- $5.45 million (the largest share) to Hager Sharp to promote the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
- $1.69 million to ZGS Communications about various Department programs
- $1.3 million to the Ketchum firm (which hired Mr Williams) to tout the No Child Left Behind law
The records also show that Ketchum closely watched for their messages to pop up in the media nationwide -- from interviews Mr Williams conducted to airing of video news releases (VNRs).
VNRs look like regular news stories, but are designed to drive a carefully crafted, partisan point home. Some TV stations aired Bush administration VNRs without mentioning they came from the government. Critics have accused the administration of "covert propaganda" in using the VNRs.
Ketchum would give points to education reporters who made the Bush administration look good. But the company insists that didn't affect the way they treat reporters.
Gotta trust 'em. They're in PR. They wouldn't lie. Again. (AP via Newsday)
[Crossposted at BlogCritics.org]