Ryan Lackey

DEA’s Media Contracts Allow it to Control Narratives

The DEA is carefully monitoring and sometimes modifying interviews by its personnel — and other representations of the agency — as part of a larger media effort to control how it appears in documentaries, reality shows, and dramas.

Full story after the jump.

As cannabis has become legalized medically and recreationally throughout the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is requiring interviews by its personnel to be approved in advance by the agency’s head of congressional and public affairs in an effort to control the narrative, according to a Mint Press News report.

The policy is part of a larger media effort by the agency to control how it’s represented in documentaries, reality shows, and dramas, according to more than 200 documents obtained by Mint Press News through a Freedom of Information Act request. The publication found that DEA supported dozens of media projects, including “Cops and Coyotes,” “Drugs, Inc.,” “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil,” “Lethal Cargo,” “The Notorious Mr. Bout,” “Pure,” and “Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies.”

Some of those shows include real-time filming of the agency at work but producers are required to give on-scene DEA supervisors “the final say in approving any filming during real-time law enforcement operations,” according to the documents outlined by Mint Press. Senior DEA officials have control over the final edit and the agency has the right to “modify, delete or otherwise change” what ends up being aired in order for the agency to be depicted in a positive light.

The agency also requires that all materials provided by DEA be destroyed as soon as the film or TV show is broadcast and that producers provide them with a non-exclusive license copy of the work for “recruiting, training, professional development, community relations, or demand reduction efforts.”

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