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August 2006
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Irrelevancy

So the media’s been all over this failure of the ONDCP to be accountable in their advertising. Say Uncle pointed out this amazing quote in USA Today:

The GAO report is “irrelevant to us,” says Tom Riley, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Oh?

The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, confirmed the results of a $43 million, government-funded study that found the campaign did not work. That evaluation, by Westat Inc. and the University of Pennsylvania, said parents and youths remembered the ads and their messages. But the study said exposure to the ads did not change kids’ attitudes about drugs and that the reduction in drug use in recent years could be attributed more directly to a range of other factors, such as a decline in high school dropouts.

But of course, to the ONDCP, facts are “irrelevant” in accounting for the failure of massive expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

Tom, over at DARE Generation Diary, noticed a delightful dig by USA Today at the Drug Czar — in the print version, they placed their article exposing the failure of the ONDCP media campaign right next to one of those expensive ads from the drug czar! (check out the scan at Tom’s post)

Michael points out a great editorial at the Las Vegas Review-Journal: This is your ad budget on drugs:

If the ads or programming in question simply familiarize viewers with voting locations, or flood warnings, that’s fine. But the reason America has a free press is that the founders realized the public would be best “served” with a vigorous public debate on issues of the day.

“Public service,” on the other hand, is increasingly a euphemism for “propaganda” — only the official government line need be presented.

Americans — even America’s kids — show an admirable skepticism toward such simple-minded “orders from on high.”

Let’s not waste any more on this folly.

Let’s go back to the Drug Czar’s spokesman…

The GAO report is “irrelevant to us,” says Tom Riley, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Does he even know what he’s saying?

If one of my students said “You know, your failing grade is irrelevant to me,” I’d accept that. After all, he paid for the class, and what he gets out of it is up to him. Of course, that means he isn’t going to be getting a degree, but that’s his choice. But if I go to my boss and say: “Your evaluation of my job is irrelevant to me, I would quickly be unemployed.

It’s time to make the point that if our employees (the Drug Czar and his staff) think evaluations are irrelevant then they might as well start looking for new jobs.

[More fun on this at Cato: Anti-Drug Campaign Failure and Wonkette: This Is Your Brain Wanting To Get High]

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