Friday, January 07, 2005

They Write Letters

Lautenberg, Kennedy, and Reid write to President Bush.


In addition to the illegality of these actions taken by your Administration, we believe that the act of bribing journalists to bias their news in favor of government policies undermines the integrity of our democracy. Actions like this were common in the Soviet Union, but until now, thought to be long extinguished in our country.

These revelations regarding Mr. Williams are the latest – and most disturbing – in a series of actions by your Administration to manipulate public opinion through covert propaganda. On May 19, 2004, the GAO found that your Administration illegally spent taxpayer funds on covert propaganda by paying Ketchum Incorporated to produce fake news stories promoting the image of the new Medicare law.

Full letter.

And, E&P has:

n a May 24 column criticizing the National Education Association, the Tribune Media Services (TMS)-distributed Williams wrote that the NEA is "fundamentally opposed to any education reform -- like vouchers or the No Child Left Behind Act -- that seeks to hold public schools accountable for their failures."

Williams also wrote about the Bush administration's education-reform efforts in his Oct. 26 column, though he didn't specifically mention NCLB.

TMS is taking this seriously, John Twohey, vice president for editorial and operations, told E&P today. "It's troubling, at best." He added that TMS doesn't want to decide what action to take, if any, until "we get the complete set of facts. We don't want to leap to any conclusions based on incomplete information. I owe it to him and his newspaper clients."

Twohey said he talked with Williams today, and was told by the columnist that "the rendition of events in USA Today is not complete." The TMS executive added that he will talk again with Williams later today.

Williams wrote about NCLB here, here, here, and here.

And, the triumphant return of Ignatz reminds us of a few things.