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The other payola

Via Phelps, who doesn’t care about Armstrong Williams, comes some history of drug war payola:

Few Americans, however, know of a hidden government effort to shoehorn anti-drug messages into the most pervasive and powerful billboard of all — network television programming.

Two years ago, Congress inadvertently created an enormous financial incentive for TV programmers to push anti-drug messages in their plots — as much as $25 million in the past year and a half, with the promise of even more to come in the future. Under the sway of the office of President Clinton’s drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America’s most popular shows — including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “7th Heaven” — have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy.

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