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Armstrong Williams Column Axed by TMS

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MSgt213 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:47 AM
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Armstrong Williams Column Axed by TMS
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: "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.)


"I understand the decision," Williams said when reached by E&P. He also said he would not be returning the $240,000.

Williams said the $240,000 in payments were made to promote NCLB as part of an advertising campaign on his syndicated "The Right Side" TV show and that this ad campaign was disclosed to the show's viewers. But he acknowledged that the payments weren't disclosed to other audiences, including readers of his newspaper column. Williams also acknowledged that he mentioned NCLB in some of his 2004 columns, but he said he didn't make NCLB a "centerpiece" in them.

The columnist plans to start trying to self-syndicate his feature this Monday. How many of his nearly 50 newspaper clients does he think will keep the feature? "That remains to be seen," Williams replied. "But I always feel I can sell my product better than anyone else."

He added: "I'm wounded now, but, guess what, wounds heel."
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Wabbajack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:48 AM
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1. This scandal is really gonna stick
Williams is apologizes and admitting guilt, can't talk their way out.
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MSgt213 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 02:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. CNN brings this guy on all the time to debate stuff. I have to wonder
if they will do the responsible thing and not have him on anymore. Let him work for the White House press office.
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:51 AM
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2. Links to his four NCLB columns provided by the Reid WAR ROOM!!
Media Release just out from Reid's office:

For Immediate Release

DATE: Thursday, January 06, 2005

CONTACT: Phil Singer

Lawmakers Demand President Bush STOP Paying
Journalists to Promote Administration Policies

Reid, Lautenberg, Kennedy Also Ask President If His
Administration Has Paid Other Journalists to Promote
other Policies, including Social Security Privatization

WASHINGTON, DC In light of alarming news that the Bush administration paid a popular conservative radio commentator and columnist almost a quarter of a million dollars to skew his reporting to promote the No Child Left Behind Act, United States Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) sent a letter to President Bush today demanding that he recover the money paid to Armstrong Williams, citing federal laws that prohibit such activity. In addition, the lawmakers also asked President Bush to disclose any payments to other journalists to push Administration policies, including President Bushs decision to privatize Social Security.

In news reports today, it was revealed conservative pundit and commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 to promote President Bushs No Child Left Behind Act on his syndicated radio program and in addition, to urge other pundits to routinely hype the law during their own appearances on other programs.

In their letter to President Bush, the Lawmakers cite federal laws that prohibit taxpayer funds from being spent by the Executive Branch for Covert Propaganda.

In addition to the illegality of these actions taken by your Administration, we believe that the act of bribing journalists to bias their news in favor of government policies undermines the integrity of our democracy. Actions like this were common in the Soviet Union, but until now, thought to be long extinguished in our country, wrote the lawmakers in their letter to President Bush sent today.

These revelations regarding Mr. Williams are the latest and most disturbing in a series of actions by your Administration to manipulate public opinion through covert propaganda. On May 19, 2004, the GAO found that your Administration illegally spent taxpayer funds on covert propaganda by paying Ketchum Incorporated to produce fake news stories promoting the image of the new Medicare law.

The links below are examples of syndicated columns published by the Tribune Media Company from Armstrong Williams in support of the No Child Left Behind Act. ... ... ... ...

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susanna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:58 AM
Response to Original message
3. Good. (n/t)
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 01:58 AM by susanna
on edit, add (n/t).
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