Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Department of Education violates anti-propaganda laws

I do hope the Kerry people pick up on this story for the last debate.

It turns out the Department of Education (DOE) has been in violation of anti-propaganda laws by submitting prepared videos, complete with a faux reporter, to news stations in the hopes they would use the footage as 'news'. In these videos, the faux reporter masquerades as a real reporter, reading 'news' without identifying as someone paid to read the news by the government. Very bad, DOE. The person responsible for this should be prosecuted. Uh, would that be Mr. Paige, by any chance?

It also turns out that the DOE hired a PR firm to rank individual journalists and newspaper coverage, depending on whether their work conformed to what the DOE wanted to see.
In ranking newspaper coverage of No Child Left Behind, Ketchum developed a 100-point scale. Stories got five points each for positive messages, such as mentions that the law gives choices to parents and holds schools accountable.

Five points also went to stories that send a message that "The Bush Administration/the GOP is committed to education."

Stories lost five points for negative messages, including claims that the law is not adequately funded or is too tough on states.

The news review for the department also rated education reporters, giving higher scores to their stories if they were deemed positive.
Looks like the DOE is trying out behavioral modification on journalists. The system certainly looks like it's being gamed to produce the 'testing frame' developed by corporate think tanks.

Thank People for the American Way being on top of this by filing a FOIA request to find out more about the video and other documents.