Jan. 12, 2005

The Conservative Marketing Machine

The Conservative Marketing Machine By Laurie Spivak, AlterNet. Posted January 11, 2005. 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" continued......

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