Armstrong Williams

Dear readers:

In 2003, I agreed to run a paid ad on my syndicated television show, promoting the Department of Education?s No Child Left Behind Act. I subsequently used my column space to support that legislation. This represents an obvious conflict of interests. People have used this conflict of interests to portray my column as being paid for by the Bush Administration.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

At the same time, 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.

In 2003 Ketchum Communications contacted a small PR firm that I own, Graham Williams Group, to buy ad space on a television show that I own and host. The ad was to promote The Department of Education?s  ?No Child Left Behind? plan. I have long felt that school vouchers hold the greatest promise of ending the racial education gap in this country. We need to hold schools accountable for their failures and create incentives to change. That is why I have vigorously supported school vouchers for the past decade?in print, on TV, during media appearances and in lectures.  I believe that school vouchers represent the greatest chance of stimulating hope for young, inner city school children?often of color.  In fact, I am a board member of Black Americans for Educational Options (BAEO), because I feel that school choice plans hold the promise of a new civil rights movement. 
In the past I have used my column space to convey the promise of school options. I continued to do so, even after receiving money to run a series of ads on my television show promoting the ?No Child Left Behind? act. I now realize that I exercised poor judgment in continuing to write about a topic which my PR firm was being paid to promote.

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.

Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Williams is a widely-syndicated columnist, CEO of the Graham Williams Group, and hosts the Armstrong Williams Show. He is the author of Reawakening Virtues.
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