Ketchum strategy causes US row

Washington DC: Ketchum has run into a major controversy in the US over its use of well-known black media commentator Armstrong Williams to promote president Bush’s contentious No Child Left Behind education programme.

Ketchum contracted Williams’ ad and PR agency Graham Williams to promote the Department of Education Act, which included Williams personally supporting the bill in TV and press outlets.

This has led to critics accusing Ketchum of blurring the line between editorial comment and paid-for promotion.

Ketchum claims Williams was a supporter of the act long before he was contracted but admits a ‘lapse of judgement’. It pledges to adhere to industry guidelines in the future.

Kate Nicholas, p22

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