The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, January 08, 2005  

Conservative Pundit on the Take

The detestable Howard Kurtz comes through today with comments about the scandalous news, first reported by USA Today, about a right-wing pundit on the take that even he couldn’t spin or suppress (“Administration Paid Commentator”):

The Education Department paid commentator Armstrong Williams $241,000 to help promote President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law on the air, an arrangement that Williams acknowledged yesterday involved “bad judgment” on his part.

In taking the money, funneled through the Ketchum Inc. public relations firm, Williams produced and aired a commercial on his syndicated television and radio shows featuring Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, touted Bush’s education policy, and urged other programs to interview Paige. He did not disclose the contract when talking about the law during cable television appearances or writing about it in his newspaper column.

Congressional Democrats immediately accused the administration of trying to bribe journalists. Williams’s newspaper syndicate, Tribune Media Services, yesterday canceled his column. And one television network dropped his program pending an investigation.

It appears debate coach George Will has met his match. I wonder, though, if Armstrong is the only right-wing “journalist” with his hand in the till.

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