An anonymous person is soliciting positive fake news articles about Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education.
Posting at the website Textbroker.com, where those in need of word content can connect with writers, the unknown individual is willing to pay just $3.50 for “an article that summarizes two articles about Betsy DeVos opposing the overturning of the transgender bathroom bill.”
In 350 to 450 words, “please highlight Betsy did not approve of the bill being overturned and her support of students that may be effected [sic] negatively because of the lack of protection the bill provided,” the advertisement continues.
The advertiser points to two articles from February which painted DeVos as a defender of transgender student rights, but there was no “bill” involved. Instead, the White House reportedly held an internal debate about Department of Education policy.
CNN cited two anonymous sources close to DeVos who claimed that she resisted efforts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withdraw guidance protecting transgender students. The New York Times echoed that reporting, saying “Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students.”
However, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there was “no daylight” between Sessions and DeVos and claimed that she supported the changes “100 percent.”
DeVos also gave the change her full endorsement and defended it the next day by claiming that the previous policy was an Obama administration “overreach.”
While DeVos made some noises about defending the civil rights of transgender public school students, in June she scaled back enforcement operations by the Department’s office of civil rights.
But at Textbroker.com, the desired emphasis is positive spin. “Please also include a paragraph about her philanthropy work and details of her financial giving and personal background,” the notice says. “Article must approach subject in a positive manner and must cover his [sic] entire work history.”
The daughter of a right wing billionaire who founded the infamous multilevel marketing giant Amway, DeVos used the family’s pyramid scheme fortune to buy Michigan politicians and impose a red agenda on what had been a blue state.
One of her first priorities was the destruction of labor unions. Another was the destruction of public education through state funded charter schools. The latter cause made her a favorite among Christian dominionists, the evangelical voters that Trump aimed to please when he appointed her to be Secretary of Education.
Now someone is looking for fake news articles that ignore those inconvenient facts about DeVos and exclude any criticism.
“IMPORTANT,” the Textbroker order briefing says. “Do NOT include any news from PR Watch, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The Week or NY Times in your article. Do not include any negative information in your article. POSITIVE NEWS ONLY PLEASE!”
Since the client already asked for writers to include a New York Times story, the prohibition on that publication will be a very difficult dilemma for any writer to resolve. And since they only want to pay for half an hour at minimum wage, the client might have trouble finding someone to take the job.
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