Magazines Paid To Spout Drug War Propaganda

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000
Subject: Magazines Paid To Spout Drug War Propaganda

DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 167 April 5, 2000

Magazines Paid To Spout Drug War Propaganda


DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 167 April 5, 2000

A few months ago, published a story explaining how
television networks were getting paid federal money to insert
government approved anti-drug messages in their programming. The
networks got the money as part of the billion-dollar propaganda
campaign organized by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and
the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Many were rightly shocked by this arrangement, but some argued that it
revolved around entertainment programming on television, where people
don’t necessarily expect to find objective or accurate information.
Daniel Forbes, who wrote the original story for Salon, is back with
another story about how supposedly objective and serious magazines
also got paid if the ONDCP/PDFA liked the slant of their stories (The
entire story of “The Drug War Gravy Train” by Forbes can be read at, below is a short
Associated Press report on the subject.)

Forbes identifies the following magazines as those that took money for
publishing propaganda approved by the ONDCP: US News & World Report,
The Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen, Parade and USA Weekend.
While the editors at the magazines deny that the payoffs impacted the
stories published in the magazines, evidence collected by Forbes
suggests otherwise.

“Take the case of two magazines: Family Circle and Woman’s Day, the
latter published by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines Inc. To the average
reader, these books probably appear about as different as Tweedledum
and Tweedledee. But appearances can be deceptive. According to
Hall’s Magazine Reports Inc., an industry research group, Family
Circle ran a hefty eight-and-a-half pages of anti-drug editorial
matter in 1999. Woman’s Day, on the other hand, ran none, states
Hall’s research director, Sandy Santora. Family Circle was the
recipient of a $1.4 million drug-office ad buy, second only to Parade.
The Woman’s Day buy? Zero.”

Please write letters to some or all of the magazines that took the
payments expressing disappointment at their willingness to place ad
revenues and drug war orthodoxy over independence and

Thanks for your effort and support.


It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Phone, fax etc.)

Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list ( if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to 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.



Source: U.S. News and World Reports

Source: Parade Magazine

Source: USA Weekend

Source: Seventeen

Source: Family Circle

Source: The Sporting News



Pubdate: Sun, 02 Apr 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Address: Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Author: From Associated Press


WASHINGTON–The White House drug policy office offered financial
incentives to at least six magazines that ran stories discouraging
drug use, an arrangement similar to one with television networks.

The drug office and the publications say there were never any attempts
to influence the content of articles. Under the deal with the
networks, which drew public attention earlier this year, programs that
carried anti-drug messages could be exempted from requirements to run
anti-drug ads.

Stephen G. Smith, editor of U.S. News & World Report, one of the six
named in a report by the online magazine Salon, told Associated Press
that people on the editorial side were “utterly ignorant of any kind
of arrangement or even the hint of any kind of arrangement.”

He noted that an article in the January issue of the magazine
questioned the propriety of television networks including anti-drug
themes in entertainment shows in exchange for public service

Salon reported that the Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen,
Parade and USA Weekend also made use of the arrangement that gave them
financial credits worth thousands of dollars in ad space they owed the
Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“We have been open about this from the beginning,” Bob Weiner,
spokesman for White House drug policy director Gen. Barry R.
McCaffrey, said in an interview.

He said there was “no attempt and no action that dictates any content
control whatsoever.” The magazines’ editorial sides were unaware of,
and played no role in, negotiations between the office’s ad agency
that bought ad space and their sales departments, he said.

Congress in 1997 approved a $1-billion program to buy anti-drug ads in
the national media.

The agreements with the networks and magazines reduce their public
service obligations when they carry anti-drug messages in their shows
or articles.

U.S. News Publisher Bill Holiber said in an interview that dealings
with the drug office occurred before he started his job in January.
He said the magazine no longer gets ads from the office because it is
against the magazine’s policy to link editorial content to financial

Holiber said U.S. News never submitted articles for review, but the
ad agency representing the drug office looked at articles on its own
to see if they met the criteria for exemptions. He said articles in
the publication never qualified.

Revelations that the drug office reviewed such television shows as
“ER” and “The Practice” raised concerns of government interference in
editorial independence. In January, the White House announced new
guidelines making clear that it would not review program episodes for
ad credits until after they have been aired.



To the editor:

I was surprised and disappointed to read at that your
publication accepted money from the Office of National Drug Control
Policy in return for approval of stories with an “anti-drug” slant.

Some may argue that it is appropriate to join forces with government
agencies that claim to fight illegal drugs since the illegal drug
market is related to may societal ills. However, an honest appraisal
of the situation shows that the drug war that has been continually
waged for decades causes much more harm than good. Scare stories and
calls to “get tough” on drugs may seem effective to those who don’t
look past the surface, but attempts to use coercion to stop drugs only
leads to bad results. Throughout the 1990s the U.S. has used more
resources and jailed more people in the name of the drug war only to
see rates of drug use increase along with levels of drug potency. By
taking the money and sticking to the party line your publication is
shamelessly supporting these terrible results.

Stephen Young

IMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone

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

3 Tips for Letter Writers

Letter Writers Style Guide





Prepared by Stephen Young – Focus
Alert Specialist