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This just in: Youth can identify propaganda

USA Today:

A $1.4 billion anti-drug advertising campaign conducted by the U.S. government since 1998 does not appear to have helped reduce drug use and instead might have convinced some youths that taking illegal drugs is normal, the Government Accountability Office says.

The GAO report, released Friday, urges Congress to stop the White House’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign unless drug czar John Walters can come up with a better strategy. President Bush’s budget for 2007 asks Congress for $120 million for the campaign, a $20 million increase from this year.

What was the response:

Walters’ office disputed the study and noted that drug-use rates among youths have declined since 1998. A 2005 survey by the University of Michigan indicated that 30% of 10th-graders reported having used an illicit drug the previous year, down from 35% in 1998.

The GAO report is “irrelevant to us,” says Tom Riley, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). “It’s based on ads from 2½ years ago, and they were effective, too. Drug use has been going down dramatically. Cutting the program now would imperil (its) progress.”

Got that, folks? A government mandated measure of efficiency is irrelevant to them. Criticism and concern about how your dollars are wasted are irrelevant.

Via commentator D.

4 Responses to “This just in: Youth can identify propaganda”

  1. chris Says:

    The problem inherent in trying to assess statistical analyses is the unknow as to what would have happened had the new initiative (e.g. anti-drug advertisements, increase in “shall issue” states, etc.) not been put into place.

    Would obesity still have risen dramatically if the Department of Agriculture hadn’t developed the ridiculous food pyramid in the early 1990s?

    Also, I would generally have no problem with taking a GAO report with a grain of salt.

    Would you take seriously a Board of Directors report from a publicly traded company, whose stock you were contemplating investing in, if the company consistently operated in the red and floated junk bonds to keep its doors open?

    I am not necessarily for or against government anti-drug advertisement program.

    However, I always have a problem with linking a statistical assessment, based on a huge unknnown for which an assumption must be made, with the causal nexus as to the efficacy (or lack thereof) with the subject action.

    In other words, is the past trend in the reduction of crime attributable to the adoption of “shall issue” permit laws by more states?

    If so, what about last year, when violent crime increased dramatically?

  2. _Jon Says:

    As a parent with teen-age kids, I am amazed at how good a kids “bullshit detector” or “bullshit filter” is. Case-in-point is the fact that our school system is infested with liberals and socialists, yet we churn out conservatives constantly. Why? ’cause the kids know these teachers and administrators are full of crap. How do I know? ’cause I ask them.

    Ask kids their opinions on a topic (war, drugs, driving, sex, whatever.), then ask what their teacher’s opinion is. They may tell you what you want to hear about their opinion, but they will recite what they have heard. And *how* they tell you about someone else’s opinion will tell you if they believe it or not. Many times my kid’s friends have mocked their teachers and other adults (and even me!) when re-telling an opinion.

    However – unrelated to that, and touching on chris’ comment – if a government program is created and is expected to use a GAO measurement program to monitor its progress, then that is the measurement it must use. That’s the law that was passed, that’s the law that should be followed.

  3. chris Says:

    Good point, Jon.

  4. Appalachian Scribe » Another Drug War Defeat Says:

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