DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 168 April 8, 2000 

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 168 April 8, 2000 
Posted by FoM on April 08, 2000 at 18:43:26 PT
ONDCP Attacks MAP And Journalist Dan Forbes 
Source: MapInc.
If you're unable to challenge the facts, attack your opponent. Barry McCaffrey's Office of National Drug Control Policy brought those words to life this week after assailing Daniel Forbes, the writer whose stories have helped to shed light on the ONDCP's practice of paying media outlets in return for submerging "anti-drug" messages in content.
The Boston Globe ran a story this week (below) that not only allowed ONDCP officials to say bad things about Forbes, but also to suggest that Forbes is somehow in cahoots with all of us who work with MAP. The article quotes a cog in the ONDCP propaganda machine who proudly demonstrates that his willful ignorance of drug policy extends out to the activities of MAP. The ONDCP's ability to understand irony also appears to be limited. The ONDCP attacks an individual for expressing alleged bias, while they have spent millions to make sure that their own bias is effectively expressed in media reports, sitcoms and magazines. Please write a letter to the Boston Globe to protest the fabrications and dirty tricks of the ONDCP. 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: Boston Globe (MA) Contact: letter ARTICLE:Newshawk: Richard Lake Pubdate: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 2000 Globe Newspaper Company. Section: The Media Page: D12 Contact: letter Address: P.O. Box 2378, Boston, MA 02107-2378 Feedback: Website: Author: Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff Bookmark: MAP's link to the ONDCP Media Campaign Mark Greer is quoted below. MAP's Sr. Editor makes a rare comment following this item. ONLINE JOURNALIST TANGLES WITH FEDS OVER ANTIDRUG AD POLICY There's a new battlefront in the White House war on drugs. Daniel Forbes. Forbes, 44, is the freelancer who recently authored two big stories for the online magazine Salon that revealed a controversial financial link between the media and the government's antidrug campaign. Now he's the focus of a heated dispute between the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) - which is asking Salon to disclose Forbes's ''bias'' against the drug war - and Salon, whose editor accuses the ONDCP of ''coming close to Nixonian behavior in trying to nail the messenger ... '' In January, Forbes reported that six TV networks earned millions by airing prime-time programs with antidrug themes deemed appropriate by the ONDCP. Media outlets taking ONDCP antidrug ads must provide additional space or time of equal value or other forms of public service, and those prime-time programs allowed the networks to reclaim some discounted ad time. Last week, Forbes named six magazines - US News & World Report, The Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen, Parade, and USA Weekend - that hoped to reap similar rewards by submitting content with antidrug messages to the ONDCP. This week, the antidrug office told the Globe that several other publications - including Family Life, Ladies' Home Journal, Hispanic magazine, and NEA Today - also submitted content that is currently being evaluated under the ONDCP program. The ONDCP says it's properly enlisting the media in the drug war. But Forbes's stories have ignited a debate about whether the media should be part of what he calls a ''government campaign to influence the control of popular culture.'' In a March 30 letter to Salon, ONDCP assistant director for strategic planning Robert Housman, said ''it is clear that Dan Forbes ... is more than just a disinterested reporter in search of a story. Mr. Forbes has been a regular contributor to the Media Awareness Project's Website, an organization that essentially advocates for the legalization of drugs.'' The MAP is part of the DrugSense organization whose ''primary objective is to get a national dialogue so we can start getting sensible alternatives ... to our failed policy,'' says DrugSense executive director Mark Greer. The MAP postings include a lengthy 1998 piece Forbes (using the pen name Daniel Hill) wrote for Brandweek magazine casting doubts on the research behind the government's antidrug ad campaign. Greer says the MAP will ''archive virtually any article we can find that is drug-policy-related,'' and that Forbes received no money from the organization. Greer says the MAP became aware of Forbes's work when he mentioned the Brandweek piece to one of the group's editors at a seminar. Forbes says ''I had no great interest in the drug issue'' until he began examining the antidrug ad campaign for Brandweek at an editor's request. ''There's been no editorializing in the Salon pieces,'' he adds. ''I am not an advocate for any policy situation or drug policy organization. They [the ONDCP] descend to ad hominem attacks on me, but they don't seem to want to discuss the substance of the articles.'' ''I'm not accusing him of anything,'' says Housman. ''I'm trying to make them [Salon] play honest journalism. I'm not asking the guy not to write .. I don't care what his view is. But I think the readers should know.'' When asked if Salon should disclose Forbes's views, editor David Talbot says, ''whatever biases Dan Forbes has about US drug policy ... I think the biases were not the driving factor in the stories he did for us ... What's really going on here is the White House is coming close to launching a preemptive strike on the reputation of a journalist.'' Meanwhile, even as magazine editors say they did not know that editorial content was being submitted to the ONDCP, the journalistic debate over that practice rages. NEA Today publisher Sam Pizzigatti says his publication submitted material on student health that referenced an antidrug Web site, noting that we ''do that anyway, regardless of advertising.'' Family Life editor in chief Peter Herbst says his magazine submitted a story that wasn't actually about drugs, but contained ''positive stuff about raising kids.'' ''In general, this kind of [content for credit] swap is a bad idea,'' Herbst says. ''It contaminates the process.'' But he adds that ''no editors have created material to satisfy this demand and no editors have ever been aware of this.'' Thanks to Forbes, they're aware now. The following is by Richard Lake, MAP's Sr. Editor: It comes as no surprise that ONDCP's Robert Housman would try to distort the relationship between Dan Forbes and MAP. We know that ONDCP follows the MAP effort to collect news and opinion about the War on Drugs worldwide and provide the results in an educational research archives. Apparently this makes some ONDCP folks unhappy as just last summer they had the Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey attack MAP in testimony to Congress for having links to sites that had links to sites that our Czar did not like - as if we were guilty of something. I guess they don't know that we are not responsible for the content of the sites of others, twice removed - no more than we are responsible for the content of the writings of any author who's work may be found in our archives. Unlike our ONDCP, MAP has never paid anyone for what they wrote. Yes, Dan Forbes did ask me to add the Brandweek article Drug Money to our archives at a seminar. At the time I doubt he even knew about the MAP efforts other than that we gathered drug policy related items and placed them on the web. I took a copy, OCRed it, and added it to the archives. This is not unusual at all. Editors, reporters and authors frequently send their published writings from their newspapers and magazines to editor - just as they use our archives for research for their writing. However, of the six articles in our archives by Dan Forbes, only that one was provided by him. Our NewsHawks found the others. Mr. Forbes is hardly a "regular contributor." Maybe ONDCP thinks this is somehow unfair? We note that there are over two dozen items by the Czar himself in our archives. We have no idea if any were newshawked by someone from ONDCP to us - but they are welcome to contribute. We promise not to ask for any of the ONDCP payola funds in exchange! It is interesting that ONDCP's Robert Housman would say Dan Forbes, or Michael Massing, or anyone is biased. Their ad hominem attacks don't represent a bias? Well, I guess it would be too much to ask our taxpayer supported point team for 'approved' drug war media content to adopt MAP's motto of "Moving the Discourse on Drugs from Hysteria to Sanity and Humanity." NOTE: to see a list of items cataloged in the MAP archive authored by both Forbes and drug czar Barry McCaffrey see URL: LETTER Dear Editor: In general I applaud Mark Jurkowitz for accurate reporting (Online Journalist Tangles With Feds Over Antidrug Ad Policy BG 4/7.) The items I would take issue with in his article are the predictably inaccurate statements by ONDCP spokesman Robert Housman who referred to the Media Awareness Project (MAP) as "an organization that essentially advocates for the legalization of drugs.'' I will endorse or oppose "legalization" if Housman will define it. If he means crack vending machines in the junior high schools I am adamantly opposed. If he means sensible alternatives to the boondoggle of a policy we currently endure I am likely a proponent. MAP and DrugSense comprise a non profit organization that provides more in the way of accuracy and fact on drug policy than ONDCP could ever hope to compete with. ONDCP director Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey has been documented in advancing more fabrications, distortions and half truths on drug policy matters than perhaps all prior drug czars combined. Many of these inaccuracies have been documented in the MAP news archive ( and in the collection of ads entitled "Is truth a casually of the drug war" run by Common Sense for Drug Policy These ads have appeared in major publications nationwide and can be accessed off the DrugSense web page They document the ONDCP and McCaffrey as at least being horribly misinformed. Housman also claims that journalist Dan Forbes "has been a regular contributor to the Media Awareness Project's Website." Yet another fallacy. Forbes has made MAP aware of but one single article that he authored in Brand Week entitled "Drug Money" and our archive contains a total of six articles by Forbes out of 35,000 total articles. The MAP archive also contains no less than 25 articles by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey not to mention hundreds of articles in which McCaffrey is quoted. ONDCP employees access the MAP archive on a daily basis and we have received letters of appreciation from a number of them for the accurate research service it provides. It sounds to me as if the ones with less than journalistic integrity might be our "leaders" at ONDCP who steadfastly refuse to admit that existing drug policy is a monumentally expensive and unassailably failed policy.Mark GreerExecutive DirectorDrugSense (MAP Inc.)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 YoungFocus Alert Specialist DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 167 April 5, 2000 FOCUS Alert # 166 March 23, 2000 Articles:Journalist Tangles With Feds Over Antidrug Deal MapInc. Archives: Articles On The ONDCP: Articles from Salon Magazine: Articles Written By Daniel Forbes: Articles On Barry McCaffrey
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