Monday, January 10, 2005
Two Mistakes: On Friday, USA Today broke the story that the Education Department had paid syndicated columnist and radio/TV pundit Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. Tribune Media Services, Williams' syndicate, subsequently fired him. (An apology from Williams can be found here.)
Let me first reveal that I have never been paid a cent by the government or any corporation to promote an program, initiative or act of Congress -- but for $240,000 I'm willing to. However, unlike Williams, I'd disclose the fact first.
Williams has said that he was being paid to support a program that he supported anyway, so that he can still be trusted. He lost that trust. Maybe he can earn that back, but not anytime soon. Williams is going to pay for his ethical lapse.
What's more maddening is the fact that the Education Department is using my tax dollars for this bit of stupidity.
And what's unfortunate is that Williams has opened the door for this sort of garbage:
More than anything, of course, this episode shows that the propaganda machine is up and running in the Bush Administration. Makes you wonder how many other "journalists" are on the payroll.
Williams has hurt more than just himself.