January 10, 2005

Williams-gate fallout: Armstrong apologizes

Reaction to the Armstrong Williams-Department of Education scandal was swift and furious over the weekend, as I wasn't the only one to make a lot of noise on the issue (LaShawn Barber, Michelle Malkin, Rob Bernard, DC Thornton, Amy Ridenour, Sisu, Nate Livingston, Expertise, Booker Rising, Eduwonk, Wizbang, The American Prospect's Tapped column, Powerline & others too numerous to mention).

In the wake of Friday's revelations, Tribune Media Services, who syndicated his column to newspapers nationally, abruptly dropped his column, and most likely, his television show, The Right Side with Armstrong Williams (syndicated on Sinclair stations and aired nationally on cable/satellite networks TVOne and The Liberty Channel) will be cancelled as well. No word on his radio show, which airs on a handful of stations across the nation.

Williams was apologetic in this morning's column, appearing on TownHall.com.

I understand that I exercised bad judgment in running paid advertising for an issue that I frequently write about in my column. People need to know that my column is uncorrupted by any outside influences. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my bad judgment, and to better explain the circumstances.

The fact is, I run a small business. I am CEO and manage the syndication and advertising for my television show. In between juggling my commentaries and media appearances, I stepped over the line. This has never happened before. In fact, my company has never worked on a government contract. Nor have we ever received compensation for an issue that I subsequently reported on. This will never happen again. I now realize that I have to create inseparable boundaries between my role as a small businessman and my role as an independent commentator.

I accept full responsibility for my lack of good judgment. I am paying the price. Tribune Media has cancelled my column. And I have learned a valuable lesson. I just want to assure you that this will never happen again, and to ask for your forgiveness.

People have accused me, in various forums over the weekend, of wanting to 'throw Armstrong under the bus.' Nothing could be further from the truth. I certainly want conservative blacks of all stripes and from all quarters to thrive and succeed.

But at the same time, when ethical lines are crossed, I will call people on them. Period.

Many on the conservative side of the coin have railed on about people like Bill Moyers receiving tax monies to promote a political agenda in the past, yet those same voices are silent now.

The bottom line is that wrong is wrong.

I appreciate Williams' apology this morning, and his stock certainly rises a bit as a result. He has owned up to his mistake and is willing to move forward. I, too, am willing to move forward, and while I can certainly forgive his shortcoming in this case, I cannot ignore it.

I stand by my statement of Friday, when I indicated that his word would be suspect in the future.

While his apology appears genuine, only his actions as time moves forward will tell me if he truly has learned his lesson and is worth listening to again.

(More analysis of the apology: LaShawn Barber & others)

Posted by mhking at January 10, 2005 07:56 AM

I couldn't agree more. No "yeah-but's" are needed.

Posted by: Michael Gallaugher at January 10, 2005 09:54 AM

I can't believe the wailings of the liberals on this board --- "I can never trust Williams again because he was paid for an advertisement!"

ALL radio shows, tv shows are PAID for advertising you brainwashed fools!

All hosts talk about their advertisers also during their programs --- it is expected in many cases and it is nothing unusual, rare, or below the board --- try listening to a LEFTIST SHOW -- they are easy to find on every tv and most radio news shows.

I see the left-wing radicals in this country have WON the case against the FIRST AMENDMENT and now if you are Christian abnd Conservative you are not allowed the FREE exercise of your rights.

Well I have one (two?) words for all of you who scream out that Willimas is GUILTY!!!


The Second Amendment assures us that WE, The People will retain the First Amendment and all the rest.

Posted by: spadata at January 10, 2005 10:07 AM
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