This week NPR fired Juan Williams for these comments on The O’Rielly Factor:
“Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
NPR issued this upon his release:
“His remarks on The O’Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR,”
Juan Williams has been a frequent guest and contributor on Fox News for many years, and it seems that this may have led to the erosion of the relationship between NPR and Williams. Williams’ comments were not racist or insensitive, in my opinion. He was simply stating what his guttural reaction is upon seeing someone in Muslim garb on a plane. Did he say that he immediately calls the FBI or CIA? Did he say he leads an insurrection of fellow passengers against the Muslim passengers? Did he even say he watches them the whole flight? NO, he said none of those things, he simply explained his immediate reaction. Why can’t we not have any kind of serious conversation anymore without crucifying people?
Juan Williams in no way tried to justify the anti-Muslim sentiment on Fox News and in parts of the country. If we do not allow people to express even the most benign opinions, without fear of being fired, then we are doomed to fail. The issue of anti-Muslim sentiment is a serious one, and cannot be addressed by walking on eggshells. There are so many lies and distortions around Muslim issues in this country, that now someone giving a real honest opinion is terminated because of the cloud that emanates from Fox.
NPR has just painted an unnecessary target on its back. Now they will be the new rallying cry for the hard right, and they have no one to blame but themselves. If the higher-ups at NPR were trying to find a way to terminate Mr. Williams, they should have found a much better reason than this, or better yet done it with no clear reason so it could not be connected to a hot button issue. To not have the savvy to understand the fallout from what they did, speaks volumes of the leadership at NPR. They had to know the first attack would be their federal funding. I really don’t have any idea how much funding NPR receives from the federal government, and their funding is a legitimate issue to debate, but unfortunately, all that will come of this is a bunch of people, who are overly sensitive about any slight against them, will cry about “political correctness” run amuck. Sure these are the same people who will whine about “The War on Christmas” and any other perceived slight, but if that same thing is done on the left its political correctness. This is all bullshit.
Juan Williams should not have been fired for these comments. If he was in breach of some NPR protocol, for giving his opinion, he should have been fired long ago for his appearances on Fox News. If Mr Williams wants to be the voice of the Left on Fox, good for him. NPR should have been fine with this, in my opinion. First it gives NPR positive exposure to an audience that would generally not have any inclination to tune in, and secondly, it quells the notion that they are a hard left news organization. Instead NPR solidified the “leftie news outfit” stigma and galvanized its opponents. Great job NPR, now we all have to listen to the “real American’s” whine about political correctness for the next two months.