ERIC Number: EJ759410
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan-19
Reference Count: N/A
Department's PR Activities Scrutinized: Contract with TV Pundit Draws Fire in Congress
Davis, Michelle R.
Education Week, v24 n19 p1, 24 Jan 2005
In the latest disclosure about the education department's public relations efforts, the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams acknowledged that he had accepted some $240,000 in federal money for ads on his syndicated television show and for other help in promoting the No Child Left Behind Act in various forums. Williams was a subcontractor under a wide-ranging, at least $700,000 contract between the Education Department and Ketchum Inc., a leading public relations firm based in New York City. Williams' contract called for the commentator, who is African-American, to help the department's outreach to minorities about the school law by providing time for Secretary of Education Rod Paige and other officials on his TV show, and for him to influence other members of the media to give favorable attention to the law. Education groups were concerned the controversy would taint public opinion about the education initiative itself. Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill called for a variety of investigations. Senators Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate subcommittee that handles education appropriations, asked that the Education Department turn over records of recent public relations contracts. It remains unclear whether the idea to tap Mr. Williams for a contract to promote the school law originated with Ketchum or with the department. It was also unclear who in the department ultimately gave the go-ahead for it.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Investigations, Television, Schools of Education, School Law, Public Opinion, Public Relations
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa; New York; Pennsylvania
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001