ARMSTRONG: WEAK MORALS? BUT OF COURSE...
...he's a Rape-ublican, dontcha know! However, even though 'Pubes like Joe Scarborough are making an even-handed call for pay-2-propagandize to at least be investigated and at most totally cease, this practice will not stop. Everyone who criticizes poor Armstrong Williams (I say "poor" because for all the headache this is causing him, he should've bargained for a lot more money) points out that if he had simply disclosed that he was being paid, all would be well--no scandal would've ensued.
What will happen is that unprincipled pundits will continue to take dough from whoever will give it to them to pimp whatever they're required to, except they will make a point of saying who paid them. It will probably work something like this: "For CNN, I'm Robert Novak, and my hateful rants about privatization today were brought to you by the kind folks at the Social Security Administration." And that will be it. The vast majority of people who watch, listen to, or read such statements will not give them a second thought even though such disclaimers are supposed to raise a red flag about the veracity of the content being presented in a given medium.
The disclaimers will be issued, the pimping and whoring will take place and the public will not even take notice. It will become just a bland part of the discourse and sooner than later, the disclaimers will just be a standard, unnoticed thing for a pundit to say. And if a liberal or a Left-Handed Leftist raises any objections about the veracity of a given paid-opinion segment, the pundits can always defend themselves by saying that they disclosed that they were being paid.
So the propaganda will continue, maybe even more honestly and upfront, but it will not have one whit of an effect on the way the public perceives the information. The conservatives have already shown this to be true. Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Carlson, Scarborough, Novak, et. al. are unabashed partisan right-wing Republicans (the admission of which is itself a disclaimer and disclosure) but to the vast majority of the public, they still take what those hacks say to be "the facts," not the work of highly paid and highly partisan people with an agenda to promote which colors their every utterance and which should cause people to take their statements with a block of salt.
Why must a few close-minded individuals continue to make fools of all of us who live in Mississippi and/or the south? The Jackson-George County library system banned "America: The Book" because it had pictures of naked people in it. But the pictures in question are clearly not pornographic--they in no way cause arousal or titillate the reader. They are pictures of wrinkly, stout old people. The pictures are clearly for comic effect.
Thank God, though, that even in my unapologetically red state, they had the good sense to overturn this ban in short order. As Jon Stewart pointed out, the library wasn't even open while the ban was in effect. The fact that a Republican state with a Republican governor and a vile, racist history (but which is also the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, the blues, and country music) would come to its senses after four years of Bush with four more on the way does give me a small measure of comfort.
A very small measure of comfort...