Sunday, October 09, 2005

Administration disseminated "Covert Propaganda," according to GAO

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal - NY Times

Once again, the Bush administration and their Congressional allies have been caught. Last week we heard about Bill Frist's insider trading, then Tom DeLay was indicted, then Judith Miller agreed to testify about I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice-President's chief of staff, and his involvement in Traitorgate, the saga of Karl Rove and other Bush officials leaking the name of a CIA agent to smear her husband's reputation for political gain.

Today's story is about conservative political commentator Armstrong Williams, who was paid to disseminate pro-Bush administration commentary on educational issues, and the PR firm Ketchum Inc., who paid him after being hired by the Bush administration whenever he gave pro-Bush reviews.

Also, the Bush administration went through news reports and analyzed them for political bias:

"Lawyers from the accountability office, an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the administration systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, 'The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education.'
The auditors declared: 'We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds.' "

The report was labeled "blistering" by the New York Times, and "said the administration had disseminated 'covert propaganda' in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban."

Finally, "The report Friday provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities." Which is to say, that once more, the Bush administration's actions have been ruled:

ILLEGAL.

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