Fake News Gets Called on the Carpet

Conservative commentator Armstrong Williams"The Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party," ruled the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO report, "the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities," found that the Department of Education contract with the Ketchum PR firm violated the ban on "covert propaganda." Objectionable activities include a video news release where PR flack Karen Ryan says the Bush tutoring program "gets an A-plus"; news monitoring to determine whether stories agree that "the Bush administration / the G.O.P. is committed to education"; and Armstrong Williams' newspaper columns and television spots praising the No Child Left Behind Act, without disclosing that he was paid by the Education Department. The GAO doesn't have enforcement powers, but reports to the White House and Congress.


The Washington Post also ran [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/30/AR2005093001019.html|its own story] on the GAO findings. The full GAO reports are also available online:
  • Anthony H. Gamboa, "[http://lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/GAO%20reports/armstrong_williams.pdf|Department of Education—Contract to Obtain Services of Armstrong Williams]," Letter to Frank R. Lautenberg and Edward M. Kennedy", Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.
  • Anthony H. Gamboa, "[http://lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/GAO%20reports/fakenews.pdf|Department of Education—No Child Left Behind Act Video News Release and Media Analysis]", Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.
  • Gary L. Kepplinger, "[http://lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/GAO%20reports/dept_edu.pdf| Department of Education—No Child Left Behind Newspaper Article]," Letter to Mr. Kent Talbert, Deputy General Counsel, Department of Education, Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.

Everyone needs education. No child left behind is a great program that has left a lot of children with a place to go for a better life and better experiance with education. No child left behind allows children the oppurtunity to remove themselves from the streets and to further their education to live a proporous life.