Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams terminated by NPR for remarks on Fox News

Message to news commentators: Don't be honest in your opinions.

That seems to be what National Public Radio (NPR) is saying in their termination of long-time associate Juan Williams after his comments on Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly show.

I was watching O'Reilly's "The Factor" and O'Reilly had been discussing his appearance on ABC's "The View" last week when hosts Whoopie Goldberg and Joy Behar walked out after comments about Muslims being responsible for the 9/11 terrorism acts in America.

When Juan Willams came on "The Factor," before Mr. O'Reilly got into the interview with him, he asked Williams' opinion about what had happened on "The View." Juan Williams replied:
"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."
Williams, who cannot be considered a smoozing conservative, went on to caution O'Reilly about lumping all Muslims together. According to NPR:
Williams also warned O'Reilly against blaming all Muslims for "extremists," saying Christians shouldn't be blamed for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

But strong criticism followed Williams' comments.

Late Wednesday night, NPR issued a statement praising Williams as a valuable contributor but saying it had given him notice that it is severing his contract. "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," the statement read.

Williams' presence on the largely conservative and often contentious prime-time talk shows of Fox News has long been a sore point with NPR News executives.
So NPR has given Juan Williams the boot.

Was there discussion amongst the NPR governing board about this seemingly knee-jerk reaction? Was there a meeting called with Mr. Williams to discuss NPR's concerns? So is NPR saying they aren't fair and balanced? They want only one side of an issue? They aren't interested in a two-sided debate?

Apparently, according to NPR's press release, the fact Mr. Williams even appeared on Fox News as a commenter was a sore subject for the heads that rule the NPR network. This, folks, is our tax money at work.

Question: How long do you think it will be before Fox News Channel picks up Juan Williams as a permanent part of their network?

H/T to JW

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