Daily Variety
September 18, 2005

Prism unites fractious pols
Awards fete socially responsible drug pics, skeins
By William Triplett

Congress thinks Hollywood is having a positive influence on society.

No, you didn't read that wrong. More than 75 members from both sides of the aisles in the Senate and House of Representatives paid tribute Sept. 13 to the entertainment industry's attempts at accurately portraying lives affected by drug and alcohol abuse.

The event: the Capitol Hill Showcase for the Prism Awards, one of the very few occasions when Republicans and Democrats close ranks to praise, not bury, movies and TV programs -- provided they meet a bipartisan definition of what it means to be socially responsible.

"There's always plenty of criticism of Hollywood for negatively influencing behavior," says Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Entertainment Caucus. "But the Prism Awards honor works that not only have shown the reality of addiction, they've shown just how dangerous and destructive it is."

Honorary co-chairs of the event included Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Olympia Snowe (R-Wash.), Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and David Dreier (R-Calif.), among others.

Even FCC commissioner Michael Copps, a frequently outspoken critic of indecent content, attended.

The Prisms, which are handed out in April, honor the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in media.

The Capitol Hill Showcase offers a chance for Congress to voice support for Prism winners -- and, by extension, the industry that produced them.

Small wonder it happens only once a year.