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No Columnist Left Behind

Conservative black commentator Armstrong Williams got caught with his hand in the cookie jar:

CHICAGO – A conservative columnist has been dropped by a major syndication service because he accepted a payment from the Bush administration to promote the No Child Left Behind law to fellow blacks and to give the education secretary media time.

Armstrong Williams, one of the nation’s leading black conservative voices, has acknowledged that a company he runs was paid $240,000 by the Education Department, and he called criticism of his relationship with the department “legitimate.”

Rightly so.

But politicians have always tried to use the media to their advantage. In fact, this may be just a streamlined form of the cozy dance liberal journalists have done with Democratic administrations over the years–George Stephanopoulos, Bill Moyers, Paul Begala, James Carville, and Sidney Blumenthal come to mind. The Bush plan cuts right to the chase: Instead of a lot of sucking up, hoping and angling for a job in the administration so they can someday cash in with a tell-all book, now commentators can just line up at the back door of the White House, collect their fees directly, and be on their way.

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