Feds in the TV Studio

Feds in the TV Studio
Posted by FoM on January 23, 2000 at 17:38:41 PT
By Tom O'Connel
Source: San Francisco Examiner
While I agree far more with the lead editorial "Gen. McCaffrey on prime time," Jan. 16 than with the same edition's article by TV critic Tim Goodman "TV scandal du jour just Hollywood selling out", both pieces underestimate the seriousness of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's secret intrusion into the content of network television. The White House, under fire, has since stopped scrutinizing TV scripts before airing.
At least the editorial expresses some concern for the First Amendment. Goodman dismisses those concerns with the airy remark, "Television does not have a soul." For Goodman's information, this isn't Pottery Barn slipping the network some payola for favorable mention of a table; it's the U.S. Government using tax dollars to subvert the First Amendment and bolster a floundering program which is also asking for over $1 billion to expand our drug war in Colombia. One of the reasons drug prohibition became so ascendant as U.S. policy was the almost reflex response by all media to report only the opinions of government and law enforcement sources. It was only recently that critics of drug policy were even acknowledged to exist. The result has been a grotesque expansion of our prisons, thriving criminal markets and wholesale erosion of personal freedoms. Just because a policy appears to be solidly supported by politicians and bureaucrats doesn't mean that it is either wise or effective. One has only to remember that slavery enjoyed the same status until the eve of the Civil War, and segregation wasn't seriously questioned until after World War II. Newspapers would also do well to remember that they - along with TV networks - are part of the media. They should not be too eager to dismiss this event as trivial. Tom O'Connell Published: January 23, 2000 2000 San Francisco ExaminerRelated Articles:TV Too Easily Acquiescing to Government Intrusion-1/23/2000, TV and Propaganda - 1/15/2000
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