So the Bush Administration paid Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.
The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.
Williams said Thursday he understands that critics could find the arrangement unethical, but "I wanted to do it because it's something I believe in."
Excuse me, but that's pure crap. If a liberal had been caught doing this, we'd be hearing wails of scandal and payola and demands for an investigation.
This will rightly also attract more serious attention to the Administration's other pet projects and to Williams' connection to the White House. It doesn't matter if he "believes in" NCLB or not.
The contract may be illegal "because Congress has prohibited propaganda," or any sort of lobbying for programs funded by the government, said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "And it's propaganda."
Propaganda is not, in fact, illegal. Propaganda that is hidden or covert in some way is. And this was certainly hidden.
Who ever authorized the payments should at least lose their job. And Williams should be made to return the payments and deal with whatever the ramifications of his actions are.
Let's see how the Administration handles this. It will go a long way to telling us how the next four years are likely to pan out.