$240,000 from the Bush administration

  1. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ea..._id=1000749251

    Armstrong Williams Column Axed by TMS

    By Dave Astor

    Published: January 07, 2005 8:45 PM ET
    NEW YORK Tribune Media Services (TMS) tonight terminated its contract with columnist Armstrong Williams, effective immediately. But Williams told E&P that he plans to continue his feature via self-syndication.

    TMS' action came after USA Today reported this morning that Williams had accepted $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote the No Child Left Behind education-reform law on his TV and radio shows. E&P subsequently reported that Williams had also written about NCLB in his newspaper column at least four times last year.

    In a statement, TMS said: "[A]ccepting compensation in any form from an entity that serves as a subject of his weekly newspaper columns creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Under these circumstances, readers may well ask themselves if the views expressed in his columns are his own, or whether they have been purchased by a third party." (Full text of the statement is available at the end of this story.)...
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    Agency paid commentator to push Bush education plan
    Officials defend it, but Armstrong Williams now calls criticism of the deal 'legitimate'
    By BEN FELLER
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration paid a prominent commentator to promote the No Child Left Behind schools law to fellow blacks and to give the education secretary media time, records show.

    A company run by Armstrong Williams, the syndicated commentator, was paid $240,000 by the Education Department. The goal was to deliver positive messages about President Bush's education overhaul, using Williams' broad reach with minorities.

    The deal, which drew a fast rebuke from Democrats on Capitol Hill, is the latest to put the department on the defensive for the way it has promoted Bush's signature domestic policy.

    The contract required Williams' company, the Graham Williams Group, to produce radio and TV ads that feature one-minute "reads" by Education Secretary Rod Paige. The deal also allowed Paige and other department officials to appear as studio guests with Williams.

    Williams, one of the leading black conservative voices in the country, was also to use his influence with other black journalists to get them to talk about No Child Left Behind.

    The law, a centerpiece of Bush's domestic agenda, aims to raise achievement among poor and minority children, with penalties for schools that don't make progress.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday that the decisions on the practice were made by the Education Department.

    The Education Department defended its decision as a "permissible use of taxpayer funds under legal government contracting procedures." The point was to help parents, particularly in poor and minority communities, understand the law's benefits, the department said.

    Williams called criticism of his relationship with the department "legitimate."

    "It's a fine line," he said Friday. "Even though I'm not a journalist-I'm a commentator-I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it."


    http://www.armstrongwilliams.com/ME2...es/default.asp
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Jan 8, '05
  4. by   fergus51
    This is probably someone Fox would call fair and balanced!
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    "It's a fine line," he said Friday. "Even though I'm not a journalist-I'm a commentator-I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it."



    I'd say honest.

    steph
  6. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from spacenurse
    http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ea..._id=1000749251

    Armstrong Williams Column Axed by TMS

    By Dave Astor

    Published: January 07, 2005 8:45 PM ET
    NEW YORK Tribune Media Services (TMS) tonight terminated its contract with columnist Armstrong Williams, effective immediately. But Williams told E&P that he plans to continue his feature via self-syndication.

    TMS' action came after USA Today reported this morning that Williams had accepted $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote the No Child Left Behind education-reform law on his TV and radio shows. E&P subsequently reported that Williams had also written about NCLB in his newspaper column at least four times last year.

    In a statement, TMS said: "[A]ccepting compensation in any form from an entity that serves as a subject of his weekly newspaper columns creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Under these circumstances, readers may well ask themselves if the views expressed in his columns are his own, or whether they have been purchased by a third party." (Full text of the statement is available at the end of this story.)...

    Cheers for TMS. Armstrong knew full well that he was completely wrong to take money to push the Bush administration's agenda. However, I'm not surprised by anything he does. He wrote a column after Kweisi Mfume left the NAACP claiming that Julian Bond forced him out because KM was making conciliatory gestures toward Bush. As if anyone at the NAACP would confide in him.......
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Cheers for TMS. Armstrong knew full well that he was completely wrong to take money to push the Bush administration's agenda. However, I'm not surprised by anything he does. He wrote a column after Kweisi Mfume left the NAACP claiming that Julian Bond forced him out because KM was making conciliatory gestures toward Bush. As if anyone at the NAACP would confide in him.......
    This article?

    Mfume gets the boot
    Armstrong Williams (archive)


    December 7, 2004 | Print | Send


    Don't believe the well-scripted press conference where former president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kweisi Mfume, announced his resignation. Mfume did not resign from the nation's oldest and most prestigious civil rights organization. He was kicked out; following a long-simmering feuded with Julian Bond, NAACP chairman.

    The two began feuding after Mfume nominated National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for his 2003 NAACP Image Award. Furious that Mfume was reaching out to the Bush administration, Bond responded by nominating "Boondocks" cartoonist Aaron McGruder for his Image Award. McGruder had ridiculed Rice in his comic strip and later caller her a "murderer" for her role in the war in Iraq.

    The rift grew as Mfume continued to reach out to the Republican Party. Mfume realized that by reflexively voting Democrat in every election, black voters had given away most of their bartering power. After all, what incentive is there for either party to go out on a limb for blacks, if it is taken for granted that blacks would automatically vote Democrat? In effect, black voters have created conditions that make it very easy for both parties to take them for granted.

    Mfume rightly reasoned that by reaching out to Republicans on issues like empowering faith-based charities, supporting school vouchers, etc., black voters can send the message that they're no longer willing to blindly support the Democrats. Faced with the prospect of fleeing voters, the Democrats would be forced to make new overtures. This competition, in turn, would instill both parties with a sense of urgency for addressing those issues that black Americans routinely rate as their chief concerns. This competitive pressure would provide black voters with increased political options. Somehow this point was lost on Bond, who dug in his heels with mind-numbing intransigence. Over the next year and a half, the rift became too big to repair.

    Ironically, it was Bond who handpicked Mfume to lead the organization in 1995. At the time, the NAACP was foundering amidst charges of sexual harassment and economic improprieties. "We were four and a half million dollars in debt. We had scandal in the organization. Our very existence was threatened," recalls NAACP chairman, Julian Bond. "Kweisi Mfume was the last person we interviewed," continued Bond. "When he walked in the room, you could just see people thinking, we've got our man."

    Mfume promptly set about cutting the organization's employee base, raising money and organizing political coalitions. Within five years, the debt was gone and the NAACP was widely regarded as the most powerful political pressure group in the country. They alone had the ability to galvanize 50 million black votes. Members of the press found it all dazzling. "Mfume not only has righted the ship, he also has set it on a new course," fawned USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickam.

    Bond and Mfume essentially partnered with the Democratic Party to revitalize the organization. Not surprisingly, the rhetoric coming out of the NAACP became increasingly partisan. During a speech before 2,000 attendees at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Julian Bond proclaimed that President George W. Bush has "selected (political) nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection." During a 2003 appearance at the National Press Club, Bond referred to the Republican Party as "a crazed swarm of right-wing locusts" that have sought to "subvert, ignore, defy and destroy the laws that require an America which is bias-free." Later that night Bond dubbed the Republicans, "the white people's party."

    Following the event, Mfume confronted Bond with his fear that the organization had become too outwardly political. Soon thereafter, the IRS launched an investigation into whether Bond's remarks violated the organization's tax exempt status.

    The final tear came after the election. Mfume suggested sending a letter to President Bush, mapping out ways that they could work together to help the community. Bond rejected the idea. Mfume sent the letter anyway. To Bond this was unforgivable. A few weeks later, Bond had Mfume voted out. The message was clear: There is no room within the NAACP for intellectual diversity. Just loyal servitude to the Democratic Party.

    This is a crime. This is a shame. This is the sad state of the nation's most storied civil rights organization.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from stevielynn
    This article?

    Mfume gets the boot
    Armstrong Williams (archive)


    Yeah, that one.
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    I had read the remarks made by Mr. Mfume on the NAACP's website and there isn't a hint of being pushed out.

    But knowing politicians . . who really knows?

    To bad ya just can't trust em.

    steph
  10. by   fergus51
    Quote from stevielynn
    "It's a fine line," he said Friday. "Even though I'm not a journalist — I'm a commentator — I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it."



    I'd say honest.

    steph
    Honesty after being outed isn't something I admire too much.
  11. by   Thunderwolf
    I agree with you fergus.
  12. by   Roy Fokker
    More than the Administration, I blame/concerned Mr. Williams.

    I could expect this kind of BS from politicians - liberal or conservative.

    Not from other people....
  13. by   Mkue
    Williams, one of the leading black conservative voices in the country, was also to use his influence with other black journalists to get them to talk about No Child Left Behind.
    Sounds like a good idea to me.. to talk about No Child Left Behind
  14. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from Tigerlily
    Sounds like a good idea to me.. to talk about No Child Left Behind
    Hmm that was my thought too..the part about accepting money to do it DOES bother me.

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