Paper: White House Targets Movies

Tuesday, July 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal drug policy-makers who sparked protests after trying to sprinkle anti-drug messages into the nation's TV shows plan to expand the campaign to Hollywood, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, wants to work more closely with major studios, writers and directors to promote films that communicate an anti-drug message, the Los Angeles Times said.

``As powerful as television is, some experts believe that movies have an even stronger impact on young people,'' according to McCaffrey's planned statement, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

The proposal promises to reopen debate about the government's efforts to get its anti-drug message out to young people. The new policy was expected to be unveiled during congressional testimony scheduled Tuesday.

``If this is something that's not positioned as a joint cooperative effort, it will have a hard time getting any traction,'' said Andy Zahn, an executive with the DreamWorks studio.

In January, McCaffrey came under criticism when it was disclosed that his office had been quietly giving major TV networks millions of dollars worth of financial credits for including anti-drug messages in popular shows such as ``E.R.,'' ``Beverly Hills, 90210'' and ``Cosby.''