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Volume III, Number 1, January, 2005

Buying Good Press

Even though it is against the law for agencies of the Federal government to pay for favorable news coverage, the Department of Education paid $241,000 to a conservative commentator to push the beauties of NCLB to unsuspecting audiences who (falsely it turned out) thought they were getting the man's opinions and perspectives untarnished by anything like bribery.

By Jamie McKenzie (about author)

© 2005, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved

Buying good press is a serious matter.

It takes the Pentagon's strategy of embedding reporters with combat groups to a new level, jeopardizing the whole notion of an independent and free press.

When members of the press become (secretly) paid spokespersons for the government, the prospects for fair and unbiased reporting of the news are seriously weakened.

The public must wonder what is news, what is propaganda and who is on the take.

Is this a genuine opinion, a reliable fact or one more informercial?

Administration Paid Commentator (Click for article, free registration required)
By Howard Kurtz
Saturday, January 8, 2005

According to the Washington Post reporter, Howard Kurtz, "The Education Department paid commentator Armstrong Williams $241,000 to help promote President Bush's No Child Left Behind law on the air."

"In taking the money, funneled through the Ketchum Inc. public relations firm, Williams produced and aired a commercial on his syndicated television and radio shows featuring Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, touted Bush's education policy, and urged other programs to interview Paige. He did not disclose the contract when talking about the law during cable television appearances or writing about it in his newspaper column."

"Rep. George Miller (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House education
committee, said the Williams contract "is propaganda, it's unethical, it's
dangerous and it's illegal" and called it "worthy of Pravda."

© 2005, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved. This article may be e-mailed to individuals by individuals, but all other duplication, distribution, publication and use is prohibited without first receiving explicit permission. Contact for information.