NPR Should Not Have fired Juan Williams

Funny thing about freedom of speech. In America you can speak freely, but not too freely. Juan Williams should not have been fired. Williams verbalized something that many Americans feel. On September 11, 2001 our country lost its innocence. We were attacked by radical extremists who were Muslims. Since that time we have been afraid of Muslims. We know not all Muslims are extremists, but that does not make our fears dissipate. Williams had the audacity to say he gets nervous when he sees people in Muslim garb board a plane in which he will be a passenger. National Public Radio dismissed him over expressing an honest emotion. This afternoon I did something I rarely do. I watched Fox News because Juan Williams  also works for them. They had CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) Communication Director, Ibrahim Hooper as their guest. CAIR had called for action from NPR over Williams’ remarks. Megyn Kelly is an afternoon anchor on Fox News, but she greeted Hooper which such hostility and contempt it was difficult to watch the interview. The first question she asked Hooper was if he was happy that NPR had fired Williams. Hooper attempted to give a composed response, but she seemed intent on trying to illicit a one word response. It was an opportunity to listen to a real conversation, but it was squandered because Kelly had an ax to grind. After the interview I visited the CAIR website and I found this statement regarding the organization. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. CAIR did not call for the termination of Williams they wanted something to be done. It is ironic that an organization that wants to protect the civil liberties of their members and empower Muslims and promote mutual understanding would be comfortable watching Williams lose his job over given an honest opinion.

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Comments

  • jane  On October 21, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    It’s interesting that CAIR defended Helen Thomas and is even planning to honor her with a banquet later this month depsite her anti-Jewish remarks. They call her “honest and brave”. They call Juan a bigot. They need to worry about their own double standards before they can be taken seriously.

  • sherri  On October 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Williams was not fired because of his statement alone. NPR has long been uncomfortable with Williams’ role on FOX. Last year they asked FOX to stop referring to WIlliams as NPR Commentator Williams. They’ve gotten complaints about Wiliams’ role on Fox.

    IF Williams had made the comment elsewhere and did NOT have the relationship with Fox Entertainment, this would not have happened. NPR has had enough and feels that Williams does not represent NPR’s point of view.

  • Mo Rage  On October 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Hello? What if he said this of Christians or Baptists or Southern Baptists or Jews, etc? He HAD to be let go. NPR has to remain neutral and this is decidedly NOT neutral. He can say this stuff all he wants on his own or on Fox “News” but not on a reputable media station.

    Free speech, my butt.

    • dougg  On October 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      1) Have you watched the news and seen how Jews are referred to when there is coverage in Gaza or the flotilla from Turkey? The Tea Party? Obama himself called VOTERS tea-baggers, as did Matt Lauer – neither got fired.

      2) NPR is equivalent of MSNBC in that it is not neutral. It receives grants from CPB which is a largely left-leaning organization

      3) I don’t see the need for the quotations around “News” as Fox News has a higher percentage of Liberal contributors than CNN and MSNBC have Conservative contributors, combined, not to mention ratings that are 4 times higher….

      4) He is a news analyst (and a very good one at that), NOT a reporter and should be allowed to speak his mind on a talk show.

      5) Funny he was fired a day after George Soros donated $1.5 million to NPR. Williams helped to uncover the $2 billion the administration recently sent to Brazil (to PetroBraz) so they could drill for oil at 15,000 feet in th Gulf of Mexico, AFTER the drilling ban from Obama’s administration. Soros has $500 million invested in PetroBraz and Juan Williams is the one who outed Soros and Obama’s relationship in this respect.

      6) Nina Totenberg talked of George Bush being killed and hoping a Republican Senator’s child would get AIDs. She STILL works for NPR. This all seems a little shady to me when you put the timeline together.

      7) Should Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow be fired? Last time I checked they were not too neutral….

      8) NPR has the worst media ratings among active voters so I’m not sure your “reputable media station” comment applies. FYI, FOX News has the highest ratings among active voters.

  • musesofamom  On October 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    He said he got nervous when boarding a plane with people with Muslim garb on. He didn’t say they shouldn’t wear it, he didn’t say I won’t fly with them. He said he got nervous. I think he should have been talked to about the fact that some found his statements offensive and maybe told to read an apology to those he offended on air and post it on the NPR website, but I don’t think he should have been fired.

  • Mo Rage  On October 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    The actual quote: “…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.”

    So it’s your stance that NPR should insult its Muslim listeners by continuing to have someone like Juan Williams and his clearly biased, slanted views still on their payroll when he says something like this publicly?

    Mr. Williams can have his free speech on his own time or on Fox “News”, not on NPR’s staff.

    I say “good call”.

    • Doug  On October 22, 2010 at 3:38 am

      1) He is an ANALYST not an anchor. It’s his job to give his opinion.

      2) You don’t have his whole quote above. Go back and read/listen to his full quote and you can clearly see that your argument is false if you take into account his whole quote.

      3) I find it funny that you won’t comment on Ms. Totenberg saying Bush said have been killed and another man contract AIDs and still be working. Where were you, or this blog for that matter, when that was said. Over the past month she has made numerous similar comments about non-Liberals. Where were you calling for an apology or firing for Ms. Totenberg?

      You replied to none of my points above (and obviously do not have a reasonable reply or else you would have not just basically repeated yourself) and just re-implied your faulty argument. I won’t expect much more of a comment as you seem to only listen to what left-wing outlets report. You obviously have much better “news” sources than I….I hate my “news” source gives me the whole story.

      4) No matter how much this “President” and his goons (George Soros) want to impact freedom of speech you blind followers will follow him off a cliff. Do you know who George Soros is and the media arms he pays to boycott talk shows and Target of all places?

      5) Maybe we shouldn’t be so Politically Correct and take in a whole circumstance of speak and thought and not just pick out what he said. IF YOU LISTENED TO HIS ENTIRE SPEECH YOU WILL SEE HIS VIEWS ARE NOT SLANTED. Thank you again left-wing media for only supplying a partial story.

      6) If you want to get your news from a government mouthpiece that won’t see any view other than the “president’s” then I say “good call”.

      • sherri  On October 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm

        This is ridiculous.

        The Bush comments were in 95? That’s 15 years ago. What should one say about a lack of action that happened 15 years ago???? I see people get their talking points from the same place.

        The president and his goons? Yeah…

        NPR is the president’s mouthpiece? Did you say that when Bush, Bush, Regan were in office? Or are they just Obama’s mouthpiece?

        Sickening

      • Doug  On October 29, 2010 at 1:49 am

        Sherri,

        She made comments this month that were far worse then what Juan WIlliams said.

        The presidents goons?: George Soros funds media matters and moveon.org to do nothing but push Obama’s agenda. So yes, I consider him a goon in that he spends millions of dollars to silence opponents and Obama never denounces it – not very democratic.

        I also think Obama comes off as a goon after his “they need to get in the back” comment. I am an independent, NOT a republican and I voted for Obama but have been nothing but disappointed in the man over the last 2 years. Because I don’t agree with you DOES NOT make me wrong as he likes to think. So, yes I Obama and his Yes-Men are goons. Yeah….Watch someone other than Keith Oldbermann and Rachel Maddow.

        For the mouthpiece, NPR is a far left organization and it is obvious by how they are funded.

        The fact you do no research to know this on your own is more sickening. The fact that you continue to support policies that have failed in EVERY other socialist country is even more sickening. I know Media Matters, Move On and the Tides Foundation all inject other opinions into your mind, but maybe you hould do more research before you start calling my comments sickening. ESPECIALLY when George Soros just gave $1.5 million to NPR.

        I HAVE NO TALKING POINTS FROM FOX NEWS, JUST THE VIEWS FROM A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER WATCHING TOO MUCH OF MY MONEY GOING TO BIG GOVERNMENT AND POLICIES THAT ARE HARMFUL TO OUR CHILDREN.

        SICKENING!

  • elogam  On October 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    So EM, you are convinced that CAIR is all they claim to be, and this is because you read it on THEIR website? You must be busy lately, because normally you do a better job of checking things out. I won’t ride you too hard. This time.

    CAIR is to Islam what NOW is to women and the AARP is to the elderly: a self-appointed spokesgroup that claims to speak for that constituency and is glommed onto by the media because nobody else rises to say, “Uh, wait a minute! You don’t speak for ME!” They spin every negative thing said about Islam into “Islamaphobia”. If asked directly about Islamic terrorists, they say something like, “You are overlooking the terrorist acts of other religions on peaceful Muslims”. If you ask if they condemn violent attacks made in the name of Islam, they say something like. “We condemn ALL violence from ANY source”. To me that’s weak and inadequate.

    Bottom line, they are an organization that does not have broad-based support in the Islamic community, and they get called to comment on issues related to Islam for the same reasons the mainstream media constantly run to Jesse and Reverend Al when they want comments on “the African-American Community”. (Because after all, we are just one, big, homogeneous group, right?)

  • musesofamom  On October 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Elogam, please! No I don’t take their statement at face value. You have been reading me long enough to know i am a little more discerning than that. They contend they wanted something done and they did not say fire him, but NPR was looking for a reason to release Williams and this incident provided them with an out. However they did not anticipate the fallout it would cause. I have not always agreed with Williams and I have criticized him on the blog, but his termination for this reason is unfair.

  • sherri  On October 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I hope Doug comes back to read this.

    Let me quote you.
    6) If you want to get your news from a government mouthpiece that won’t see any view other than the “president’s” then I say “good call”.

    I assume in this statement that you are referring to NPR as the government mouth piece. Was I incorrect? Again my question relates to how you viewed NPR when Bush was in office. If they were a “mouthpiece” I would have expected to see them supporting the Bush agenda 8 years ago.

    Of course NPR leans left. But your intention is to categorize them as a “government” mouthpiece beholden to president Obama. Well, were they an mouthpiece 8 years ago? Or is that how we describe them because this president happens to lean to the left??

    The president’s goons, as in thug? How does this type of discourse do anything towards having a civil conversation?? But seriously, why should the president spend any time denouncing how a private citizen spends his money???

    Finally, Doug, I don’t watch Keith Olberman or Rachel Maddox, ever. I don’t watch MSNBC. I’m not a member or MOveon or Media Matters. I’m a small business owner. I watch both Fox and Cnn on occasion. I even listen to Rush Limbaugh and have done so for over 22 years. Sorry to disappoint you. You have no idea what or who I support.

    I’m just as concerned with my country as you are, Doug. I have children and I want them to grow up and take advantage of all that this country has to offer. I see your talking points for exactly what they are. I can disagree with a POV without stooping to this level. He’s a thug, communist, a socialist, a racist, a mole, an illegal, blah, blah, blah. I find it disgusting.

    Again, it is too bad that people don’t know how to have a civil discussion and exchange ideas without resorting to inflammatory, broadly reaching mischaracterizations.

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