These must be trying times for those 200-percent Americans for whom it is an article of faith that the liberal media elite have made a travesty of the First Amendment. That belief has been the mother's milk that has nurtured such troubadours of the loony right as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly.
Now we learn that the self-proclaimed guardians of the hen house have turned out to be if not foxes, at least weasels. And we've been paying some of them. Or more precisely, the Bushies -- the moral values crowd -- have been paying them. With our money.
First out of the administration's closet was Armstrong Williams, a radio and television babbler and syndicated newspaper columnist, who was paid $240,000 to pimp for Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, a monkey wrench that was tossed into the public education system in lieu of money a couple of years ago.
Williams, a former aide to Clarence Thomas, one of the great legal minds of this or any generation, used his column to tout the wonderfully incompetent Rod Paige, then Secretary of Education, and made guest appearances on radio and television shows to evangelize for NCLB.
When his whoring for the administration was revealed by USA Today, Williams tried to justify it on the grounds that it was something he believed in. He declined, however to return the ill-gotten money, arguing instead that he'd earned it. And in a sense he had, in the same sense that a street corner prostitute earns what a john pays her.
When Williams was exposed for what he is, there was speculation that he was simply one of many journalists bought and paid for by the administration propaganda machine, and while that may be, so far he is simply one of few to be outed.
He was recently joined by Maggie Gallagher, also a syndicated newspaper columnist, who sold herself for a mere $21,500 to promote marriage for the Health and Human Services Department. She should have checked with Williams before settling for such a pittance.
Keep in mind that before these frauds were exposed, we learned that the administration had hired professional actors to impersonate reporters. The actors were taped reciting material touting administration programs, and the tapes were then shipped to television stations for use as "news" reports.
Back to the media whores. In the amateur, (if that's the right word for it) division, in that he apparently worked free, we find Charles Krauthammer, a right wing essayist for The Washington Post. Turns out that Krauthammer went to the White House to help out with the president's inauguration speech earlier this year. Then after Dubya had delivered the speech, Krauthammer dropped by Fox News -- an administration brothel -- to praise the results of his and others' handiwork.
Modest fellow that he is, Krauthammer didn't mention his own role in helping to craft the speech, which played to mixed reviews, but triggered a worshipful gusher by long-time Bush family buddy David Broder, also of The Washington Post.
In Krauthammer's defense, it can be argued that he was simply carrying on a tradition. Back in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was challenging Jimmy Carter for the presidency, George Will, who also toils in The Post's vineyards, helped coach Reagan for his first debate with Carter. Then, after the bout ended, Will trotted over to ABC-TV where he gave the Gipper's performance a glowing review.
And, like Krauthammer, Will graciously did not mention his own contribution to the cause.
After his dual role was revealed, Williams' syndicate dumped him. If The Post chastised either Will or Krauthammer for working both sides of the street, it has gone unreported.
Rossie is associate editor of the Press & Sun-Bulletin. His column appears on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
© 2005 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin