Michael Eisner: CASA

8:33 pm Speeches - scripts - annual reports

Script Text, Video Presentation, CASA Event, 2001

The Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner

On the Forstmann Family:
As soon as I heard about CASA honoring the Forstmann family, I told Joe Califono he could count on me. I knew this was one event I wanted to be a part of.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Ted Forstmann get fired up about his favorite issue: education reform. That’s because he strongly believes it’s one of the best ways to fight the war on drugs. It really riles Ted to see kids born to misfortune and poverty destined to a dead-end education. So he did something about it – he funneled millions in scholarships to help poor kids attend private schools.

All the Forstmanns practice what they preach. If they have an opinion on something, they don’t just talk about it – they take action.

On Bob Iger:

CASA has long promoted the importance of mentoring, particularly in preventing substance abuse. For years, mentoring has also been the cornerstone of ABC’s public service campaigns.

We all know television can exert incredible influence, particularly over children. Under the leadership of Bob Iger, who served as ABC’s president until last year, the network has devoted its considerable power to a single issue: getting parents to talk to their kids about drugs. In one week – during an unprecedented, month-long media blitzkrieg devoted to the anti-drug message – 50,000 people called ABC’s hotline or information.

Bob Iger believes in social responsibility.

Bob Iger knows the important of being honest, and talking to your kids. He knows kids who learn about the risk of drugs from their parents are half as likely to use them as parents who say nothing. That’s why he pressed everyone from soap stars to news anchors to get involved in a 1987 crusade to get out the message during what many say was the most elaborate cause-related marketing campaign ever undertaken by American media. ABC’s March Against Drugs.

Did it cost ABC money? You bet. And at a time when the network was No. 3.
But the important thing to ABC, and especially Bob Iger, was that a single message reached 182 million people – 90 percent of all adults ages 18 to 49 – 11 different times during a single month.

The Walt Disney Company President Bob Iger

As a father – of two nearly grown daughters and a toddler – I’m sometimes terrified by statistics. One really got to me, and it had nothing to do with a rise in heroin use or ecstasy. It was an ABC News poll that zeroed in on parents’ perceptions – and teens’ reality.

The poll found that found 85 percent of adults said they’d had a “serious talk” with their kids about drugs. The problem is, only about 45 percent of their offspring agreed.

Here at ABC, we talked to many experts on what to do to help fight substance abuse. We agreed on a key element – that sometimes the most important drug-fighting weapon is the kitchen table.

That’s why we launched the March Against Drugs, around the clock PSAs devoted to a single message: parents, talk to your kids about drugs. The initiative involved every segment of the network, from news and sports programs to soap operas and drams with anti-drug storylines.

We know anti-drug campaigns – coupled with education and treatment – work. Since 1985, 8.5 million fewer people – about the number who live in New York City — are using drugs.

We know by now that if a child can be kept off drugs through their teens, they will most likely be drug-free for life. As a father, there is no greater goal to strive for.




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