A Shady Deal

A Shady Deal
Posted by FoM on June 01, 2000 at 09:08:23 PT
By Scott Davison, Times Record News 
Source: Times Record News 
Network programs spread drug war propaganda for your tax dollars. Regular readers of this column are fully aware of where I stand on the issue of drug abuse: I'm emphatically opposed to it. Almost as emphatically as I oppose the U.S. government's self-proclaimed war on drugs. I think that this so-called war ought to be called what it really is: "Failed Prohibition Experiment, Part 2." 
The utter disaster that was alcohol prohibition failed to stop the declaration of "war" on drugs a few decades later. For politicians, the attractiveness of this new war was undeniable. It would require huge new agencies demanding the appointment of highly-ranked supervisors. These agencies would need gigantic new budgets and more political face time on television to soberly state the importance of every new offensive. Opponents, if any, could be easily disposed of as being "soft on drugs," a phrase implying a pastime of passing out joints in kindergarten class.  Before long, the military was called in (after all, it was a "war," wasn't it?), in spite of the fact that United States law rightfully forbids the use of our military against our civilians. A U.S. Marine on anti-drug patrol promptly shot and killed an innocent teen-ager near the border with Mexico, resulting in an official explanation that could be summarized as follows: "Oops. Stuff happens." Most of you accepted this explanation without objecting to your legislators.  A complete list of abuses imposed on formerly freedom-loving Americans would fill a library. Confiscation of private property without due process, even without a trial, has been deemed acceptable. Millions of dollars of cash has been forcibly taken from unwilling Americans without even charges of criminal conduct. Mistaken Gestapo-style raids on innocent citizens are dismissed as a small price to pay for the ever-elusive victory.  But the latest Fuehrer of the War on Drugs - Gen. Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army, Ret. - has escalated the conflict to a new high (or low) point. He has spent as much as $22 million of your money paying Hollywood script writers to create messages that endorse the drug war. Scripts have been changed, in exchange for taxpayer cash, on shows like "ER," "Chicago Hope," "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Drew Carey."  The online magazine Salon discovered this tactic after a lengthy investigation. Faced with reporters' questions, McCaffrey admitted the whole scheme, and his boss Bill Clinton endorsed it as "a good thing." Prior to the public exposure, no reference to this program was ever made by McCaffrey's office.  This whole thing began a couple years ago when Congress allocated $1 billion for McCaffrey's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to buy public service announcements as long as the time could be had at half price. Most of the networks agreed to accept the easy cash, but as advertising prices rose, the decision to feed at the government trough began to hurt.  That's when the good ol' boys at ONDCP offered a deal: They would swap their bargain advertising time for a chance to "consult" on scripts for popular shows. The deal was an instant success. The networks got to keep the taxpayer's coin and sell the advertising time they had originally let go at half price. The light bulb indicating low levels of integrity had obviously been removed from the dashboards at ONDCP and the networks, not to mention the White House.  This whole fiasco is, to me, one of the most frightening turns the war on drugs has yet taken. It smacks menacingly of undisclosed attempts at subliminal influence designed to elicit support for a particular viewpoint of government officials. What's next? Taxpayer funded scripts depicting opponents of abortion as mindless fascists? Or maybe the taxpayers should ensure a profit to scriptwriters who endorse an incumbent candidate for office.  Their own reluctance to disclose this relationship shows that the ONDCP knew this to be unethical conduct all along. Perhaps the growing groundswell of opposition to the drug war mentality pushed them to this extreme. If so, we ought to keep an even closer watch on Field Marshall McCaffrey and his peons. Desperate proponents of a dying philosophy may become even more extreme, and one should not underestimate the influence of the Drug War Army of Drones.  The budget of the ONDCP this year is $17.9 billion. Put another way, it's $567.22 every second - 24 hours per day. That means that in the five minutes or so you dedicated to reading this column, his highness McCaffrey spent more than $170,000 of your money. That's real power. That kind of power needs to be closely monitored.  Scott Davison's column appears in this space on Mondays. Davison, a Burkburnett resident and columnist for the Times Record News, can be reached at: BUFFIP  Published: June 1, 2000 The E.W. Scripps Co. Related Articles:Related Articles:Washington Script Doctors Money, How the White House Secretly Hooked TV CannabisNews Archives On Barry McCaffrey:
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by Kanabys on June 02, 2000 at 07:51:38 PT
Now this is what's needed
This is the type of article that needs to be printed in ALL of the major media!! Maybe most of the "well the govt said it so it must be true" folks out there might just come to some degree of consciousness and make the 'authorities' do something GOOD for a change for I do still believe that the power IS in the hands of the people, but most people don't know that it is! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by STAN DUP on June 01, 2000 at 11:17:05 PT
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: