New Orleans man was paid by U.S. to rate news coverage of oil spill cleanup, AP, September 14, 2010, 6:16 PM
[T]he Coast Guard... [paid] $9,000 per month for two months to John Brooks Rice of New Orleans, an on-call worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under a no-bid contract to monitor media coverage from late May through July.
Rice told the AP that he compiled print and video news stories and offered his subjective appraisal of the tone of the coverage. "From reading and watching the media I would create reports," he said. "I reported either positive coverage, negative coverage, misinformation coverage."
The Coast Guard provided the AP with a copy of two of Rice's printouts of news stories but didn't respond to a request for copies of his reports rating the tone of news stories. Rice said he had already deleted them. The AP requested copies of all Rice's reports under the Freedom of Information Act but hasn't received them. ...
The Coast Guard said it didn't ask for competitive bids because it urgently needed the work done. In the newly released federal data, the government didn't disclose Rice's name, instead misidentifying him as "miscellaneous foreign contractors."
Read the report here.