The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968), civil rights leader
Armstrong Williams, a conservative television commentator demonstrated a complete and blatant disregard for his readers and listeners. He violated their trust and showed beyond a shadow of a lack of integrity and journalistic ethics. But, then he was no journalist.
Williams accepted $240,000 of tax-payer money from the Department of Education, which was funneled through the Ketchum public relations agency, to promote education reform.
According to USAToday, 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.
As a former public relations executive, The Misanthrope knows that this was a goldmine for Ketchum to help justify their $1million contract. They could merchandise the media results back to their client, which in English means tout what a good job the agency was doing to justify their costs.
Williams was a paid spokesperson pure and simple who did not feel any ethical compunction to disclose that information. Surprisingly, but not necessarily shocking, the pieces appear to fit rather nicely, Williams was a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court “Give Me a Gift” Justice Clarence Thomas (see Quack Quack regarding Thomas’ more than $40,000 in gifts).