USDA pays freelance writer to tout Farm Bill’s green cred

In an effort to manufacture some green credibility, an Agriculture Department agency hired a freelance “journalist” to produce five articles on the conservation benefits of its Farm Bill programs. Paid at least $7,500 for his work, freelancer Dave Smith was instructed to push his stories to hunting and fishing magazines. The contract between Smith and the Natural Resources Conservation Service — a government agency that works with landowners on issues related to wildlife habitat, water conservation, and soil erosion — was uncovered by The Washington Post via a Freedom of Information Act request. It’s just the latest deal to come to light whereby the Bush administration has paid so-called journalists to tout its policies in the press. Smith, dude, Armstrong Williams cleared $241K! Looks like you got punk’d.