Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 9, 2005
POLITICS: Payola

Now, as I've long argued, the fact that a thing is indefensible, illegal and wrong does not always make it a capital offense. But let us not lose sight of the fact that when a thing is indefensible, wrong and almost certainly illegal, we should denounce it.

In that vein, I can't imagine what defense there is for the Bush Administration using $240,000 of taxpayer money to buy the support of a conservative radio host for the No Child Left Behind Act, and if I were Armstrong Williams, I'd get myself a good criminal lawyer real fast, because the federal criminal laws can be very broad when it comes to taking something the government should not have been giving out. Shame on him, shame on whoever authorized the payment, and - though this should not be a defense - shame on any prior administration that did the same thing. This is way beyond the usual esoteric question of, say, the president traveling to drum up support for his policies, or some such example of politicians using our money to promote the policies we elected them to enact. This is just graft, and should be treated accordingly.

UPDATE: Williams tells his side of the story, which he frames as accepting paid advertising:

In 2003 Ketchum Communications contacted a small PR firm that I own, Graham Williams Group, to buy ad space on a television show that I own and host. The ad was to promote The Department of Education’s “No Child Left Behind” plan.

I wonder how many ads the federal government airs to promote its policies - the most obvious would be the anti-drug ads.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:33 PM | Politics 2005 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Crank,
Seems the condemnation of this is unanimous. At least blogs and mainstream media are in agreement that this is wrong. However, I haven't heard politicians from either party slamming either Williams or the administration. The silence leads me to think this is nothing new.

Posted by: LargeBill at January 9, 2005 9:51 PM

Kudos to Crank for hitting on this.

As for LargeBill, perhaps the politicians aren't hitting on it because they don't need to. The press are hitting it unanimously, the blogs are hitting it unanimously, so the politican's don't need to huff and puff to make it an issue.

Wait a second, in all the articles I have read, I have seen many examples of politicians denouncing it.

So what exactly is LargeBill talking about?

I wouldn't put this type of mislead past the Clinton Administration, or any politician for that matter....but apparently I don't have to put misleading past LargeBill either.

Posted by: C Giddy at January 10, 2005 10:33 AM

I'm sure it's Clinton's fault.

Posted by: kb at January 11, 2005 7:34 AM
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