Just to be clear, I am not a huge fan of Fox News and neither are any of the other bloggers here as far as I know. I disagree with Fox’s support for our counterproductive interventionist foreign policy and their simple-minded cheer-leading for the GOP. That said, for better or for worse and whether we like it or not, Fox News is a kind of surrogate for Red America just as NPR is a surrogate for Blue America. And in this particular story Fox News is the good guy even though I have problems with them from my paleo point-of-view.
NPR is apparrently getting a lot of negative feedback. Some even from liberals. I think some liberals are upset because what Williams expressed was his own personal feelings and not necessarily a political point-of-view. To use a cliche, Williams was being “transparent,” and he got canned for it.
NPR also looks inconsistent in their rationale. They say he was fired not because of what he said but because he was engaging in punditry. If a station wants to maintain this policy fine, but they must do so consistently and across the board. I think it is an increasingly difficult standard to maintain in the new multi-media world. But William’s firing was clearly in response to the content of what he said (and perhaps where he said it – Fox News) and NPR’s protestations to the contrary are not credible.
NPR and the liberal media seem genuinely taken aback by the strong reaction to this. I think this is part of a positive trend. Red America is increasingly fighting back against liberal elitist groupthink. (I also think that part of what is at work here is that Red America has not yet incorporated Muslims into the liberal panoply of designated victims groups so it is harder to arouse their white guilt.)
I would also note that I seldom agree with Juan Williams who is a center leftist. I do think, however, that he is not a cookie-cutter black liberal talking head.
Here is NPR’s own take on the backlash. Also note that Williams has received a contract extension and a raise from Fox News.
Williams appeared Thursday night on The O’Reilly Factor, the same Fox program where he made the initial comments that seeing fellow airline passengers dressed in Muslim garb makes him nervous.
This time, Williams told host Bill O’Reilly his remarks were misconstrued but that his ouster by NPR was about something else altogether.
“I don’t fit in their box,” Williams told O’Reilly. “I’m not predictable, black, liberal. And let me tell you something else, you were exactly right when you said you know what this comes down to, they were looking for a reason to get rid of me because I’m appearing on Fox News. They don’t want me talking to you.”
Here is NPR’s original take on the firing. (Notice the number of comments.)
Here is NPR’s Ombudsman on the issue. He agrees with the firing but thinks it was “handled … poorly.” But read the article to see what he has to say about the angry backlash.
And several prominent Republicans have called for defunding NPR, something that should have been done long ago.