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.Okay, so this is getting ridiculous...they're actually paying off journalists to talk about the issues they want discussed. I don't even know of that many conservatives who have nice things to say about NCLB...everyone pretty much agrees it's an awful program which only makes it more difficult for states to effectively use what tiny education budgets they have.
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.
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.
And the last paragraph...not to compare the good ol' USA with nasty evil Soviet Russia, but DAMN it's obvious. Video 'news' releases...created by the government - gee, I really trust that they'll be objective, and I'm just as sure that everytime one is run on a station, some sort of disclosure will be made that says, "We ran out of ways to spend your tax dollars, so here is a nice rosy 'news release' of how our programs work".
Daily Kos has more on the story as well.