From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Armstrong Williams -- bought by the White House

January 7, 2005 7:36 AM

Armstrong Williams, a conservative Christian, was paid $240,000 to promote Bush's No Child Left Behind on his television show. Williams also ecouraged his colleagues at America's Black Forum "to periodically address" the program.

Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: "It's propaganda."

The amazing thing is that Armstrong Williams is a radical Republican columnist. No Child Left Behind is so unpopular the White House had to pay their own to promote it.

More from the archive in Propaganda.

Armstrong Williams -- bought by the White House (01.07.2005)

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Read the 11 comments.

Tom from Madison:

This is another radical departure from the former conservative traditions of limited government and fiscal responsibility. In a democracy, tax dollars should NEVER be spent on promotion to achieve political objectives. This is not an appropriate role for the Federal government to play.

This is simple abuse of Executive Branch power. Where are the principled conservatives on this issue?

Fri Jan 7 2005 9:19 AM

Right Wing Robby:

As usual the left completely ignores and forgets the fact the their own senate big shot, Kennedy, was standing strongly with the President. It was an issue that crossed party lines. But, now they forget all that and attack, blame and hate. Nothing new here, keep moving along.

Fri Jan 7 2005 9:50 AM

Tom from Madison:


When is it OK for taxpayer dollars to be spent promoting a political agenda? [E.g. giving Armstrong Williams $240M to talk up No Child Left Behind on his show]

I thought both LIBERALS and CONSERVATIVES would answer that question "NEVER." Do you disagree?

Fri Jan 7 2005 2:28 PM

Tom from Madison:

Sorry the figiure is $240,000.

Fri Jan 7 2005 2:29 PM

Paul Stone:

I'm confused. Did Kennedy spend $240,000 of taxpayer funds on a campaign promoting "No Child Left Behind"? If so, I would be strongly opposed to that.

Fri Jan 7 2005 5:27 PM

Tom from Madison:

The Bush Administration paid Armstrong WIlliams $240K to promote No Child Left Behind [NCLB] on his show in 2004. Apparently they thought they needed to drum up support in the Black Community.

Kennedy originally supported NCLB back in 2001. His support was based on Bush's administration promises of funding. When Bush didn't fund the initiative, Democrats withdrew their support saying unfunded mandates unfairly put a burden on local school districts. Bush's response was to use taxpayer $ in a lobbying effort.

The person who blame is Bush. His administration is paying to lobby for his own proposed legislation using OUR TAX DOLLARS!

Sat Jan 8 2005 6:46 AM

Dave E.:

It begs the question, "Who else is bought and paid for with taxpayer money?"

Nothing new here? How about inching closer towards state-run press and see how that feels. I hear it works well in places like North Korea and Cuba. Certainly greases the skids to get your policy messages out! And I'm gonna go ahead and bust out the F word here. If no one can see any parallel with the state buying off "journalists" and fascism, then I've got a bridge I wanna sell you.

A friend once told me he believes there is no greater threat to the democratic process than that of media consolidation and further deregulation. Bush has proven unscrupulous with ethics that are inconvenient to him; as the media continues to centralize it's just gonna be easier for the Grand Old Party zealots to blast nationally whatever message of the day makes them warm and fuzzy inside.

Public trust my ass.

Sat Jan 8 2005 7:05 AM

raging red:

Once again Robby completely misses the point. It's almost as if he doesn't actually read the posts; he just sees certain key words ("No Child Left Behind") and he's ready with his knee-jerk Republican response. The post has nothing to do with the merits of the No Child Left Behind act, so pointing out that Ted Kennedy supported it is entirely irrelevant. The post is about the ethics of giving government funds (a.k.a. taxpayers' money) to hired mouthpieces to advocate for the President's political agendas. But apparently Robby doesn't have anything to say about that.

Sat Jan 8 2005 10:56 AM


Mr . "this will not happen on my watch" pretends to take the buck, but he never even fires anyone when something like this happens.

This would be like President Clinton's people paying Dan Rather to sell small government when he was in office.

I'm a libertarian and very sad the both parties are equally in love with "big government".

Sat Jan 8 2005 10:17 PM

Tom from Madison:

The Bush Republicans are some of the worst hypocrites this country has ever known. Abuse of process is absolutely OK as long as it's being perpetrated by the people Bush is backing.

Apparently Republicans have sold their souls to Karl Rove. "Win at all cost!" seems to be the mantra, even if it means shredding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Given W's rusumé, it's not real surprising to find some gaps between what he preaches and what he practices.

Sun Jan 9 2005 8:23 PM

Ben F:

Very relavent post, Jim.
I trackbacked to this post from my blog, if you don't mind. (I think you've got a very good blog, keep up the good work!)

Mon Jan 10 2005 10:28 AM

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