January 6, 2005

By Dave Astor

Published: January 07, 2005 8:45 PM ET

NEW YORK Tribune Media Services (TMS) today terminated its contract with columnist Armstrong Williams, effective immediately. But Williams told E&P tonight that he plans to continue his feature via self-syndication.TMS' action came after USA Today reported this morning that Williams had accepted $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote the No Child Left Behind education-reform law on his TV and radio shows. E&P subsequently reported that Williams had also written about NCLB in his newspaper column at least four times last year.

In a statement, TMS said: "[A]ccepting compensation in any form from an entity that serves as a subject of his weekly newspaper columns creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Under these circumstances, readers may well ask themselves if the views expressed in his columns are his own, or whether they have been purchased by a third party." (Full text of the statement is available at the end of this story.)

I thought he wasn't a journalist. Please get your story straight AW.

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