Last month the Department of Education essentially exonerated itself of wrongdoing in producing fake news stories and covertly paying journalists to promote administration policies. (See: Does Covert Government Information = Propaganda?) Now, the Government Accountability Office says that payments to broadcast commentator Armstrong Williams to promote its “No Child Left Behind” policy were illegal, and that the payments violated prohibitions on funding “covert propaganda.” It also denounced a prepackaged television story disseminated by the Education Department.
Stories on the report:
- Buying of News by Bush’s Aides Is Ruled Illegal, By ROBERT PEAR, New York Times, Section A; Column 1; Pg. 1 Sept. 30, 2005.
- Armstrong Williams Payments Illegal, Says GAO By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable, 9/30/2005
- GAO: Bush Team Broke Law With ‘Covert Propaganda’ Armstrong Williams, Editor and Publisher, September 30, 2005.
- GAO Report B-305368, Department of Education–Contract to Obtain Services of Armstrong Williams, September 30, 2005
- GAO Report B-306349, Department of Education–No Child Left Behind Newspaper Article, September 30, 2005