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The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Aaron Carr
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
Taxpayer-Funded Political PR: Bush Administration Pays Media Commentator to Support No Child Left Behind
Is anyone comparing this to the subliminal messages transmitted by advertisers to influence consumers? If not, why not? How many articles did Mr. Williams write as his own thoughts, and how many were "paid" for by the Bush Administration? Did the folk know or get any of this money? We look again at who owns the media.
   Armstrong Williams   
White House paid commentator to promote law
From USA Today, January 7, 2005
By Greg Toppo


Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.

Williams said Thursday he understands that critics could find the arrangement unethical, but "I wanted to do it because it's something I believe in."

The top Democrat on the House Education Committee, Rep. George Miller of California, called the contract "a very questionable use of taxpayers' money" that is "probably illegal." He said he will ask his Republican counterpart to join him in requesting an investigation.

The contract, detailed in documents obtained by USA TODAY through a Freedom of Information Act request, also shows that the Education Department, through the Ketchum public relations firm, arranged with Williams to use contacts with America's Black Forum, a group of black broadcast journalists, "to encourage the producers to periodically address" NCLB. He persuaded radio and TV personality Steve Harvey to invite Paige onto his show twice. Harvey's manager, Rushion McDonald, confirmed the appearances.

Williams said he does not recall disclosing the contract to audiences on the air but told colleagues about it when urging them to promote NCLB.

"I respect Mr. Williams' statement that this is something he believes in," said Bob Steele, a media ethics expert at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. "But I would suggest that his commitment to that belief is best exercised through his excellent professional work rather than through contractual obligations with outsiders who are, quite clearly, trying to influence content."

The contract may be illegal "because Congress has prohibited propaganda," or any sort of lobbying for programs funded by the government, said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "And it's propaganda."

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said he couldn't comment because the White House is not involved in departments' contracts.

Ketchum referred questions to the Education Department, whose spokesman, John Gibbons, said the contract followed standard government procedures. He said there are no plans to continue with "similar outreach."

Williams' contract was part of a $1 million deal with Ketchum that produced "video news releases" designed to look like news reports. The Bush administration used similar releases last year to promote its Medicare prescription drug plan, prompting a scolding from the Government Accountability Office, which called them an illegal use of taxpayers' dollars.

Williams, 45, a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is one of the top black conservative voices in the nation. He hosts The Right Side on TV and radio, and writes op-ed pieces for newspapers, including USA TODAY, while running a public relations firm, Graham Williams Group.

This article is from USA Today. If you found it informative and valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their website and register an account to view all their articles on the web. Support quality journalism.

U.S. Pays Commentator to Tout School Law
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer,


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration paid a prominent commentator to promote the No Child Left Behind schools law to fellow blacks and to give the education secretary media time, records show.

A company run by Armstrong Williams, the syndicated commentator, was paid $240,000 by the Education Department. The goal was to deliver positive messages about Bush's education overhaul, using Williams' broad reach with minorities.

The deal, which drew a fast rebuke from Democrats on Capitol Hill, is the latest to put the department on the defensive for the way it has promoted Bush's signature domestic policy.

The contract required Williams' company, the Graham Williams Group, to produce radio and TV ads that feature one-minute "reads" by Education Secretary Rod Paige. The deal also allowed Paige and other department officials to appear as studio guests with Williams.

Williams, one of the leading black conservative voices in the country, was also to use his influence with other black journalists to get them to talk about No Child Left Behind.

The law, a centerpiece of President Bush's domestic agenda, aims to raise achievement among poor and minority children, with penalties for many schools that don't make progress.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday that the decisions on the practice were made by the Education Department. He did not directly answer when asked whether the White House approved of the practice, saying it was a department matter.

The Education Department defended its decision as a "permissible use of taxpayer funds under legal government contracting procedures." The point was to help parents, particularly in poor and minority communities, understand the benefits of the law, the department said.

Williams called criticism of his relationship with the department "legitimate."

"It's a fine line," he told The Associated Press on Friday. "Even though I'm not a journalist - I'm a commentator - I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it."

Three Democratic senators - Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Harry Reid of Nevada - wrote Bush Friday to demand he recover the money paid to Armstrong. The lawmakers contended that "the act of bribing journalists to bias their news in favor of government policies undermines the integrity of our democracy."

Rep. George Miller of California, the top Democrat on the House education committee, asked for an inspector general investigation into whether the deal was legal and ethical. The Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, supported the request.

Miller and other Democrats also wrote Bush to call for an end to "covert propaganda."

The department's contract with Williams, through the public relations firm Ketchum, dates to 2003 and 2004. It follows another recent flap about the agency's publicity efforts.

The Bush administration has promoted No Child Left Behind with a video that comes across as a news story but fails to make clear the reporter involved was paid with taxpayer money. It has also has paid for rankings of newspaper coverage of the law, with points awarded for stories that say Bush and the Republican Party are strong on education. The Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing arm, is investigating those spending decisions.

The GAO has twice ruled that the Bush administration's use of prepackaged videos - to promote federal drug policy and a new Medicare law - is "covert propaganda" because the videos do not make clear to the public that the government produced the promotional news.

"There is no defense for using taxpayer dollars to pay journalists for 'fake news' and favorable coverage of a federal program," said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, a liberal group that has tracked the department's spending.

Information about the contract with Williams was first reported by USA Today.

AP writer Brendan Farrington contributed to this report.

He certainly did not like the new high school funded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City BOE to provide homosexual, lesbian, and transgender kids their own high school...or was this Bush's perspective?

Is Harvey Milk High School really a good idea?
Armstrong Williams (archive), August 6, 2003


A good measure of the government is how it spends our tax dollars. So let us consider what Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, had done with our hard-earned money. Despite across-the-board tax increases, Bloomberg recently funneled $3.2 million into Harvey Milk High School, which calls itself "the nation's first accredited public high school designed to meet the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth."

Just one thing: Teenagers simply aren't emotionally ready to make radical decisions about their sexual identity. What child, for example, knows for certain that he or she should have a sex change or engage in same-sex relationships the rest of his or her life? Yet the creation of a gay public high school passively encourages children to make these decisions; decisions that will follow them around every time they fill out a job application and are asked what high school they attended.

Proponents of the homosexual lifestyle consider it all a stunning victory. But there's something insidious about indoctrinating children in order to push the homosexual agenda into the mainstream.

Nonetheless, Mayor Bloomberg has signed on, ostensibly to protect our children from all of the hate-spewing antagonists out there. "I think everybody feels that it's a good idea because some of the kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools," Bloomberg told Associated Press.

No doubt these things happen. But segregating homosexuals in their own high school does nothing to confront the discipline problem that underlies the abuse. And a fat lot of good it does for the majority of homosexuals who remain in public schools. Instead of building a wall around a couple hundred students, why not address the real problem by instituting a zero tolerance rule for bullies who harass other students based upon their ethnic, social or cultural heritage? Because the alternative is to create separate schools for every group that feels oppressed - Blacks, Jews, witches, whose ancestors were persecuted during the Salem witch trials.

Truly, this is an alarming thought. For 200 years public education in America has brought diverse groups together. It has socialized a vast tapestry of individuals and allowed for the friction of diverse minds to generate progress. Are we ready to turn our backs on that tradition by willingly segregating ourselves? Has our culture become so soft that we feel every child who is picked on is owed his or her own special corner of the universe from which to learn? That's a warm and endearing thought. But it also removes words like individual striving from the cultural dialogue.

The bottom line is, all societies have a certain propensity toward aggression and malice. At some point, children have to get out there and join the fray. Along the way, they may get picked on. We should remain deeply sensible about that possibility, but splintering our public school system - our society - along sexual, ethnic and cultural boundaries does little to help the situation. This kind of self-segregation only encourages tribal ignorance and hate. See Northern Ireland. See the Balkans. See the United States circa 2003.

This is the new American myth. Gone is the "rags to riches" ethic. Now it's "woe is me. Give me some special treatment." In this country, it is now taken for granted that the principles by which our culture has traditionally functioned are no longer deemed appropriate. Homosexuals are the victims of social intolerance, not subtle destroyers of tradition. In fact, they even deserve their own schools. A desperate situation made worse when Mayor Bloomberg and countless others enthusiastically tout the homosexual agenda. They think this is a good thing, a PC thing. Just one more indicator that our culture has become unhinged.

©2003 Tribune Media Services

Report blasts Sinclair abuse of power
Cites questionable ties to stations owned by Sinclair CEO's family; decries use of public airwaves to sway presidential election


Washington – As Sinclair Broadcasting Group-the largest owner of local television stations in the U.S.-orders its nationwide affiliates to preempt regular programming to air an anti-Kerry documentary, Free Press is releasing a new report (available at that cites several Sinclair business practices that are reprehensible at best and illegal at worst.

Eleven of Sinclair's 62 TV stations are not owned by the company, but operated under so-called local marketing agreements (LMAs) which allow Sinclair to circumvent media ownership rules. Of those LMA-operated stations, at least five are owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, a company held by the family members of Sinclair CEO David Smith. LMA-operated stations are legally required to maintain their own programming authority, but Sinclair's actions indicate that they may be illegally forcing programming decisions upon their LMA-operated stations.

The report also cites Sinclair's partisan political record of using its TV stations to promote decidedly Republican viewpoints at the cost of journalistic standards and objective political coverage. Soon after 9/11, the company required their affiliates to express allegiance to the Bush Administration on the air. More recently, Sinclair pulled Nightline from its ABC affiliates when anchor Ted Koppel broadcast the photos and names of US soldiers slain in Iraq.

"Sinclair abuses its free access to the public airwaves to push its candidates, and then receives payback in the form of favorable media policies made behind closed doors," stated Free Press founder Robert W. McChesney. "This is not a liberal or conservative issue. Free Press would react the same way if Sinclair were broadcasting anti-Bush propaganda. We have to wonder where our conservative friends are who would be so outraged if Sinclair were to abuse its broadcast licenses to serve the Kerry cause, instead of Bush."

This year, 97% of Sinclair's campaign contributions-which total more than $67,000-went to GOP candidates, as the White House aggressively pushed to lift media ownership caps in order to bolster the bottom lines of Sinclair and other powerful media corporations.

"Sinclair's complete lack of journalistic principles and lack of respect for the public interest shows why consolidation of media ownership poses the gravest threat to our democracy," said Free Press executive director Josh Silver. "With a reach of over one quarter of the U.S. population, Sinclair's partisan decisions can unduly influence U.S. elections and the future of our country."

The report also details Sinclair's practice of "central-casting" entire segments of 'local' news, including their requirement that affiliates broadcast commentary by ultraconservative commentator Mark Hyman as part of local news programming across the country. Hyman is Sinclair's Vice President of Corporate Affairs and head of the company's government lobbying operations.

Free Press is launching a national campaign to challenge Sinclair's broadcast license renewals (, a number of which are due to expire soon.

Free Press( is a national non-partisan organization that seeks to increase informed public participation in media policy and to promote a more competitive, public interest-oriented media system. It was founded by University of Illinois professor, media scholar and author Robert McChesney.

Mr. Williams' contract with the Board of Education

Who Owns the Media?

Letter from Representative Louise Slaughter asking for Mr. Williams' removal from the airwaves

On the Net:

Education Department
Armstrong Williams

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation