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Where's the defender of free speech?

Related link: NPR's hasty decision to fire Juan Williams

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By Ann Telnaes  | October 25, 2010; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Media/Press  
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Comments

NPR is a national treasure. News and information is what a democracy needs. Ideology and hyperbole are not intended to inform, but to arouse "groupthink".

With "No rant, no slant", journalism can be "professional" only if standards are kept.

Fox is destroying more than careers. It is destroying the line between journalism and propaganda.

Posted by: rowens1 | October 26, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm willing to take NPR at their word that (a) Williams crossed the line of NPR's policies and (b) Williams had been warned before.

But that doesn't excuse NPR's botched handling of the whole affair. NPR's chief executive Vivian Schiller should be severely reprimanded, if not fired herself.

As far as "government funding" of NPR goes, it just isn't all that much. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPR -- "In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from local government funding and 10% of their revenue from the federal funding in the form of CPB grants. NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government."

Posted by: egc52556 | October 26, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

EJ Dionne is far left, David Brooks is left moderate. My, my, it's nice that the John Birchers think they are mainstream. They should man up and admit that they are simply noisy and boring. The conquering hero rhetoric gets old very fast.

Posted by: manderso1 | October 25, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Middle Eastern liberals silenced Molly Norris cartoons and National Public Radio liberals silenced Juan Williams commentary from their air waves. As you can see liberals only allow the free speech they approve of.

Posted by: jornolibist | October 25, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

This is example of balance at NPR. On Fridays, the news and commentary program, All Things Considered, has two columnists to discuss the most notable events of the past week.

Representing the liberal point of view, far-left E. J. Dionne from this newspaper, and for balance, representing the conservative point of view, left-leaning moderate from the New York Times, David Brooks. It is as funny as anything on the Daily Show, just that the Daily Show is trying for laughs, while NPR is trying to be balanced, in their own special way.

Posted by: scottNV | October 25, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Sigh! NPR really goofed on this one.

BUT it's the twisted Beck/Limbaugh/Hannity etc. Fox Distorted News ditto-heads that are so brainwashed that they don't understand that NPR is almost the only source of NEARLY Balanced News available in the USA.

There's always BBC, thank goodness, and one can get a pretty straight shot from "The Daily Show".

Posted by: lufrank1 | October 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

In most private companies, you have to follow procedure (documentation, etc.)before you can fire anyone.
Whoever fired Juan should also be fired, for very unprofessional behavior.
Also, Stop Taxpayer money from going to NPR in the future, stop it now.
George Soros just gave them almost $2 MILLION. George Soros, of Soros Investments, Quantum Funds, who Invests in Foreign companies, Mumbai Exchange, etc.........

Posted by: ohioan | October 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It is legitimate for a news organization to demand that its employees have to choose between being presenters of the news, commentators on the news, or makers of the news. NPR remains under some suspicion. It is hard to see the justification for firing Williams over the particular comments at issue. It is easy to see reason for a concern about political correctness at NPR. It is also easy to question the need for a government funded radio network. But there also does not seem to be much question that Williams had an agenda that conflicted with NPR's standards for his job. It is not unreasonable for a news organization to see a conflict between its work and an effort of someone to build a second career based on a partisan political image.

Posted by: dnjake

----------------

NPR's standards of conduct are too wishy washy to stand the test of your analysis. If NPR fired Nina Totenburg, then your case would be stronger.

I would also point out that given NPR is government funded, that fact alone should preclude any issue with their reporters and analysts working in other places.

Although EJ Dionne spouted nonsense on this issue during the Meet the Press Comedy Hour this past weekend stating that NPR is apolitical (makes me want to laugh at loud), we all know that isn't just Conservative name-calling. NPR is way left and they just couldn't stand it that Williams moonlighted at Fox.

NPR and its supporters love to spin this yarn that they are down the middle in their reporting and that their government funding is minuscule. Neither position is true.

It's time to:

Stop funding NPR with government funds
Investigate the decision by NPR's president to fire Juan Williams
And time for Juan to sue NPR

Posted by: pararanger22 | October 25, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It is legitimate for a news organization to demand that its employees have to choose between being presenters of the news, commentators on the news, or makers of the news. NPR remains under some suspicion. It is hard to see the justification for firing Williams over the particular comments at issue. It is easy to see reason for a concern about political correctness at NPR. It is also easy to question the need for a government funded radio network. But there also does not seem to be much question that Williams had an agenda that conflicted with NPR's standards for his job. It is not unreasonable for a news organization to see a conflict between its work and an effort of someone to build a second career based on a partisan political image.

Posted by: dnjake | October 25, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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