Friday, February 11, 2005

Armstrong Williams Dumped, As Syndicates Address "Payola" Scandal

Armstrong Williams, one of three conservative "journalists" outed as being paid by the Bush administration to tout administration programs, has been dumped by the syndicate that carried his column.

Tribune Media Services dumped Williams, barely a month after USA Today reported that Williams received $241,000 in 2004 from the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind education act.

And, according to a Jan. 28 post on Editor & Publisher's website, John Twohey, Tribune Media vice president of editorial and operations, sent a letter to other columnists Tribune syndicates, warning them to avoid a similar fate.

"Recent news events have cast a national spotlight on the subject of media credibility. I’m referring, in particular, to disclosures that two syndicated columnists -- one associated with TMS -- accepted money from the federal government to promote White House initiatives. These developments underscore for those of us involved in the creation and distribution of editorial content to newspapers the importance of adhering to the highest ethical standards," Twohey wrote. "Credibility is one of TMS’ most valuable assets, and we expect writers whose work we syndicate to avoid conflicts of interest or any activities that would damage their credibility and that of TMS. Those who enter into relationships or engage in activities that compromise their journalistic independence and integrity will jeopardize their relationships with TMS."

***

Williams was one of three conservative "journalists" to be caught in the so-called "Payola" scandal. What came of the others?

Megan Gallagher received $21,500 in 2002 from the Department of Health and Human Services for marriage-themed writing projects. Gallagher, however, has been retained by Universal Press Syndicate, which E&P reported is creating guidelines for its creators (including op-ed columnists) covering matters such as potential conflicts of interest.

A third columnist, Michael McManus, received $10,200 from the Health and Human Services plus $49,000 from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which had in turn received a federal grant to encourage unwed parents to marry. McManus, who self-syndicates, has been dropped by three newspapers (out of about 50) that carried his column.

***

"The principle in jeopardy is independence," Bob Steele, a media ethics expert at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, told The Guardian of London on Feb. 7. "Journalists are responsible for seeking and reporting the truth and we should not be compromising that duty by working for the government."

JABBS couldn't have said it better.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean? Sad day for the democratic party. A valentine for the republicans. I am at a loss for words. I think I am seeing the death of a party i have respected my entire life. It should rename itself so as not to cast a shadow over what it used to be.

Where are the clinton followers. what are they thinking? can they form their own party?

in a period of time where the republican party will move farther to the right, the democrats, the definition of an opposition party, have determined it is in their best interests to move farther left rather than grabbing the center. 2+2 now equals 5.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad that somebody as bright as jabbs obviously is does not even take the time to discern the difference between what Williams and Gallagher did. Williams was paid to promote a policy that he already agreed with. Pay to play. Never a good thing. But, 3 minutes of simple research would show that Gallagher was contracted, because of her work and writings in a field, to help compose some informational fliers for the Dept. Quote simply, there was probably somebody that worked in "corporate America" that could have done the same thing, but all of these moonbats bent out of shape now would have just screamed crony capitalism, or something like that. There is nothing to them other than to hate.

I can never tell if liberals just do not want to know the whole story, or are just willfully obtuse. Either way, their shrill partisanship is proving to be their downfall, a party bereft of ideas.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the lefties in the blogosphere are so enraptured with themselves for outing some pseudo-journalist that failed to follow the lead of the mainstream media and ask questions from a different perspective. How grand they are at taking down somebody who does not toe their party line. Once again, an example of the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech only applying to those that agree with the left.

On a similar vein, would it not be a tad bit more noteworthy that the head of CNN's News Division, resigned due to the scandalous allegations that he made in the overseas conference, where he accused the US military of targeting journalists? When you have Rep. Frank and Sen. Dodd not even willing to defend you, it is patently clear that the driving force behind their news division had a decidedly anti-American, and in the very least, an anti-military, bias.

Even more telling is the freaking "so called" liberal media's refusal to even address his comments. If is walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, something tells me it is a duck, and in this case, for those of you unable to follow a rudimentary analogy, this is proof positive that CNN was a proud member of the liberal media.

But, please, continue your crusade to "out" people. It seems that the party of tolerance sure does enjoy doing that.

9:46 PM  

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