Saturday, January 8, 2005

Bush the law-breaker

It's bad enough for a commentator to be paid by someone other than his employer to plug a position. However, when the person singing the check is the US Government (read:taxpayers, or you and me), it's just plain wrong. In fact it's illegal. As in bad.

Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAYSeeking to build support among black families for
its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit
$240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to
urge other black journalists to do the same.

The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB),
required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.
What's worse, this is annother example of the Bush administration's 4-year-old mentality. As diarist Michael in Chicago points out on DailyKos:

[four year-old:]

The Secret Action:Swipe a cookie before dinner even though
mom and dad said you couldn't have one.

When Caught:In a round about way, admit you did
something bad, but that you were really hungry.

The Actions:Eat the cookie anyway, then go


The Secret Action:Williams, a prominent commentator, is
paid $240,000 to promote No Child Left Behind in his national television show in
obvious violation of journalistic ethics.

When Caught:Williams says it was a poor choice and
showed bad judgment, but that he "believed" in NCLB.

The Actions:Williams refuses to return the taxpayer
money, noting that "he earned it."

Of course, maybe this law-breaking is like "jaywalking." I'll go ask Enid Greene.

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