News videos produced by the Bush Administration’s Office of National
Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) violated certain federal laws, said the Government
Accountability Office (GAO) on January 6. The videos highlighted the damaging
effects of drug use by youth and were broadcast by almost 300 television stations
reaching an estimated 22 million households, said the GAO, an investigational
arm of Congress.
While the ONDCP is authorized by the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of
1998 to engage in “news media outreach,” the office is also required
to comply with certain laws that prohibit publicity or propaganda not authorized
by Congress, the GAO said. The GAO did not criticize the content of the stories
but said the videos “constitute covert propaganda” because the
drug control policy office failed to disclose to the television viewing audience
its role in the production and distribution of these news stories.
Mitka M. Drug Abuse “Propaganda”. JAMA. 2005;293(6):668. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.668-c