WASHINGTON: Some organizations and news outlets targeted in the latest investigation of the Department of Education's (DoE) outsourced PR work are going on the counterattack against the allegations.The New York Sun, a conservative daily newspaper, blasted Rep. George Miller (D-CA) in a September 8 editorial for making a "false accusation" that the newspaper was used by DoE as part of a campaign to publish "systematic covert propaganda." In the editorial, the paper said that Miller's claim is "unsupported by the federal inspector general report on the issue."
In the September 1 report, the DoE's inspector general listed several grants to advocacy groups that resulted in newspaper Op-Eds promoting Bush administration education policies that didn't include proper disclaimer language. The report, however, did not cite the Sun as one of the publications that ran an Op-Ed.
In a September 6 press release, Miller said his office had determined that, aside from the publications listed in the report, additional articles were placed in the Sun and other papers by authors who didn't disclose their relationship with DoE.
Miller's office did not return calls. The Inspector General's Office declined comment.
In its report, the inspector general also listed the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (CREO) as a group that used a DoE grant to place opinion articles supporting the No Child Left Behind Act. Marcela Garcini, director of parent outreach for CREO, wrote Op-Eds that appeared in The Dallas Morning News in August and October 2004.
The report noted that, because these articles were published without proper disclaimers, the funds behind them might have been used improperly.
But Garcini said the DoE did not inform her of the disclaimer requirement. "There was some miscommunication," she said, adding that Hispanic CREO is being unfairly targeted because of its support for certain provisions in No Child Left Behind.