Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: Bush: No More Paid Media!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bush: No More Paid Media!

Armstrong Williams
Maggie Gallagher
[insert name]
[insert name]
[insert name]

President Bush today stated in a press conference that his Cabinet secretaries will not pay any more media commentators to promote his agenda during his second term.

A tad late, considering the second of what may indeed be a host of pundits on the Administration's payroll was outed today just days after the initial scandal involving Armstrong Williams broke. Now that the media, both conventional and new, are digging deeper to expose any other undisclosed financial transactions between the government and members of the press, I don't think anyone would be surprised if more instances of this behavior pop up in the future.

How can pundits claim to be so ignorant when it comes to the shadiness of these deals they've struck? These are bright, well-spoken individuals who make a living using their brains, yet somehow they don't think it was improper to take money to espouse the views of those paying them, even without disclosing that fact to the public.

"I don't know -- It was a mistake," they say. They never thought to inform the public that they're adulterating their roles as members of an "independent" media. That's the worst excuse I've ever heard of. That's the kind of excuse a child uses when they are caught doing something wrong: "I didn't know I couldn't do that!"

As for the President, he was content to place the blame directly on his former Cabinet members. "We've got new leadership going to the Department of Education," he said in response to questions about what will happen to officials responsible for the scandals. Honestly, I'm surprised he aimed so high. He probably could have blamed some nameless, low-level flunkies rather than a Cabinet secretary. That's a strategy that has certainly worked in the past...

Reuters: Bush Says Won't Pay Commentators to Promote Agenda
Washington Post: Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract