This apology is brought to you by UPS: What can brown do for you?
Armstrong Williams issues a mea culpa…and then tries to weasel around it:
In 2003, I agreed to run a paid ad on my syndicated television show, promoting the Department of Educationâ€™s No Child Left Behind Act. I subsequently used my column space to support that legislation. This represents an obvious conflict of interests. People have used this conflict of interests to portray my column as being paid for by the Bush Administration. Nothing could be further from the truth.
At the same time, I understand that I exercised bad judgment in running paid advertising for an issue that I frequently write about in my column. People need to know that my column is uncorrupted by any outside influences. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my bad judgment, and to better explain the circumstances.
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 Educationâ€™s â€œNo Child Left Behindâ€ plan. I have long felt that school vouchers hold the greatest promise of ending the racial education gap in this country. We need to hold schools accountable for their failures and create incentives to change.
So, what Williams would like us to believe is that the $240,000 was for an ad buy on his syndicated TV show, which must have some hella great ratings to pull down that kind of cash.
Excuse me, but…bullshit
Hell, even a hack like Howie Kurtz points out the ugly truth:
In taking the money, funneled through the Ketchum Inc. public relations firm, Williams produced and aired a commercial on his syndicated television and radio shows featuring Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, touted Bush’s education policy, and urged other programs to interview Paige. He did not disclose the contract when talking about the law during cable television appearances or writing about it in his newspaper column.
The Education Department defended the contract, which Paige knew about in advance, as a minority outreach effort through Williams’s syndicated program, “The Right Side.”
“Our contract was for advertising,” said department spokesman John Gibbons. “Our intent was to reach out to minority audiences. Armstrong went out and talked about it — we didn’t have anything to do with that.”
But the contract also required Williams to “utilize his long term working relationship” with black producers to “encourage” them to “periodically address the No Child Left Behind Act.”
This wasn’t a quarter of a million dollar spot buy, it was payola. and the only reason other fringe minority pundits are getting all persnickety is because they’re afraid someone will start looking into their checking accounts for deposits other than the usual ones from the Heritage Foundation or the Claremont Institute.
On a related note, Williams also announced that he was changing his name to Sherwin-Williams™. No explanation was given.