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01/08/2005 Archived Entry: "Armstrong Williams"
Editor and Publisher informs its readership, "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." The termination results from a scandal....
....in which the black conservative pundit is revealed as receiving $240K from the Bush Administration (the U.S. Department of Education, to be specific) to promote the Bush-pushed No Child Left Behind education-reform law on his TV and radio shows. In short, the BushCo used taxpayer money to bribe a prominent commentator into backing their policies.
Williams defended himself during an appearance yesterday (01/07) on CNN's "Crossfire" with Paul Begala and Robert Novak. In her satirical treatment entitled "No Armstrong Williams Left Behind," the Wonkette quotes an excerpt from the Crossfire "interview", Paul Begala brought up the Bush administration's less figuratively Orwellian history: BEGALA: "The Bush administration has now on two occasions been cited by the Government Accountability Office for violating something called the Publicity and Propaganda Act, spending our taxpayers' money on propaganda, that is, putting out information, but not telling you that it's from the government. Now there's calls for this relationship to be investigated in the same way. Don't you think that the administration has a problem when, on two prior occasions, they've been cited for violating the Publicity and Propaganda Act?" WILLIAMS: "I. . . can easily sit here and criticize the administration."
The Wonkette comments, Of course, he's paid not to. Indeed, later, when Bob Novak wondered whether this incident might lead stations to drop Williams' syndicated talk show, he confirmed: "I think the marketplace should decide" the fate of his show. And why not? It worked for his political beliefs.