28 janvier 2005

Payola scandal continues

Two items today:

USA Today
reports that PR spending doubled from Clinton's second term to Bush's first term.

Key parts of the article:
The Bush administration has more than doubled its spending on outside contracts with public relations firms during the past four years, according to an analysis of federal procurement data by congressional Democrats.

The administration spent at least $88 million in fiscal 2004 on contracts with major public relations firms, the analysis found, compared with $37 million in 2001, Bush's first year in office. In all, the administration spent $250 million on public relations contracts during its first term, compared with $128 million spent for President Clinton between 1997 and 2000. The analysis did not examine what the Clinton administration spent during its first term.
Now we already knew that Armstrong Williams was shilling to promote the No Child Left Behind program and that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher accepted payments while writing several columns in support of the president's marriage initiative.

Also, thanks to Salon, we learn (free Site Pass necessary) that Michael McManus, author of the syndicated column "Ethics & Religion," received $10,000 to promote a marriage initiative.
Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.
This whole thing is sullying both the PR and media industries. We have to keep looking into this.
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