Mudcat Café message #1374962 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1374962
Posted By: Amos
08-Jan-05 - 11:55 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Tax-Funded White House PR Effort Questioned

A news commentator was paid to promote education policy, which critics call propaganda.

By Tom Hamburger, Nick Anderson and T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writers

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for an investigation Friday into whether the Bush administration misused taxpayer funds by paying a prominent media pundit $240,000 to promote the president's controversial new education policy.

The Education Department on Friday defended its payments to conservative commentator Armstrong Williams as part of a million-dollar contract with the Ketchum public relations firm to promote the No Child Left Behind Act with minority groups.

Williams, who is African American, was hired by Ketchum in late 2003 to build support among minorities for the president's education plan. He praised the program in columns and on television without disclosing the payments.

His case is the latest and perhaps most striking example of the Bush administration using government funds to market its agenda to the American public under the guise of journalism. It is also a fresh blow for the media following recent scandals that have raised questions about credibility. (...)