NPR Fires Political Analyst Juan Williams

NPR Fires Political Analyst Juan Williams

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Political analyst Juan Williams has ruffled plenty of feathers in his time, backing President Obama on Fox News while others have opposed his views. Williams has frequently provided the balance Fox News has sought for the top-rated news network as part of fulfilling its “fair and balanced” motto.

Williams Fired

Now, the tables have been turned on Williams who was fired from a position he has long held with NPR, formerly known as National Public Radio. Williams contends he was fired for expressing certain fears he has about seeing Muslims in traditional dress boarding airplanes he flies on. That conversation with pundit Bill O’Reilly was not part of a personal campaign to encourage discrimination against Muslims, rather Williams said that people should not make “…rash judgments about people of any faith.” Essentially, Williams was sharing his own feelings.

NPR issued a statement from CEO Vivian Schiller who told the network’s David Folkenflik yesterday, “…our reporters, our hosts and our news analysts should not be injecting their own views about a controversial issue as part of their story. They should be reporting the story.”

Conservative Reaction

The firing of Juan Williams has evoked strong reaction from many people across the country including from conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich who called NPR’s move “censorship” and urged the U.S. Congress to investigate NPR and cut off their funding. Schiller circulated an internal memo stating that Williams was not fired for what he said on the O’Reilly Factor, rather that he had changed from an analyst to a pundit. Schiller went on to say that Williams was warned in the past to not cross that the line, but he persisted in doing so.

Williams explained that NPR had first tried to stop him from appearing on television with Bill O’Reilly and when he refused they told him not identify himself on “The Factor” as an NPR journalist. Williams said, “I asked them if they thought people did not know where I appeared on the air as a daily talk show host, national correspondent and news analyst. They refused to budge.”

HuffPo Speaks

Writing for the Huffington Post Jason Linkins noted Juan Williams is the first journalist to be fired for defaming Muslims, a routine practice for those who defame Christians and Jews. Linkins went on to call conservatives to task for being indignant over the Williams firing, reminding them of the recent dismissal of Helen Thomas following her comments about Jews.

Of course, when you say something like “Israel should get the hell out of Palestine,” you may wonder if those comments can be compared with what Williams said, but that may simply be a matter of personal opinion.

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".