After a complaint from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in December that television networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and WB had misled viewers and violated federal law.
These networks had been paid over $20 million by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) over the last two years, for placing pre-approved anti-drug messages into the scripts of many popular shows. The FCC ruled that the networks should have listed the ONDCP as the sponsor of the shows with the altered anti-drug plots.
The FCC did not demand any punishment or fine, but Keith Stroup, executive director of NORML, said that the new Bush administration should take note, because “if they’re going to spend taxpayer money to try to influence the content of programming, that fact is going to have to be included on the programming.”
Television network executives refused to comment to the media.