Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bribing Journalists to Flack for the White House

The War on the Press
The administration has paid pundits to sing its praises. Earlier this year, TV commentator Armstrong Williams pocketed $240,000 in taxpayer money to laud Bush’s education policies. Three other journalists have since been discovered on the White House dole; and Williams admits that he has “no doubt” that other paid Bush shills are still on the loose.

The administration has even exported these tactics. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. military is now secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops.

Over the past five years, the White House has set aside more than a quarter billion dollars to hire public relations firms to infiltrate our news system with fake news.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found the White House violated federal law by buying favorable news coverage from Williams in advance of the 2004 elections. Michael Massing wrote in the New York Review of Books that the GAO report “presents chilling evidence of the campaign that officials in Washington have been waging against a free and independent press.”

The GAO has issued scathing reports on the White House’s illegal use of taxpayer money to produce “covert propaganda” on four separate occasions. But Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refuses to prosecute these crimes. The official silence speaks volumes. Without legal recourse, an emboldened White House continues to manipulate the news and deceive Americans.

To read the rest of the report on the attacks against journalism, follow these links:

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