spokesman for White House drug policy director Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, said in an interview. He said there was "no attempt and no action that dictates any content control whatsoever." The magazines' editorial sides were unaware of, and played no role in, negotiations between the office's ad agency that bought ad space and their sales departments, he said. Congress in 1997 approved a $1-billion program to buy anti-drug ads in the national media. The agreements with the networks and magazines reduce their public service obligations when they carry anti-drug messages in their shows or articles. U.S. News Publisher Bill Holiber said in an interview that dealings with the drug office occurred before he started his job in January. He said the magazine no longer gets ads from the office because it is against the magazine's policy to link editorial content to financial incentives. Holiber said U.S. News never submitted articles for review, but the ad agency representing the drug office looked at articles on its own to see if they met the criteria for exemptions. He said articles in the publication never qualified. Revelations that the drug office reviewed such television shows as "ER" and "The Practice" raised concerns of government interference in editorial independence. In January, the White House announced new guidelines making clear that it would not review program episodes for ad credits until after they have been aired. SAMPLE LETTER: To the editor: I was surprised and disappointed to read at that your publication accepted money from the Office of National Drug Control Policy in return for approval of stories with an "anti-drug" slant. Some may argue that it is appropriate to join forces with government agencies that claim to fight illegal drugs since the illegal drug market is related to may societal ills. However, an honest appraisal of the situation shows that the drug war that has been continually waged for decades causes much more harm than good. Scare stories and calls to "get tough" on drugs may seem effective to those who don't look past the surface, but attempts to use coercion to stop drugs only leads to bad results. Throughout the 1990s the U.S. has used more resources and jailed more people in the name of the drug war only to see rates of drug use increase along with levels of drug potency. By taking the money and sticking to the party line your publication is shamelessly supporting these terrible results. Stephen Young IMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone number: Please note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts: 3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide:  TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE: TO UNSUBSCRIBE SEE Prepared by Stephen Young Focus Alert Specialist Are You Writing At Least One letter Per Week? MapInc. Archives: FOCUS Alert # 166 March 23, 2000 FOCUS Alert # 165 Saturday March 18, 2000 FOCUS Alert # 164 Sunday March 12, 2000 Related Articles:US Office Encourages Anti-Drug Message in Magazine Drug War Gravy Train By Daniel Forbes, Drugs & Civil Liberties - Ministers of Truth House Defends TV Drug-Ad Deal, 90210 Script Doctors Money, How the White House Secretly Hooked TV Articles From MapInc. & Drug Sense: Salon Magazine Related Articles:
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