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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Conservative Commentators For Sale?
Jimmy Moore
January 30, 2005

First it was conservative African-American radio talk show host and columnist Armstrong Williams and I was disgusted.

Then it was yet another conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher and I was angered.

Now, it is a third conservative syndicated columnist Michael McManus and I am just plain flabbergasted.

Each of these "conservative commentators" have come under fire for taking money from governmental departments under President George W. Bush in the past few weeks. Two more departments are also looking into government contracts with other media personalities that may fall in the same category while a Congressional investigation is underway into these deals as well.

All I can say is what in the world is going on here? Say it isn't so!

Williams was paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind Act, Gallagher was paid $21,500 by the Department of Health and Human Services and $20,000 from the Justice Department to promote the president's marriage initiatives and McManus was paid $10,000 and his nonprofit group Marriage Savers received a $49,000 government grant from HHS to push Bush's marriage proposals.

In 2004 alone, more than $113 million was spent on public relations contracts and over $323 million was spent on them during Bush's first term in office.

Now that all of these secret deals with conservative columnists are out in the open, President Bush has called for members of his administration to cease with any such contracts in the future.

"I expect my Cabinet secretaries to make sure that that practice doesn't go forward. There needs to be independence," Bush said at a press conference last week. "All our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying ... commentators to advance our agenda."

He concluded, "Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."

I agree with that absolutely 100 percent, Mr. President.

So why did we have them in the first place?

This is the kind of propagandizing we would have expected to hear about from former President Bill Clinton's administration. Secretly paying liberal columnists and other media personalities to promote his agenda. Oh, wait a minute, he didn't have to! They did it for him already free of charge!

Even still, let this be a lesson learned in integrity. I am not questioning Bush's honesty in this, but the people he has in charge in his administration let him down. Big time!

While it does not appear anyone broke the law with these contracts, most people will be disappointed with the seemingly unethical use of taxpayer dollars. Yet, expect the Democrats to try to use this to beat Bush over the head some more (as if the entire 2004 presidential election wasn't enough!). They've even introduced legislation to restore ethical integrity in government contracts. Somebody pinch me because I must be dreaming if the Democrats want to claim the role of moral purists!

One conservative commentator and columnist is taking these revelation of government contracts to some of his colleagues in stride. He's decided to offer his services for bid on eBay.

Washington-based conservative talk show host Michael Graham has himself featured on eBay under a listing entitled "Conservative Talk Show Host For Sale."

"Hey--Where's MY gravy?" Graham exclaims in the description on eBay. "That's my question after finding out my fellow conservatives like Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher are on the 'cash for commentary' bandwagon. Why not me?"

Explaining that he has "bills to pay," Graham said he is offering his "services as a talk host, writer and pundit available quickly and easily right here on eBay" because he's a "true conservative capitalist."

"GOP, DNC, NRA, NOW, NAACP, heck, if the price is right, I'll even sing the praises of multi-level marketing. (Wait--let me think about that one.)," Graham quipped.

Declaring himself a "principled conservative, but I ain't no dummy," Graham revealed he would "disclose the fact that I'm being paid for my opinion, but the passion and professional presentation are all for sale!"

Graham said he would donate any proceeds from the auction of his "services" to the Fisher House, a group dedicated to helping wounded soldiers and their families.

As of Sunday, there were 29 bids with the current bid up to $1,025.77 as the end of the eBay auction was approaching on February 2.

In this wacky world of government contracts to pay for commentator opinions, Graham may be on to something here.

At least he's being honest about it.

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You know, Haywood exhibits all the characteristics that Ann Coulter outlines in her latest book, "How To Talk To A Liberal (If You Must)." Check it out sometime and you'll see just how dead-on she is about these people. . . .

Read the rest.

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