The Firing of Juan Williams

Juan Williams speaks out about his own firing:

Well, now that I no longer work for NPR let me give you my opinion. This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon’s enemies list. I can only imagine Dan’s revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for ten years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

I went to college with Juan Williams, and, though I disagree with him on many issues, I’ve always found him to be intellectually honest, open-minded, and willing to engage in real debate and discussion. Most commentary on the left seems to consist mostly of name-calling and straw man fallacies; Williams shows respect for his opponents and their opinions even when he disagrees with them. That, of course, is part of what got him fired.

Roger Simon suggests that Congress pass a “Juan Williams law,” prohibiting all government funding or bailouts for any news organization operating domestically. I think that’s an excellent idea. I’ve argued against funding for NPR for years. What justification has there ever been for having a government-funded news organization? It’s especially important now, for as one of Roger’s commenters points out, “we do not need to pay for the privilege of being lied to, lied about and destroyed from within.”

Some further thoughts:

  1. Bill O’Reilly told Juan on his show last night that this is good for him; he’ll get a fat book contract to write about what you can and can’t say in America. Undoubtedly true. Fox News has already offered him a $2 million, 3-year deal.
  2. Bill also told him that he’s now far more popular than he was a day before. Also true. Most air travelers have had a thought similar to the one he reported at some point since 9/11; they now realize that the arrows of political correctness are pointed at them.
  3. The CEO of NPR in effect called Juan crazy. That was foolish, making her look crazy and vindictive and opening up a new avenue of legal liability.
  4. Once again we see that leftists are far more intolerant than conservatives. Michael Barone observes, “An interesting contrast: while many NPR listeners apparently could not stomach that Williams also appeared on Fox News. But it doesn’t seem that any perceptible number of Fox News viewers had any complaints that Williams also worked for NPR. The Fox audience seems to be more tolerant of diversity than the NPR audience.” Roger Ailes: “Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997. He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis.”
  5. We also see that leftists can’t think clearly. The standard line seems to be that Williams said that all Muslims are terrorists. But obviously he said no such thing. He reported his own feelings. He also said he regretted them. But all it takes to make his feelings rational is some correlation, in general or at an airport, between being a Muslim and being a terrorist. Leftists look foolish when they deny that there is such a correlation. And don’t forget the recent terror alert asking travelers to be on the watch for Mumbai-style attacks!
  6. NPR’s action, at the start of early voting for the Congressional elections, emphasizes how intolerant, out-of-touch, and biased the media are. This can only be good for Republicans. Elizabeth Scalia (who has lots more good stuff; read the whole thing): “I wonder if it was smart of NPR to–12 days out from an election where leftism is headed for a defeat of rejectionre-inforce the perception that both liberalism and the media are out of control; that they have utterly cast off their former roles as champions of free speech and free thought, in favor of compulsory conformity.”

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson pretty much says it all.

4 thoughts on “The Firing of Juan Williams

  1. I was entranced by this catastophe yesterday. After hearing Vivian Schiller say that Juan Williams needs to address his feelings with his psychiatrist or publicist, I cringed. This man is a well respected journalist and has been a warrior in the way of Civil Rights. A Pulitzer Prize Nominee for his 6 part depiction of the DC School System, whose work and dedication to ending segretation in local schools.. being fashioned as a ‘bigot’ and that the ‘feelings he revealed on O’Reilly undermined his credibility’ is the most absurdly contradictory statement I’ve ever heard.

    Juan Williams’ observed that when someone is dressed in a way that is purposefully letting you know that they are first and foremost a Muslim, there exists an understandable reason to be at hightened awareness. This is not even a personal feeling. It’s merely an observation, and one that to me, is filed under common sense.

    The far left seems to think that anybody is a mad hatter who bears any common sense and is not willing to blindly follow them into Socialist control of the Economy, Health Care, Distribution of Wealth, Education and of course.. MEDIA. It’s a shame that they have to stoop to such extreme moral lows as to insult a Mans credibility, intelligence and life’s work simply because they have nothing solid to grasp at for explaining this discusting display.

    Thanks so much for the great read, as always! -Alex

  2. Can I have my $2 million-dollar Gulag, please? What an inappropriate, obnoxious, and extreme metaphor; the kind usually heard along with “BusHitler.”

    I’m sure many people feel threatened by Jews wearing Yarmulkas, Christians wearing crosses, and Muslims wearing hijabs. Williams overstated; CPB over-reacted. Their over-reaction exposes exactly who they are.

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