Friday, October 22, 2010

They done Juan wrong

I’m still shaking my head over the firing of Juan Williams by National Public Radio (NPR).
Williams told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News that he, Williams, “gets nervous” when he sees people in traditional Muslim dress at an airport or on an airplane. NPR apparently found that a bigoted statement and fired Williams accordingly.

Now, as readers of this blog know, I am opposed to lumping all Muslims together into the “they” who attacked us on September 11, 2010. I think the best way to defeat Islamic extremism — which I consider antithetical to everything I hold dear — is to uphold American values and ideals, to hold that torch ever higher to shine a light into the darkness that the fundamentalists would impose.

(Some of you may know that my favored tactic in the War on Terror is to bomb Islamists with Victoria’s Secret catalogs and the SI swimsuit edition. If it doesn’t convert them, it’ll at least drive them nuts. Now THAT is psychological warfare).

Upholding American ideals does not allow for firing somebody for making an honest statement, essentially about fear. Williams’ nervousness may ultimately be misplaced — the 9/11 hijackers wore Western clothes and it seems unlikely that anyone plotting a terrorist attack would deliberately call attention to themselves by wearing traditional Muslim garb. But the survival brain operates on cues from the environment and triggers a response. Simple as that.

(Justin Raimondo of has a great column about this here:

Williams was talking about how he feels — and, if we’re honest, our fears sometimes make us think things we wouldn’t be too proud to own in the calm environs of work and home. Williams isn’t a bigot; he was just being an honest guy and he got sacked for it. That’s just plain wrong.

And his former boss said something that just blows me away:

According to the Associated Press, NPR President Vivian Schiller appeared at the Atlanta Press Club, where she said that Williams had violated NPR’s guidelines barring its analysts from making personal or controversial statements.

That’s laughable. You’re supposed to be a analyst and you’re not supposed to say anything controversial? Oh, please. What’s the point of you then?

Clearly, NPR was looking for an excuse to sack Williams because they don’t like his association with Fox News. I’m no fan of Fox News — they generate a lot of noise and heat and precious little light. But NPR’s actions are beneath them. It’s pretty sad when NPR — usually a bastion of real discourse in a landscape of noisy infotainment — makes Fox News look like the more ethical and dignified organization.

Jim Cornelius, Editor


  1. George Soros donated a big wad of money to NPR just last week. It's just a coincidence somebody who also appeared on Fox News be terminated the second they found a half-brained excuse.

  2. I disagree. Look...Fox has clearly tried to blur the line between "news" and "opinion". John Stewart has called O'Reily out on some of the outrageous statements on Fox News and he hides behind the "that's not news...that is opinion". My understanding is that NPR has guidelines for commentators, and it limits how much they can cross that affects credibility when you are supposed to be reporting....not opining. NPR warned Juan Williams that his appearances and statements on Fox were crossing the line (at times)....after being warned, and after his latest appearance and statements - they felt he violated the guidelines and was terminated. If this is the case...if he had been warned, and violated the employee guidelines - termination is justified (just like at any job). I have always liked and appreciated Williams' commentary - I have nothing against him - but kudos for NPR for trying to maintain a line between news and opinion. Even in print - news SHOULD be objectively reported - opinion should be on the Editorial/Opinion page.

  3. It's funny how NPR's "guidelines" seem to apply only to someone like Williams. Someone frequently seen on a network that NPR blatantly despises.

    Shouldn't those "guidlines" also be applied to other NPR personalities, such as Cokie Roberts? Or is it OK to expand the limits of the lines being crossed, as long as the crosser's message is one you agree with.

    The fact is, William's appearances on Fox have been a thorn in NPR's side for years. This was simply an opportunity to can him.

  4. "NPR has guidelines" ? If that were the case Nina Totenberg would have been fired years ago for saying some of the vitriol she has spewed. It's real simple, its hypocrisy in it's greatest form. I have contributed for years to OPB (not really sure why). Not any more, this is a great excuse to "just say no".

  5. Nobody did Juan wrong. He is making millions of his Fox news affiliation, and being fired by NPR is just part of the politics of his profession. It isn't news, It isn't even interesting.

  6. Then why are you even writing about it? And just because he landed a new, cushy job, doesn't mean that NPR didn't screw him.

  7. please. no one making 2 million dollars is being screwed.

  8. NPR terminating Juan Williams did us all a favor.

    First, the action showed how truly stupid the NPR management is, and stupid is not a strong enough word.

    Second, Fox demonstrated how clever it is managment wise by hiring Juan, an inexpensive addition to the staff for 2MIL given all he can and will bring to the FOX table to include hammering the proverbial dog poo out of NPR.

    Third, Juan Williams showed he is a long time, long term player in the game of news entertainment (which NPR is although they try to sound more laid back and "serious" than many other such businesses). Juan took the unexpected hit, rolled with the ball well protected, came up with eyes on the red zone, and made the play with a $2MIL touchdown.

    Simmer down, folks. It's all just smoke and mirrors. Without Paris getting busted or Lindsey doing (minimal)time, or Kim K having her cake and eating it too, what other news can they dream up to keep us "glued to the tube"?

    And for the record when I see folks getting on planes wearing anything that causes me to take a second look at them...well, I just pray they aren't sitting next to me when their underwear starts smouldering!

  9. is it possible that Juan deliberately said something that was borderline bigoted to make himself more appealing to the Fox News general audience and hence more appealing to the Fox News executives so that he could get $2m? Could it be....

    No...that would be a cynical manipulation of peoples fears for monetary gain. Juan would never do that nor would his new bosses at Fox News. That could never happen could it? ;)