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January 10, 2005

"There are others"

David Corn at the Nation says that Armstrong Williams told him that he (Williams) is not the only commentator receiving taxpayer money to toe the Bush administration line.  Oh, do tell, Armstrong!  Do tell!  (He says he won't.  Bummer.)

Meanwhile, the White House is trying to calm the storm, suggesting that, actually, Williams was the only one.  But check out the weasel words that White House spokesman Scott McClellan uses in doing so:

  • "The White House said Monday that the case of the Education Department paying a conservative commentator to plug its policies was an isolated incident, not a practice widely used by the Bush administration."  Ah.  "Not widely used."  But that surely doesn't mean "only used this once."  If McClellan had meant "only once," he would have said it.  "Isolated incident" isn't much better.  "Isolated" can sometimes mean "solitary"; but it can also mean "separated from others."  Aha!  "Others," eh?
  • "McClellan said the news media 'ought to be reporting in an objective, unbiased and fair manner.'"  But of course, as Williams himself has said, "I'm a commentator, I'm not a journalist."  So the Bush administration can pay off the "commentators," and yet McClellan can still urge the media to "report" in an unbiased manner, and there's no inconsistency, because "commentators" don't "report."
  • "McClellan said he knew of no other contract in the administration like the one Williams had."  Well, that's an easy one.  First, just because McClellan doesn't "know" about them doesn't mean they're not there.  Second, what about the contracts that aren't "like" Williams' contract, but are "kinda like" or "sorta like" or even "a bit like" it?  McClellan is leaving himself lots and lots of room for when another one of these things comes out.

We're looking forward to the next revelation in this exciting matter -- and to Scott McClellan's comments about it.

Posted by David at 11:13 PM in National | Permalink

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