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Saturday, January 08, 2005

An Ethics Issue

Having criticized liberals for supporting President Clinton’s perjury, traditionalists must take a stand against the Armstrong Williams scandal.

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Liberals are enraged (and delighted to have an attack issue) about revelations that the Department of Education paid columnist Armstrong Williams $240,000 to write favorable articles supporting Bush administration policy initiatives.

Traditionalists should be enraged, too.  We must hold ourselves to a higher moral standard than that of the bitter-end liberals who clung to the belief that President Clinton’s perjury was OK, because it originated in marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity.  Just as it was Republicans who told President Nixon that he should step down and, recently, urged Connecticut’s Republican Governor Rowland to resign, we must denounce use of taxpayer’s money for government propaganda. 

Whether it’s in a good or bad cause, it’s wrong.  That’s all that should matter to traditionalists.  It’s the liberal-socialists who advocate John Dewey’s pragmatism who say there is no right or wrong, just what happens to work for you; that the end justifies the means.  See Why Clinton Got a Pass: John Dewey and the Baby-Boomers.

Postings for January 7 and 8 on Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall provide background information I’ve not seen elsewhere.  Interestingly, the practice for which Armstrong Williams now stands rebuked was also employed during the Clinton administration, and the same PR firm did the work for both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Astonishingly, the New York Times in a January 8 article covers the issue fairly even-handedly.  Among othe things, reporter David D. Kirkpatrick writes:

“But public relations executives said that the government distribution of prepared news segments without on-air disclosures of their origin was a bipartisan practice that predated the Bush administration.

“The Clinton administration was probably even more active than the Bush administration” in distributing news segments promoting its policies, said Laurence Moskowitz, chairman and chief executive of Medialink, a major producer of promotional news segments. After the Government Accountability Office decision last spring, he said, his firm began advising government clients to disclose each tape’s nature in its script.”

Nonetheless, traditionalists can’t excuse the currently revealed case by saying that the Democrats are just as bad.