Document:California Press Release 20 January 2000 White House Congress TV Networks All At Fault Over Drug-Ad Deal

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: January 20, 2000
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

White House, Congress, TV networks all at fault over drug-ad deal, Libertarians say

LOS ANGELES -- The Clinton administration, Congress, and the networks are all to blame for the recent controversy over the insertion of anti-drug messages into TV programs, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

"This story is more insidious than anything on 'The X-Files' and demonstrates without a doubt that public-private partnerships are dangerous," stated Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "Our failed War on Drugs now has another casualty: the 98% of Americans who watch network television and were subject to hidden government propaganda."

Last week, the Internet magazine broke the story that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy had been offering networks a financial incentive to insert anti-drug messages into television shows, and even reviewed scripts prior to airing and suggested changes without the knowledge of show producers and writers.

On Tuesday "drug czar" Barry McCaffrey announced, amid a firestorm of criticism, that the ONDCP would no longer be reviewing scripts or tapes of shows prior to broadcast.

"Mr. McCaffrey's policy reversal is not enough: his office should not be reviewing anything at all," Hinkle said. "This entire program is a travesty meant to further a drug policy that is destroying our cherished liberties."

According to, in 1997 Congress approved a five-year, $1 billion buy for anti-drug advertisement on the condition that the networks sell the ad time to the government at half-price. "Our Republican Congress is using its fanatical obsession with drugs as an excuse to shred the Constitution," Hinkle pointed out.

But according to Libertarians, the TV networks are just as much at fault here. Unhappy with this law, networks accepted the ONDCP compromise of receiving "credits" for the ad time in return for inserting anti- drug messages into programs such as "ER" and "The Drew Carey Show."

"The networks signed a deal with the devil," Hinkle accused. "When faced with losing ad money or kowtowing to the government, they caved in.

"Given Hollywood's love affair with the Clinton administration, this experience should give TV executives pause," Hinkle concluded. "The government should never be given any sort of control over the media -- and voters should be wary of politicians who will do anything to support the War on Drugs."