Monday, August 01, 2005

Williams Admits Error In Accepting Federal Contract To Promote Bush Policy

Nearly seven months after his controversial contracts with the federal government came close to destroying his career, conservative pundit Armstrong Williams says the experience has prompted him to make adjustments in his life.

In a July 28 interview with The Hill, the 45-year-old commentator admitted he made a huge error in accepting Department of Education contracts to promote President Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. Williams admitted that he should have disclosed the existence of the Education Department contracts in his weekly column.

The Bush administration paid Williams $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same. The uncovering of the Williams payment was the first of several such practices for one year. The Senate is considering a similar measure.


But Williams told The Hill that a bitterness lingers about how he was treated by the media and fellow conservatives.

Before the federal-contract flap, Williams said, "I had put everything on the line, defending the right, supporting the right. … None of the conservative [groups] came to my rescue. I was alone."


After USA Today first broke the story, on Jan. 7, Williams didn’t initially understand the gravity of the situation. "For a while, I was in a state of shock," he said. "Until colleagues of mine started to tell me, 'This is a problem.’"

Democrats in Congress lambasted Williams and the Bush administration. Media experts predicted that Williams could not recover from such a fiasco, which in typical Washington hyperbole was labeled "ArmstrongGate." Tribune Media Services told Williams it was halting distribution of his column.

To his dismay, the story lingered longer than Williams expected. "The story had incredible legs," he said.


Blogger Michael said...

The best part of this post is Williams' stunned and hurt reaction that after everything he's given to "the right" they didn't come to save him!


So is Williams devoted to reporting the truth or promoting right-wing? And is there anyone (including Williams, himself) who actually believes this guy is anything other than a Republican mouthpiece?

3:47 PM  

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