Friday, January 07, 2005



By now, I should be so used to these stories as to be bored by them. But I find this story to be particularly disturbing. In order to promote Bush's proposed NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND bill, the administration payed prominent black journalist Armstrong Williams a quarter of a million dollars to regularly promote the bill on his TV show and in op-ed pieces (he is a regular contributer to a number of publications, including USA TODAY).

This story is appalling for a couple of reasons. First it is highly unethical, not to mention illegal, for the government to use propaganda or any other means of lobbying, for programs funded by the government. But what makes this especially disturbing and dangerous, is it's deliberate subversion of the free press for propaganda purposes.

A free and adversary press is the primary and most vital means of protecting citizens from abuse at the hands of the government, the rich, and the powerful. When the government subverts the press to it's own end, or a journalist allows himself to be subverted, it is a direct threat to the credibility of the press. It weakens the ability of the press to protect us. After all, few of us will act on information we have reason to believe is less than credible. Is it any wonder that young people list a comedy show (Jon Stewart's THE DAILY SHOW) as their primary and most trusted source of news.

Now, if that doesn't scare you, you're damn near fearless! Or foolish, take your pick!

We just have to paint all conservative journalists with the Williams Paintbrush -

"How much did the Bush Administration Pay You to Say That?"
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