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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:59 AM
Original message
Armstrong Williams just one part of the behemoth RW marketing effort
Laurie Spivak, AlterNet

Armstrong Williams being paid to promote Bush administration
policies in his columns is just one part of the behemoth
marketing effort that the right wing has perfected. /

The Armstrong Williams story that surfaced last week is unquestionably a juicy one: the conservative, African-American commentator was paid a sweet $240,000 (in taxpayer dollars), by the Department of Education to promote President Bush's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Ketchum, a public relations firm, served as the intermediary, contracting with Williams to promote the controversial law in op/ed pieces and on his nationally syndicated television show "The Right Side," to urge other black journalists and producers to "periodically address" NCLB, and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for radio and television spots promoting the legislation.

Does Ketchum PR sound familiar? If it does, it's because these are the good folks who brought America Karen Ryan last year. Remember Karen? "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting." She was the PR hack who posed as a reporter back in early 2004 to tout President Bush's Medicare reform plan in fake news spots paid for by taxpayer dollars. In May, 2004, the nonpartisan General Accounting Office investigated the Medicare spots and determined that they were illegal because they violated a ban on publicly funded "covert propaganda." Lest a little thing like legality stop this administration, Karen Ryan surfaced again in October in her latest fake news story touting another of President Bush's programs just in time for the election you guessed it No Child Left Behind.

In looking at the Williams scandal, there is certainly no shortage of story angles to choose from. There is the classic hypocrisy angle, on full display in one of Williams' articles dated May 24, 2004, with the headline "The Big Education Sell Out" next to a grinning photo of the journalist. In the article, Williams incidentally, a former aide to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas criticizes the National Education Association (NEA) for caring more about "massaging the perception" of the public than about kids because of the union's opposition to No Child Left Behind. Classically satirical stuff from a guy who was paid a cool quarter million to massage public perception on the highly contentious NCLB legislation, while his own web site promotes him as both "independent" and "a principled voice for conservatives."


Plus, David Corn relates a conversation with Williams, in
which the shamed commentator reveals that he's not the only
one taking money from the big boys. /
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:01 AM
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1. What a total sell out this guy is
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AverageJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:03 AM
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2. Just imagine what would have happened
if something like this had happened during the Clinton administration. He would not only have been impeached, but convicted by the Senate. And with good reason. But Bill Clinton would not have done this.

Nothing will come of this, of course, but it SHOULD be the death knell for * & Co.

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susu369 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:34 AM
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3. Regarding the payola
curious how the "moola" was given to Williams. Did the Treasury department write a check, was the money delivered in cash in an attache case, or were the funds wired to say Rigged, er Riggs, Bank?

I'd really like to know. Did the receiving bank think this amount (if paid in one lump sum) was worthy of a suspicious activity report?

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