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From: TSS ()
Date: May 14, 2005 at 7:01 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Agriculture Dept. paid journalist for favorable stories
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 11:26:02 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

Agriculture Dept. paid journalist for favorable stories

By Mark Memmott, USA TODAY

A third federal agency has admitted it paid a journalist to write
favorable stories about its work.

Documents released by the Agriculture Department show it paid a
freelance writer $9,375 in 2003 to "research and write articles for
hunting and fishing magazines describing the benefits of NRCS (Natural
Resources Conservation Service) programs."

Three articles by the writer, Dave Smith, appeared late last year in two
magazines aimed at hunting and fishing enthusiasts: Outdoor Oklahoma,
published by that state's Department of Wildlife Conservation, and
Washington-Oregon Game & Fish, published by Primedia.

Neither identified Smith as having been paid by the government. The
stories focused on how money from a 2002 agricultural subsidy bill had
been used to help preserve wetlands that hunting and fishing enthusiasts
enjoy in Oklahoma and the Northwest.

Smith, a biologist by profession who now works for the NRCS in Montana,
said Tuesday that the magazines knew he'd been paid by the Agriculture
Department. "I clearly spelled out to them," in writing, "that I'd been
hired to do this," he said. He said the magazines did not pay him for
the articles. "I knew I couldn't be paid by them" since he'd already
been compensated, Smith said.

Smith said he did not mention in the stories that he had been paid by
NRCS. "I'd already explained to the magazines what the deal was and I
thought they would take care of it from there," he said.

Ken Dunwoody, editor of Primedia's 31 Game & Fish magazines, said
Tuesday he did not know what Smith told the company, but if other
editors knew Smith had been paid by the government, it was a mistake not
to have told readers. "We may have failed to do things as we should
have," Dunwoody said. He added that "there was no political agenda" in
not identifying the Agriculture Department's role in the story, he said.

The contract came to light in response to Freedom of Information Act
requests from USA TODAY and other media. The department posted the
contract on its Web site ( The admission follows
revelations this year that:

" The Education Department paid conservative commentator Armstrong
Williams $240,000 to help promote its No Child Left Behind program in
2003 and 2004.

" The Health and Human Services Department paid two columnists more than
$40,000 to write brochures and train some of its staff  payments the
columnists did not disclose to their readers.

Those disclosures led some Democrats, including Sen. Frank Lautenberg of
New Jersey and Rep. George Miller of California, to accuse the Bush
administration of paying for propaganda, which would be illegal.
President Bush has ordered Cabinet secretaries to end such payments to
journalists and not enter into similar contracts.

David Gagner, chief of staff at the conservation service, said Tuesday
that his agency has hired freelance writers because it gets "lots of
requests from publications for help in writing stories."

He said in the wake of the disclosures about Williams and other
commentators having been paid by the government, his agency wants
stories written on its behalf to be clearly identified as having been
paid for by the federal government.

WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department paid a freelance writer to

PRODUCE stories PROMOTING the agency's conservation efforts and then
offer the articles to hunting and fishing magazines. The department
contracted with the writer, Dave Smith, in 2003, and three articles
appeared in magazines in 2004. Smith now is a biologist for the
department's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Missoula, Mont.
President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries in January not to hire
journalists to promote the governments agenda. Bush issued the order
AFTER it was disclosed that agencies had PAID one columnist, Maggie
Gallagher, to promote a marriage initiative and a second, Armstrong
Williams, to promote the No Child Left Behind education
law. ...

Houston Chronicle 5/12/05

Dave Smith

Dave Smith is
both a published freelance outdoor writer and an Area Biologist with the
Natural Resources Conservation Service in Missoula, Montana. He has sold
dozens of hunting, fishing, and conservation pieces to magazines including
Gun Dog, Outdoor Oklahoma, Wing & Shot, California Game & Fish, Mule Deer,
and Rocky Mountain Game & Fish. Dave has developed a specialized writing
niche in the areas of upland game, waterfowl, and wildlife conservation due
to his substantial knowledge and passion for those subjects.

Smith has been writing professionally since 1995, which also included a
three-year stint as a sportswriter and periodic outdoor columnist a local
newspaper. Prior to coming to USDAs NRCS in 2004, he served as CDFG's
Wetlands/Farm Bill Coordinator and provided leadership and vision in the
formulation of the Department's strategy to fully utilize USDA Farm Bill
conservation programs to improve wildlife habitat and increase waterfowl and
upland game hunting opportunities; this work included his development of the
California Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for which he received a
CDFG Director's Achievement Award, 2001. Dave graduated from California,
State University, Chico with a BA in Wildlife Management as a Special Major,

THIS is absolutely appalling. I just wonder now how much
the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid to make up stories
about BSE, Scrapie and CWD in the USA. HOW many FAVORABLE
stories have the USDA paid for about mad cow disease in the
USA? These people are totally out of control and will do
anything to cover up mad cow disease in the USA, including
rigging the test and rendering any suspect mad cow. ...


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