Conservative commentator Armstrong Williams accepts $240,000 from the Department of Education to shill for the No Child Left Behind act, and now he’s surprised that people are shocked and outraged about details of the arrangement.
For my money the most pro-active reaction to the Williams payola scandal seems to be coming from Buzzmachines’s Jeff Jarvis who is filing a flurry of Freedom of Information Act requests. The information he gathers will be especially interesting since this New York Times article implies that practice of financing journalists of creating pseudo-news reports predates the Bush administration. Who else has been getting deals like Williams? Buzzmachine is going to find out.
In the last paragraph of the Times story Armstrong Williams has this to say, “I have realized, you know what? I am part of this media elite club, and I have to be more responsible”
Apparently given that Williams’ syndicated column was dropped as will (most likely) his TV show and appearances, ‘was‘ and ‘should have been‘ seem like more accurate terms.
Jarvis also notes that Williams’ story should be a cautionary tale for the blogosphere. Amen…