FCC Slaps Anti-Drug TV Shows 

  FCC Slaps Anti-Drug TV Shows 

Posted by FoM on December 27, 2000 at 07:15:18 PT
By Christopher Stern, WP Staff Writer 
Source: Washington Post  

Federal regulators have ruled that the major networks should have identified the White House as a sponsor of programs such as "The Practice," "The Drew Carey Show" and "America's Most Wanted" when their plots included anti-drug messages for which the government paid the networks millions of dollars.
The Federal Communications Commission stopped short of fining any of the networks for violating its rules but ordered them to begin identifying the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as a sponsor of shows that include anti-drug messages underwritten by the federal government.When the White House's involvement in the network shows was first widely revealed almost a year ago, it was criticized by members of Congress and First Amendment advocates who argued that the White House should not be involved in sensitive programming decisions such as approving scripts. Network officials said at congressional hearings this year that they showed the White House completed scripts and never altered a plot to increase their compensation.During the past two years, networks including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox received a total of $25 million for including anti-drug messages in prime-time programming. It was revealed at congressional hearings that the White House reviewed scripts for more than 100 shows to determine if the anti-drug message of a particular program was strong enough to merit payment.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) filed a complaint with the FCC claiming that the networks' failure to identify the White House as a sponsor of the anti-drug shows violated FCC disclosure rules. In its ruling, the FCC noted that the sponsorship regulations have had the same purpose since they were first formulated in 1927 -- which is that listeners and viewers "are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded."R. Keith Stroup, executive director of NORML, said yesterday that he was pleased that the FCC ruled that the networks should have identified the White House as a sponsor of the anti-drug episodes. But the FCC's ruling did not address the larger issue of whether the government should support a specific viewpoint in prime-time entertainment shows. That kind of arrangement threatens the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, Stroup said."We have been told by these programmers that they have influenced the programs in order to please the government. That is not the kind of free press we have grown accustomed to," Stroup said.The networks had no comment on the FCC action yesterday. The FCC released the order late Friday, and most network officials were either away for the holiday or were still unaware yesterday that the agency had ruled. The relationship between the White House's anti-drug office and the networks dates to 1997, when Congress appropriated $1 billion to spend on anti-drug advertising over five years. The networks have benefited from most of the ad spending, but newspapers and magazines also have been paid to carry ads. The federal advertising came with a major string attached. Any network that accepted the money had to match it dollar for dollar with its own anti-drug public service announcements. Congress saw the requirement as an effective way of doubling the campaign's reach.The networks initially accepted the conditions. But as the economy picked up and advertising time grew more valuable, the networks sought to reduce their requirement to air public service announcements. They wanted to sell the ad time to dot-com companies and others who were willing to pay top dollar for access to the networks' audience. The White House agreed to allow the networks to submit shows with anti-drug messages instead of the public service announcements. Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Christopher Stern, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Wednesday, December 27, 2000; Page E01 Address: 1150 15th Street NorthwestWashington, DC 20071Copyright: 2000 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:NORML May Be Overbilled in Drug Campaign Czar Attacked on Media Campaign for Dollars 

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Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 28, 2000 at 16:20:20 PT
70's Show
We watch the 70's Show and how do they get away with the smoke in the background and no cigarettes when they are talking to each other in the basement? I hope they don't pay them money to change the way they do their show. I think it is hysterical!
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on December 28, 2000 at 15:45:41 PT:
Editing history
For all those who think what the networks have done is anything recent, I have a news flash: it's been going on for a lot longer than you think.For example: It's been many years since the old 1960's TV series "The Addams Family" has been on the tube. I am old enough to remember when it was first on (yes, children, I am an old fart; I've earned my scars and wrinkles, and wear them proudly).In several of the episodes, the two main characters played by John Astin and Carolynn Jones, were seen smoking a big Turkish hookah. In one episode where this happens, Astin's character disgustedly throws down the hookah hose and irritably complains that 'nothing seems to calm my nerves' after having witnessed something severely aggravating to them.He then gets up to light a cigar.You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that what they were smoking in the hookah probably wasn't tobacco. Else, why the cigar?But in later re-runs of the syndicated show, these scenes are edited out. This none-too-subtle redacting began back in the early 1980's and these episodes are rarely ever shown in their entirety, which causes no end of frustration as it severely affects what little plot the shows had.This is not the only example. How many times have you seen a movie in the theater, watched the same movie months or years later on TV, and *knew* that the illicit drug usage - especially any *positive* portrayals, like the party scene in "Revenge of the Nerds" - you witnessed in the theater has been censored out for the tube?This willingness to edit TV and movie shows to reflect their twisted ideas of what reality 'should be' is only a small insight to the anti mindset; the bigger picture is much grimmer. They are wiling to try to edit history itself; this is another aspect of the anti psyche that bears some careful watching. It is indicative of minds unwilling to face unvarnished facts, preferring instead to try to 'massage' reality into something more palatable to them. Which does an enormous disservice to those who seek the truth in any endeavor. It's so typical of the antis.
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Comment #7 posted by freedom fighter on December 28, 2000 at 00:01:12 PT
Hey niftysplifty, sure do love those
bart simpsons shows! If one should see the failures of the War on Drugs just watch the program.. No wonder why kids know so much.. eheh!
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Comment #6 posted by NiftySplifty on December 27, 2000 at 19:10:14 PT
Even The Simpsons took a hit...
The episode where Bart tries to get Santa's Little Helper back from the blind man was great. Except when the super dog comes in with the cops, and knocks out the blind man's bag o'weed, Chief Wiggam says, "No, he doesn't like you, he just smelled your NARCOTICS." The blind guy says, "Uh, it's medicinal. Without it, I could go...even blinder." One cop says, "He has a point, Chief." Then, the Chief told Bart that it was "going to take a while". Then when he's gone, you hear "Jamming" start, and Wiggam starts singing as another cop pulls up with a date. "Hey, Chief...what's up?" Except for the "narcotic" tag for cannabis, I'd give it a thumbs-up.
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on December 27, 2000 at 11:17:55 PT

better than nuthin'
 This news is quite welcome,even though the FCC is several years late in doing its job.They've been too busy giving away the publicly owned airways,and approving monopolistic corporate mergers. I can hardly wait to see the fraction of a second,illegibly fine print message that will be displayed in the credits of these shows.Observers' observations concerning the delicate nature of the wording,are most excellent.I especially like the official definitions of 'propaganda',and'prohibition'. You can bet that the ondcp,and its gang are scrambling to further adjust things in their favor.It would not look good,if the viewing public became aware of their scandalous campaign."Few citizens see anything amiss with government attempting to propagandize people: demonizing scapegoats, and cajoling people into giving up yet ever more traditional freedoms." I think this is mainly because few citizens are aware of what's really going on...............dddd
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Comment #4 posted by Dan B on December 27, 2000 at 11:05:12 PT:

A Small Victory for Truth
Well, it stops short of fining the ONDCP or halting this campaign altogether, which would have been very important. Then again, the first time I see that a program has been sponsored by the ONDCP, I'm changing the channel. I hope most of us would. And that kind of "jumping ship" may well be enough to put a halt to this programming. In other words, the FCC has given us some leverage with the major networks. Even a few phone calls ranting against government-sponsored TV will get the networks to think twice before pulling this stunt again. I can't wait for the major network premiere of "Traffic."Dan B
Drug War Trivia Part II
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Comment #3 posted by observer on December 27, 2000 at 09:39:39 PT

Propaganda Campaign
Notice a couple of things here. First of all, notice how carefully the "mainstream media" avoids the use of the term "propaganda", as in the phrase "propaganda campaign". The implications of a supposedly "free" nation insidiously propagandizing its own people like this is too much for them to acknowledge. They just can't use the "P" (propaganda) word in this context.Here's a governmental definition of "propaganda".The term 'political propaganda' includes any oral, visual, graphic, written, pictorial, or other communication or expression by any person (1) which is reasonably adapted to, or which the person disseminating the same believes will, or which he intends to, prevail upon, indoctrinate, convert, induce, or in any other way influence a recipient or any section of the public etc. Federal regulators have ruled that the major networks should have identified the White House as a sponsor of programs . . . when their plots included anti-drug messages for which the government paid the networks millions of dollars. . . . The Federal Communications Commission stopped short of fining any of the networks for violating its rules . . . They're far too kind. (One hand washes the other.) The ONDCP looks to be in violation of USC Title 47, Section 398, for example. Organizations like DARE, would also appear to be in violation of this law. (a) Prohibition Nothing contained in this part shall be deemed (1) to amend any other provision of, or requirement under, this chapter; or (2) except to the extent authorized in subsection (b) of this section, to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over public telecommunications, or over the Corporation or any of its grantees or contractors, or over the charter or bylaws of the Corporation, or over the curriculum, program of instruction, or personnel of any educational institution, school system, or public telecommunications entity. US Code Title 47, Sec. 398. Federal interference or control the propaganda as ONDCP-sponsored will help. How sad it is that the US government -- ostensibly the servant of the people -- has now become a cruel master. Few citizens see anything amiss with government attempting to propagandize people: demonizing scapegoats, and cajoling people into giving up yet ever more traditional freedoms.
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Comment #2 posted by ras james rsifwh on December 27, 2000 at 07:54:19 PT

"marijauna in the new millennium"
last night on black entertainment television (B.E.T.), talk show host, tavis smiley, conducted an interview with rapper jayo felony and an L.A. narcotics detective. the young black male rapper was truly a profile in courage. he boldly and truthfully stated that "chronic" (aka marijuana) is the only good drug. it helps you to be creative and interactive on a positive level with friends. jayo stated he had smoked in the morning; and then when tavis smiley joked, "you did not save any for us." the young rapper with the LAPD sitting right next to him said, 'oh, i have some with me. i'm going to smoke after the interview.'jayo said if he is stopped by the police when he is driving that he tells them he has marijuana in the car. the rapper tells the officers that he needs it for creative inspiration to help him get out of the situation of the ghetto.    mr. felony tells the police that he is heading to meet friends to create new lyrics. he said alcohol kills people and crack is wrong; and that everyone in the hip/hop nation knows these facts to be true..."chronic is a good drug." as he told tavis and the world, "keep it real" hat is off to the hip/hop nation for truth and bravery...a lot better than the cowards running our nation who take money from the deadly tobacco/alcohol drug cartels and lie about cannabis sativa, the TREE OF LIFE.GIVE ALL PRAISE AND THANKS TO JAH RASTAFARI FOR I-TERNAL REDEMPTION; FOR ONLY THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE ALMIGHTY'S SON, LORD JESUS, COULD THE CORRUPT AMERICAN POLITICIANS RUNNING THIS EVIL/HYPOCRITICAL DRUG WAR BE SAVED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION...JAH RASTAFARI WHO LIVETH AND REIGNITH IN I AND I.
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Comment #1 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on December 27, 2000 at 07:37:31 PT

Not Drew!?!
  Does anyone have a list of which specific episodes of which TV shows they "approved"? I can't believe Drew Carey is on the list! I wish they could poll their audience and find out what percentage of people are stoned while watching their show. Drew Carey would score big points!  And I must say, ONDCP or not, I always find perverse amusement in the "drug" episodes. Remember the episode of Different Strokes where Willis buys a baggie? Sure, Mr. Drummond yelled at him a lot when he caught him, but he didn't send him to jail... and all Arnold could comment was "that little bag cost how much!?! Whatchootalkinbout Willis?"  Or howzabout that Dragnet episode that begins with the police coffeepot spiked with LSD, and everybody's got the most bizarre makeup and clothing and lighting because the entire squad was dosed - everything changed but their internal attitude, of course, they seemed to be business as usual, and once the drug wore off they had to go into the "seamy underbelly" of the dope world to bust "criminals"...  Or the Laverne and Shirley where they go to a pot party and Lenny and Squiggy act real spacey...  Sooner or later, I almost expect to see Columbia House put out a monthly video series. "Every month, a new television show tackles the influence of mind-altering chemicals!" I'd be tempted, as long as the profits don't go to Barry & buddies.
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