Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Armstrong Williams scandal

Armstrong Williams, a black conservative commentator, received $241,000 to promote George Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative.

Read the story in the Wasington Post first.

Then read about the outrage in the blogosphere (courtesy of The Moderate Voice).

And now for my take on the story:

(1) The No Child Left Behind Act is garbage legislation. Education has traditionally been left to the states, but now it's being federalized to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. George Bush should be ashamed of himself for being a bigger liberal than Democrats. No wonder why we're running such a huge budget deficit!

(2) There's a whole army of lobbyists in Washington whose opinions can be bought for money. So I don't see the big deal if Armstrong wants his share. If someone wanted to pay me $241,000 to promote some cause, I'd take the money. There's nothing wrong with making money. It should be pointed out that Williams wasn't paid directly by the government, but by a private PR firm.

Of course, it's understandable if people no longer respect Mr. Williams' opinions. And I understand why he was fired from his newpaper columnist job, because his employer thought he was being paid to write his own opinions, but it turns out he was being paid to write George Bush's opinions.

(3) It's a shame that a conservative black guy has to be the focus of public anger. I don't know exactly what Williams stands for, but if he's labeled conservative then he can't be all bad.

(4) I am outraged that taxpayers were footing the bill. If you read the article, you will note that at least $700,000 of public money was used to pay a public relations firm to promote legislation that right thinking Americans don't agree with. I say this is clearly an abuse of public funds. This is the real scandal, and I hope that people in the Bush administration get fired.


Greg said...

"Right thinking Americans" can't support NCLB? Sure, a lot of people don't like the legislation, spanning the political spectrum, but that expression sounds more like the John Birch Society than a self-proclaimed libertarian. Aren't you guys supposed to hate political correctness? That's basically the successor to "right thinking."

rox_publius said...

Either you, or the Olympian has your facts wrong:

"Armstrong Williams, one of the nation's leading black conservative voices, has acknowledged that a company he runs was paid $240,000 by the Education Department, and he called criticism of his relationship with the department "legitimate.""

Mr. X said...

(3) It's a shame that a conservative black guy has to be the focus of public anger. I don't know exactly what Williams stands for, but if he's labeled conservative then he can't be all bad..

This is the second time that you've wasted space (and your readers' time) with a statement that says, "I don't know what I'm talking about, but I have an opinion anyway." The first, for those late to the party, was when you said that you didn't know why Bush's judicial nominees were filibustered, but you thought he should renominate them anyway.

Please don't post just to fill space. It gives the impression that you aren't very thoughtful and intelligent.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...being helpful...

Jeremy said...


R.P. Garrett said...

I personnally think Armstrong Williams made a huge mistake in taking the money. One has the right to be a conservative or liberal political commentator. As a black man, I admire blacks who take the conservative stance because they usually are willing to stick up for their beliefs no matter how much grief they get from "our black leaders." Justice Thomas is another black conservative I admire (eventhough I may disagree with some of his positions.) He stands up for what he believes no matter what. I think he has a better sense of self than those who attack him give him credit for.

However, credibility and integrity are still relevant(although it may not seem so today). Williams or any other journalist has the responsibility to be as objective as possible in their reporting and commentary. When he took the money, that credibility was lost and it will be very difficult to get back. It's easy to look at the short term gain but when we fall prey to it, we usually take it in the shorts in the long run (believe me I can relate to that).

I'm impressed by your blog. Especially the number of blogs you post and the huge number of responses you get. I just started my blog about a week ago. I'd like to know how you've marketed your blog to get so many comments. Any advice, I'd like to read about it. Also, feel free to drop by my blog to comment as you see fit. I haven't "officially" declared my political leanings mainly due to my military status (I'd like to stay as neutral as possible although that is getting harder to do nowadays.) I'll wait until I'm out of the military to "officially" declare who I am politically.

Anyway, keep up the good work!!! Don't let the negative blogs get to you!!!