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Should Juan Williams have been fired?

Adam Serwer is a staff writer for The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

Recently journalists like Rick Sanchez and Helen Thomas have been fired or forced to resign for remarks they made about Jews, exposing a rather glaring double-standard in the media regarding similar or equivalent statements about Muslims. The last few weeks have offered further examples, with media figures like FOX's Bill O'Reilly and Brian Kilmeade trumpeting the idea that Muslims everywhere bear collective responsibility for 9/11, and saying things like "not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

I'm sympathetic to Glenn Greenwald's argument that generally speaking, it's a bad idea to fire people for remarks like these without an actual pattern of behavior, unless the instance is really egregious -- but if there's going to be a high standard of sensitivity it should be applied equally. When I initially heard about Juan Williams being fired for his remarks about Muslims on the O'Reilly Factor, I thought NPR had jumped the gun. But going back and watching the video, I think too much focus has been put on this half of the statement:

I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But 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.

Jeffery Goldberg writes that "The first quotation reflects the views, I'm guessing, of the vast majority of people who fly in this country." That really doesn't matter as to whether or not the above remarks qualify as prejudice -- assuming people might be terrorists because they are wearing "Muslim garb" is the textbook definition of prejudice. Prejudice doesn't cease to be prejudice because it is widely held. Whether or not Williams "is a bigot" is beside the point, this is a bigoted statement.

That said, because it's a feeling that's so widely shared, it's a topic worthy of public discussion. Everyone at some point succumbs to their prejudices -- if reasonable people couldn't possess them then prejudice wouldn't be a problem. Had Williams phrased his statement differently, or made it under different circumstances, the conversation might have been constructive. The problem is that it's clear from the context that Williams wasn't merely confessing his own personal fears, he was reassuring O'Reilly that he was right to see all Muslims as potential terrorists. This is how he prefaced his remarks:

Well, actually, I hate to say this to you because I don't want to get your ego going. But I think you're right. I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality.

The thing is, the idea that one should be afraid of anyone who "looks Muslim" isn't reality, it's silliness. He wasn't speaking some brave truth or making a personal confession, he was suggesting there's nothing wrong with looking at Muslims that way.

That's a genuine problem, especially for a news outlet as studiously neutral as NPR, which has gone so far as to bar reporters from attending the march being held by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. FOX News' treatment of Muslims also can't really be called news coverage -- given the sheer volume of falsehoods about Muslims and Islam it's injected into the national discourse, it's really more accurately described as a politically motivated smear campaign. Given NPR's previously expressed discomfort with Williams' affiliation with FOX, it's not surprising that they would feel that Williams had finally crossed a line. Indeed many of Williams's conservative defenders are objecting because they believe Williams was correct to look at complete strangers as potential terrorists just because they're Muslims, not because it's wrong to fire people for impolitic statements.

That said, like Conor Friedersdorf, I think firing people for things like this tends to chill the public discourse. Misconceptions should be discussed publicly rather than driven underground where they can fester and remain unchallenged. The problem is that on FOX, they are both widely expressed and unchallenged. That isn't promoting honesty, it's enabling Islamophobic hysteria.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m: Mediaite has a transcript of an interview with Williams about his firing. Again, I didn't like Williams' statement, but this is the kind of thing you should be able to say on TV without getting fired. 


By Adam Serwer  | October 21, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Comments

Yes.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 21, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not someone who believes that journalists should lose their jobs over controversial remarks, especially isolated, one-time comments. But if that's going to be the prevailing standard, then I want to see it applied equally. Those who cheered on the firing of Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez -- and that will include many, probably most, of the right-wing polemicists predictably rushing to transform Juan Williams into some sort of free speech martyr sacrificed on the altar of sharia censorship -- have no ground for complaining here."

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/10/21/williams
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Matt Yglesias on this. Juan Williams should have been fired by NPR "on the grounds of general lameness and lack of valuable contribution to their programming".

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/10/on-juan-williams/

Posted by: leoklein | October 21, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Agree on the chilling effect, but once Williams began blithely participating in Fox's consistent efforts to demonize a group of people due only to their religion and their appearance, he forfeits any rights to be taken seriously as a commentator on precisely those issues.

Add to that the Fox signature tag: "I'm not a bigot, but I'm now going to say something bigoted and will do so with an expectation that it has no consequences."

We need to call BS on that every time we hear it. Racism is what you DO, not who you are.

Posted by: BGinCHI | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Should Juan Williams have been fired by NPR? Two words: Long Ago.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I also agree with Huckabee that we should completely defund NPR.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

No. He should not be fired. Even though it was a prejudiced statement that may reveal a persistent prejudiced opinion on those who wear Muslim garb on planes, Juan Williams spoke honestly. We all have opinions that reveal facets of our personalities some may take offense to or may disagree with. But to publicly reprimand Mr. Williams for doing what NPR pays him to do is a bit much. And he didn't even say it on NPR. He didn't say Muslims are bad or that he dislikes them. That's irresponsible. He said that fully dressed Muslims on planes makes him nervous. You can't fault a guy for that after 9/11. I don't care how politically correct NPR wants him to be. Fear of Muslims is a sad reality brought on by representatives of Islam, though extreme. It's the simple truth.

Posted by: jeuill | October 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

No, Juan Williams should not have been fired, and I would wager that most of us share his feelings. To be fired because someone (stupid in this case)thinks you were not politically correct is stupid. Political correctness has got to go - Indians cannot even be called Indians anymore. (might hurt their feelings) We have become wimps.

Posted by: anne1938 | October 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Off topic response to MikeInArlington and Liam:

Mike posted:
mark_in_austin, I don't believe an effin' thing out of any Murdoch newspapers. He's on a global propaganda holy war to control the worlds news and give appearances of global consensus on crap he's advocating for.

Do you have any neutral sources out there claiming Israel was given a green light from SA?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 21, 2010 10:09 AM

Mike, I had picked that up last summer from a "neutral" site, but your question got me to review it. My neutral site had cited the Times as its authority and later retracted the story when the Saudis denied it. I would not have followed up if you had not questioned it.

Thank you, Mike, and Liam, please wipe my previous post from your memory.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Show me someone that says they don't think about the plane blowing up when Muslims are on board and I'll show you a liar.

Posted by: twann9852 | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Misconceptions should be discussed publicly rather than driven underground where they can fester and remain unchallenged. The problem is that on FOX, they are both widely expressed and unchallenged."
*****************

That is the essence of Faux News - perfectly stated...

Posted by: LABC | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Should Rick sanchez have been fired?
Is freedom of speech in the US practised on arabs/muslims only?

Posted by: MumboJumboo | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What is happening in our country? Why can't we voice opinions and debate the differences? Should all of our ideas and spoken thoughts be politically correct? I might or might not agree with these remarks but I do believe that we have the right to speak them.

Posted by: arlgill | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

After Juan said during the campaign on O'Rielly's show of Michelle Obama that "she's got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going. If she starts talking . . . her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts to coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O. to being something of an albatross." I lost what little respect I had for that guy.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Indians cannot even be called Indians anymore. (might hurt their feelings) We have become wimps. "

I agree.

We should be calling them "anne1938 is a big fat idiot".

That would be much better.

Because anne1938 is not a wimp and Native Americans -- who were slaughtered by the tens of thousands and then subjected to centuries of discrimination -- are just WIMPS!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 21, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

One of the better articles I've seen on this subject. Thanks, Greg.

Posted by: Alex3 | October 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't know Adam, I disagree with your analysis:

"The thing is, the idea that one should be afraid of anyone who "looks Muslim" isn't reality, it's silliness."

I didn't read it that way. It looks to me like Williams (who I don't like and won't miss) is saying the "reality" is that people (including Williams himself) often get nervous when someone wearing muslim garb gets on an airplane with them. That is just true. Is it right? No, of course not.

But the bigger point, to me, was not in how he prefaced his comment, but the point he was trying to make. He was trying to argue that we shouldn't blame all Muslims for the events of September 11th.

I'd strongly suggest people read the ENTIRE transcript before blaming Williams or justifying his firing.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: ...But I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it's not a war against Islam. President Bush went to a mosque...

...

O'REILLY: I got to be careful, you just said it. I got to be careful. I have got to qualify everything 50 times. You know what, Juan? I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not doing that anymore.

WILLIAMS: OK. So, be yourself. Take responsibility.

O'REILLY: But I'm not going to say, oh, it's only a few. It's only a tiny bit. It's not, Juan. It's whole nations, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, whole nations

http://www.scpr.org/programs/madeleine-brand/2010/10/21/npr-fires-juan-williams/

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 21, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Glad I could help you in exposing the Murdoch global propaganda network in action.

Drop a story here, print a story there, link to each other...oh LOOK....there's a consensus even in multiple countries...but wait.

Upon closer inspection they are all Murdoch publications.

It's a scam and I hope more and more become aware of what Murdoch is attempting to do on a global scale. He's trying through the press to impose his world view and is joining up with Koch and other specialists in propaganda to do this here and on a global scale.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Williams should have been forced to publicly apologize and an official reprimand by NPR should have been issued, but termination was a bit too harsh.

Posted by: lwilliamson1 | October 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I did not see this live or in a clip. However reading the exerpts, it appears Williams was stating a personal fear. If he feels that way, I guess the message is that he should keep it to himself. Or is the message that he is not permitted to feel how he feels? If he had said that when he is in a bar and sees a "bubba wearing a confederate flag hat" having a drink, or in the south and sees a white cop approaching him on the street, he gets worried or nervous -- would that be biggoted if he really feels that way? In any event, I doubt NPR would fire him for it no matter how ill-advised or unpopular such a statement would be. Political correctness?? I recommend the adjective "extremist" always be used in front of muslims when talking about terrorists. But I fear the average person has a difficult time identifying which are the extremist muslims, the violent bubbas or the biggoted cops just by looking at them. So I suspect a lot of people get nervous or worried without a valid cause and I do not believe all of them are bigots.

Posted by: HopeNeverDies | October 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course not. Especially not after a special interest group put pressure on NPR. Williams was not even talked to before NPR made its decision. NPR it seems did speak to the special interest group before Mr. Williams was fired. This is National Public Radio which takes taxpayer dollars. It seems a quickly-made poorly thought-out decision.

Posted by: AllTheNews | October 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

No Juan Williams should not have been fired. They are going after Juan Williams because the Liberals hate fox news. NPR is funded by George Soros and CAIR works right out of the White House.

Posted by: msedivy | October 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that this is a conundrum.

Juan should, however, know better. How many times has he heard "I'm no bigot..." immediately followed by a bigoted statement. Hearing himself say that should have been the proverbial red flag.

Seeing EVERY person in "Muslim garb" as a terror suspect is a very bigoted statement. What would Williams have thought if BillO had said "I mean, look, Juan, I'm not a bigot. But when I go in a store, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Black garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Black, I get worried. I get nervous."?

You expect more - even on BillO's show - from Juan Williams.

I wonder, however, if a better course would have been to call him in for a reprimand and ask him to issue an on air apology for insinuating that culture alone is an indicator of criminality. If he doesn't make the apology he is fired. If he does, he has to live with the consequences.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | October 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Another nice catch from GG's comments: Andy Breitbart's BigBlah outfits (predictably) are shrieking about Williams and NPR.

Anyone recall Breitbart leading the charge to have Shirley Sherrod fired, based on a misleading excerpt of a speech she gave?

Buellar?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

A large part of Fox News' meme is "shouting fire in a crowded theater," so, "no," they wouldn't fire an employee for such inflammatory statements. It is good that most of the rest of the media has standards of conduct--this is just responsible, civilized behavior that serves the public order.

Unfortunately, fearmongering is the order of the day for a lot of TV personalities, people running for public office, and the like. Such weak minds. This is supposed to be "the Home of the Brave"?

Posted by: dozas | October 21, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"Show me someone that says they don't think about the plane blowing up when Muslims are on board and I'll show you a liar."

Show me someone who doesn't know any Muslims, who doesn't have any contact with anyone who is different from themselves, and I'll show you an ignorant, cowardly American.

This country is better than that. Bedwetters and bigots need to stop trying to betray this country's principles.

Posted by: BGinCHI | October 21, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

My only comment would be that after 11 years an employee might expect that a little more time be taken in considering his/her dismissal.

Posted by: sbj3 | October 21, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

What Juan Williams is doing when he gets on an airplane is called "profiling" Actually it is exactly what TSA wants every American to do...they tell us to look for anything suspicious and report to them! Most won't admit to it, but we all profile, esp if we see people dressed in full Muslim garb acting suspiciously. What would suspicious behavior be? Getting out prayer mats before a flight and praying to Mecca. And then arguing to the ticket agent about the placement of thier seats. Happened before I boarded a plane recently and it did disturb me. It is their right to do this but I think if these Muslims were more sensitive they would go to a secluded part of airport not on floor at the gate. I will not listen to NPR again.

Posted by: sam82 | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Do we all remember this line from President Obama's speech on race? He is speaking of his grandmother. "a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street". Statements like this encourage discussion, and firings like Juan Williams stifle it. We need to talk about this more not penalize people who acknowledge that they do have fears. That's all he did. He didn't say it was right, he didn't say it was justified, he said he got nervous, just like Obama's grandmother. Good Grief. No-one can say anything in this country anymore we are so afraid of causing offense we fail to address real fears and perceptions that can bring us to our knees if not dealt with.

Posted by: lizziebev | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

So, NPR is 'studiously neutral', eh? Perhaps to those of an organic "Progressive" bent. For the rest of us who don't ascribe to that worldview things look and sound very different. Juan Williams was conspicuous in that he was one of the few NPR journalists who actually could give voice and credence to those not of the Left-of-center, and who could do it in a respectful manner while at the same time taking pains to provide countervailing views and opinions. NPR has grown so smugly "superior" in its allegedly objective approach to news reporting that it is completely oblivious to how truly biased and egregiously politically correct it has become, to how opinion is being passed off as "news" reporting. I'm not sure whether NPR's sins of commission (those stories/viewpoints it chooses to highlight) or of omission (those stories/viewpoints it chooses to downplay or ignore) are worse. This failing grows all the more acute with Williams' departure. And to think that I reliably used to contribute to NPR/PBS. I won't be doing that again any time soon, apparently.

Posted by: pcbrig | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Considering the fact that none of the 9/11 terrorists wore "Muslim garb," Williams' nervousness and worry seem odd. Sounds like prejudice to me and I think it was right that he was called on it.

And BGinCHI, you asked me on last night's thread what my son studied at UB (I'm sure you've been waiting for an answer :) He got his master's in English Lit there and was in Buffalo only a year, so I guess he didn't have time to develop the love part of the love/hate relationship, lol.

Posted by: carolanne528 | October 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Look. It's not that hard. This isn't the state trying to silence someone expressing their views. Juan Williams was being paid to offer opinions on an NPR news program. They have a right (I would argue, a duty) to expect that his opinions will meet some basic standards of decency, fairness and mutual respect for his entire audience.As you stated in your article, on FOX he did not promote any of the above. He aided and abetted Islamophobic hysteria. He should no longer be paid by a credible news organization to offer his opinions to millions of listeners. His credibility is all he has in that game. It's gone. If you want to listen to people who are paid to offer opinions free of any such expectations, or give voice to free-floating fears regardless of the pernicious effects it may have on other individuals or the country as a whole, tune into his other boss.
Besides, as some of your other commentators have pointed out, this is only final straw with Mr. Williams. He has been an increasingly shallow, uninformative, presenter for years.

Posted by: gmdi | October 21, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Are you nuts? Thomas was calling for the destruction of Israel and mass deportation of Jews. Nasr praised the leader of terrorist movement for "defense of women". Sanchez suggested that our media is being run by Jewish conspiracy that keeps down poor ethnics like him. What is Williams' crime? Saying what we all feel - that we experience certain fear seeing men in Osama's costume and women dressed like bowling pins boarding the aircraft? In fact, Williams said to O'Reilly that generalizations about Muslims are so dangerous precisely because we feel this way. You really want to call Williams a racist? Have you completely lost your bloody mind?

Posted by: arik67 | October 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely not. He was expressing a popular misconception and so was not necessarily outside of the mainstream. But I believe that he should participate in some sort of panel explaining why he feels that way which includes Muslims, people who are even more fearful than Juan Williams, and people who are not Muslim but still think his position is ridiculous. The best way to deal with this kind of bigotry is to sunlight it. Turning Juan Williams into a martyr serves no one.

Posted by: klautsack | October 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Juan Williams ... he's got plenty of money, FOX will probably give him his own show now that he has passed their purity test. What about this guy -- did he deserve to lose his job?

This past summer, ThinkProgress twice reported that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) went on cable news television to propagate his claim that pregnant Middle Eastern women are traveling to the U.S. to have babies who will automatically become U.S. citizens and later return here when they are older to “blow us up.”

Christian Cutler, who until recently, was the art gallery director at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), was also watching Gohmert’s appearances and decided he didn’t want anything to do with the high school art show Gohmert had asked him to judge. According to Cutler, after hearing Gohmert’s statements, he called one of his aides and told her that he had decided against judging the competition, saying “I really don’t want to associate myself with Congressman Gohmert and I felt he was a sensationalist and from recent information via the Web and television I felt like he was a fear monger.”

Ten days later, he received a letter from Gohmert who wrote that he “disagrees” with Cutler’s remarks, “but will defend to the death your right to be misinformed.” Gohmert also revealed that the art show was supposed to be hosted at SFA (a detail Cutler was not previously aware of) and that he was moving it somewhere else. SFA college president Baker Pattillo was copied. Cutler tried to apologize and explain that he wouldn’t have pulled out of the art show had he known it was being held at his school, but to no avail. Shortly thereafter, Cutler was forced to resign from his job.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/21/gohmert-sfa-cutler/

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

As another poster so succinctly put it:

Mr. Williams was NOT fired for exercising his First Amendment Rights. It was because his NPR contract does not allow him to publicly express a personal opinion which he would not articulate in his professional capacity as an employee of NPR. Because - as of the time of his appearance on the O'Reily show - Williams was still an NPR employee. And NPR employees are forbidden, by the terms of their employment, from publicly expressing views that they would not express as an NPR journalist.

NPR's terms of employment also request that employees not appear on shows that encourage speculation and punditry rather than fact-based analysis, particularly shows that are harmful to the reputation of thir employer - NPR.

Mr. O'Reilly's show certainly falls under the description of shows Mr. Williams' employer - NPR - SPECIFICALLY requested that he not appear on. And his remarks certainly fall under the category of views that Mr. Williams would not, in his role as a news journalist, express on NPR.

Sure, Mr. Williams personal reaction to people dressed in Muslim garb on a plane may be human. However, the terms of his employment do not allow him to express his personal opinion in a public forum. It's really no different from an employee who signs a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of employment, and then blabs away on, say, Oprah. That employee would be fired, too. And quite rightly so.

Seems that people who are surprised and outraged by this perfectly predictable firing of Mr. Williams have forgotten what "journalism" is supposed to be: objective, free from personal prejudice, and fact-based.

Posted by: Chagasman | October 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Lizziebev, what you're saying would make sense but for a few points:

1) You simply cannot try to play the punditry game and the reporter game, especially with NPR. That's why NPR decided for Williams.

2) As it was said in the article, it is absolutely good to open a discorse on prejudices to help us overcome them. However, Fox News does not provide a platform upon which this can be done. Their reporting strongly favors prejudice as a reasonable reaction to Al-Qaeda, and provides no alternate viewpoints. William's own "confession" was only made so Bill O'Reilly could appear vindicated by an outside authority.

There's no need to panic. You can still say anything you want in this country, just don't be suprised when you're held responsible for what you've said.

Posted by: joshlct | October 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

i totally agree with William's statements. Whenever i get on a plane, i constantly watch and fear the mooslims on board. not prejudice, just awareness. let's see, 9/11, Fort Hood, Little Rock, Times Square, Reid, last Christmas. It just goes on and on. Frankly, i'm tired of liberals who wish to "tolerate" our country to death. I wish they could only do it to themselves.

Posted by: jibe | October 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Jeffery Goldberg writes that "The first quotation reflects the views, I'm guessing, of the vast majority of people who fly in this country."

I thoroughly agree. Juan is no bigot and should not be fired. NPR has received my last charitable donation, there is no charity in them. I suspect the Liberal NPR had other reasons for taking this action. No doubt Mr. Soros nudged them with his millions.
Juan was expressing an honest-felt emotion based on all the aircraft hijackings and bombings that have been carried out by "MUSLIMS". It is obvious that the millions of MUSLIMS that are not terrorists, have been less than forthcoming in condemning the terrorists. I am a Christian, but to all MUSLIMs that means I am an INFIDEL, to be shunned and/or killed? Speak up MUSLIMS, tell the world your true feelings toward non-Muslims.

Posted by: leberk | October 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"A news outlet as studiously neutral as NPR" is laughable, and firing Williams is representative of that. Williams' own words said it best--"political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality." Firing a reporter for speaking the truth instead of filtering it through the Soros machine is evidence of PC run amok. NPR's very thinly veiled attempt at balance and neutrality has gone out the window.

Posted by: richgevi | October 21, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Adam

Seven or Eight Pakistani military officers, apparently high - ranking, on a diplomatic trip in the US - were pulled off a plane last year.


SO - WHAT is the policy of the US government????


Give Juan Williams a break - I think enough people have heard enough of what he has said over the years to know he is not a bigot.

Soo....


Juan got FIRED TO STATING CONSERVATIVE OPINIONS. That is the only reason behind this. This whole reason is hogwash. The truth is NPR did not like Juan Williams occassionally agreeing with Conservatives=


NPR has an attitude problem


Juan - you are half black, how DARE you say anything Conservative.

Juan - you are half hispanic, how DARE you say anything about immigration.


THAT is why Juan was fired.


For everyone, Juan's view's probably average out to the middle of the road - Sometimes conversvative, sometimes liberals - he says what he thinks.


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 21, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This is how Democrats/liberals CENSOR what we say. It happened on The View, where they Walked Off, and now it happened with NPR.
Taxpayers, we need to Demand that our taxdollars are NOT being spent on NPR!!!!
If Democrats/Liberals don't agree, they
either cry Racism or "social injustice"
This is taking away our Freedom of Speech!

Posted by: ohioan | October 21, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

NPR WAS WITHIN ITS RIGHTS TO FIRE JUAN WILLIAMS

I have worked in the publishing business and the newspaper business for over 30 years. Juan Williams professes to be a journalist. A journalist is to report the news factual and with objectivity, which is a rarity these days. In his capacity as a side kick to O'Reilly, he has every right to give commentary on his personal beliefs and in op-ed pieces. However, when you get back into the journalist chair and write stories and give commentary on NPR you have a CREDITABILITY problem.

Juan Williams cannot give an honest and true reporting of Muslims stories and events and at the same time the WORLD knows that you have a BIAS toward that group -- there goes your CREDITABILITY and OBJECTIVITY.

NPR had every right to fire Mr. Williams or any other paid employee for breaching their journalistic oath of FAIRNESS and OBJECTVITY.

Posted by: djoh1226 | October 21, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Are all liberals Insane? Are you really making the case that, statistically speaking, a Muslim is not more likely to be a bomber on a plane than anyone else? Are you saying that, statistically speaking, I don't have a greater likelihood of being mugged by the average back youth versus the average white youth? And that my level of concern about either cannot be driven by statistical reality? A significant portion of the Muslim world wants to see our country ruled by Sharia (see Pew poll of 20 Muslim countries) and you are still denying we have a problem? Wake up.

Posted by: gentsugen | October 21, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The National Public Retards needs to go private and NOT be connected to the gov. Waste of taxpayer $.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Taxpayer money to NPR should only be given by checking a box on your tax return.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Someone should ask Juan Williams exactly how many terrorists on planes have been decked out "in full Muslim garb."

The answer? ZERO.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, when Williams refers to 'Muslim garb' he's probably thinking about some guy with a bushy beard and a turban. That's not a Muslim, that's a Sikh.


Besides, anyone who's dumb enough to suspect the guy dressed in 'Muslim garb' (whatever that means) thereby making themselves stand out like a sore thumb, really shouldn't be a credible source on anything more complex than what they had for lunch today.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | October 21, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

To me, the key objectionable thing about all this seems to be the disportionate response: getting fired for a one-time comment, after years of exemplary service to NPR. NPR could have chosen some other route: imposing a fine, some kind of censure, a period of suspension, etc. -- the kind of thing we see in other organizations. That would have satisfied its need to communicate to Williams and the world the inappropriateness of such remarks by a representative of NPR in the public media, without being draconian.

Posted by: ct57 | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: gentsugen: "Are all liberals Insane?"
----------------------------------------

No, they aren't. Liberals just use emotion to guide their decision making rather than reason. Hence, they ignore statistics and reality. UNLESS, you force them to live what they preach and it involves (statistically) a risk to THEIR life. Then, you seem them do a 180...

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I only read the transcript. I do not agreed with Juan Williams views on this matter,but I do not consider him a bigot. Over the years he is one of the few sane persons who appears on 'unbalanced and unfair Fox news!' I think NPR was wrong to fire him!

Posted by: CharlieDrew | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Juan Williams' edginess probably isn't only limited to Muslims. He likely fears Caucasians in certain situations as well (as do I):
http://www.dailyscoff.com/?p=2891
though I doubt he'd lose his job for saying so.

The fact of the matter is that, in certain situations, certain ethnicities DO fit profiles that justify, at the very LEAST, nervousness:
http://www.dailyscoff.com/?p=2891

But I understand (as does anybody who's ever HEARD public radio) that NPR can't have commentators go around speaking their OWN mind...


-jjg

Posted by: jgravelle | October 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

npr doesn't allow it's journalists to attend a political rally by a comedian, or it's employees to make bigoted statements publicly. this is why I love Fox News. They send news producers to gin up political rallies, and, unlike NPR, Fox News celebrates the bigot. Juan Williams wasn't fired for making a bigoted statement. He was fired for defending another man's bigotry, Mr. O'Reilly's. this is the same road you travel, Mr. Sargent. Defending a man's bigotry. Hopefully, I'll see you at Fox soon!

Posted by: twinkletwan | October 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Williams addresses his firing:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4381341/juan-williams-responds-to-his-firing-from-npr/

After 11 years he doesn't even get a face to face.

Posted by: sbj3 | October 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This firing has raised a lot of dust. It would be decent to give some thought and talk to the fact that Fox is not firing Charles Leaf, arrested for raping a 4 year old. Got priorities?

Posted by: T-town1 | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Who is Helen Thomas?

Posted by: jdonner2 | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Black people are just going to have to get used to the idea that they are no longer the "premium" minority. There are now Muslims and they want their seat at the front of the bus. No longer will Blacks be allowed to rely on the color of their skin to keep their jobs. There are Muslims who will now usurp the black man. Affirmative action will no longer fight for Blacks, the muslim is the new minority of choice. I do not agree with this type of activity, but it does give me some small measure of satisfaction that at least one African American Knows what it feels like to be unjustly labeled a racist/bigot.

Yours truly,
Typical Tea Party member.

Posted by: mrwndrflxoxo | October 21, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This is yet another one of our freedoms slowly taken away by this congress and this president. We need to take our rights back and vote them out in November. Don't think for one minute this isn't coming from the top. We are not even free to use the first amendment. Please America, let this be yet another sign that we are losing our rights. Vote Vote Vote them out. Lets take America back before we truly are a third world country.Juan Williams is free to speak, and a very open minded fair man. Political correctness has gone way too far.

Posted by: jimcarol | October 21, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

No, they aren't. Liberals just use emotion to guide their decision making rather than reason. Hence, they ignore statistics and reality.
...
Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM
===========================

What's your opinion on the global warming debate?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on Mr. Sargent! Stop with your hypocrisy. It is NOT a glaring double-standard. As you wrote, "Rick Sanchez and Helen Thomas have been fired or forced to resign for remarks they made about Jews..."

Where do you see Jews blowing up buildings, killing thousands, incinerating thousands of innocents? Where are the Jewish parents that are sending out their Jewish children as suicide / homicide bombers in the name of YHWH and Moses, His prophet? According to the requirements of Torah or Jewish law? Where are the Jews Mr. Sargent beheading non-Jewish "infidels?"

Enough with your deplorable hypocrisy Mr. Sargent.

Posted by: sklein19 | October 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Chagasman at 12:22 PM


I disagree about the sequence of events you are expressing. Juan Williams has been appearing on shows which have him express his opinion, speculation and punditry - for YEARS.

Juan Williams has been a regular panelist for years.

So, just his appearance on that ONE show is not the problem.


NO - the problem is that Juan SOMETIMES agrees with CONSERVATIVES - not always.


But that apparently is TOO MUCH for NPR -


NPR is RACIST because their attitude is that a black man SHOULD HAVE liberal views.

NPR apparently believed that ALL blacks should have opinions based on the COLOR of their skin.


A guy like Juan Williams - who is Conservative on some issues, liberal on some issues, moderate on others - that kind of person with those kinds of OPINIONS -


Well apparently NPR thinks that kind of person should be taught a lesson - for not being loyal to the liberals who think THEY know what is best for the black community.


NPR is another liberal institution, with an excellent reputation, which has DESTROYED ITSELF - and really should be disbanded.

.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

He said absolutely NOTHING wrong! No way would I get on a plane if I suspected there were muslims on board. The truth is, and I am in no way a Bill O'Reilly fan, MUSLIMS attacked us on 911. Islam is not a religion, but a political philosophy disguised as a religion. And the only way I'd ever respect islam as a real religion is if they did away with the barbaric parts of their law of sharia, stop making women feel like they have to cover themselves, and condemn any muslim who insists on clinging to stoning, maiming, burning and jailing people for imagined sins. And also give up on their quest to conquer the infidel and convert the world to this gutter "religion. "

If people want to live a lifestyle as they did in the year 500, then go live in an islamic state and freaking stay there!

Posted by: PhillygirlToo | October 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

In the eyes of the Liberal, bigotry is the single greatest crime one can commit in the public shpere. Worse than adultery (Clinton), murder (T. Kennedy), the stigma placed on even the slightest whiff of bigotry chops away mercilessly at the columns of freedom, common sense, security and fairness. Liberals are now blinded by their religious adherence to this uber-commandment.

Of course, when the sister of bigotry is used in reverse to favor minorities over others, it is a welcomed and unquestioned action that can wipe away the stain of other liberal crimes.

Posted by: mrossmross0 | October 21, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

And NPR should know they have lost any future contributions I was planning to send, and I hope others follow suit until they reinstate him or apologize and admit they were wrong.

This is the conservatives winning. What happened to freedom of speech?

Posted by: PhillygirlToo | October 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What I meant is the the progressives are being so stupid, that the conservatives are winning.

Posted by: PhillygirlToo | October 21, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out, Obama again refuses to say whether he'd veto extension of Bush tax cuts, and imagines a new era of bipartisan cooperation on the horizon:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/obama_its_premature_to_discuss.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 21, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Only in America could Muslims be defended to the extent that a journalist can make a remark that results in firing. Only in America can we live in fear every day of a Muslim attack but yet fire an American for stating the obvious. Good going liberals. Support the religion that craves to destroy America and fire anyone who feels aprehension about Muslims being on their favorite form of destruction - a plane. I feel the same way. Now fire me from being an American.

Posted by: mmg16 | October 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Who is Helen Thomas?

Posted by: jdonner2 | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM


________________________________


See? I knew someone was going to say that


How soon we forget.


For years, she was given the honor of asking the first question at Presidential news conferences.


That was until she decided to ask really hard questions......

.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes. The extremists we need to worry about don't show up at the airport wearing "Muslim" (doesn't he mean Arab?)garb.

Williams won't last long at Fox now. His status as an NPR reporter was the reason they hired him in the first place. It allowed them to say, “hey look, a reporter from that “liberal” (read fact-based) radio network is on our network so we’re ‘balanced’. AND he’s Black so we’re not Racist either!” Now, he’s just another rightwing shill and we know how many out there will play that game.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Republicans on this blog: Nobody should be fired for bigotry that we agree with.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 21, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Juan Williams should have been fired for voicing an opinion that, in all liklihood, is shared by a majority of Americans. Instead, he should have been given the opportunity to debate the issue on NPR with others of differing viewpoints. That would have cleared the air. Instead, we are stuck with NPR's traditional bugaboo, political correctness, and another reason for conservatives to urge the defunding of NPR.

Speaking personally, I think Juan Williams was wrong in voicing concern about persons in Muslim garb on a plane. After all, they went through screening, just like everyone else. I would note, however, that before they are screened, in the airport boarding area, there would certainly be reason for concern. Just look at all the instances of Chechen "black widows" concealing bombs under their Muslim dress. This is a real problem and needs to be recognized.

Posted by: shoeone | October 21, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I always like Juan Williams what he says but this time he went far.
He was not caught in an open mic. He knew where he was and who was listening. The saying "think before you lip" matters a lot. He is a clever man to realise that filtering words is very important in his professional career as a journalist. He knows that hurting some people feelings is very bad thats why he wrote about the civil rights movement.
Though the punishment is huge, but I regret he crossed the line!

Posted by: fridamulindayahoocouk | October 21, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse


I'm not a bigot. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Hasidic garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Jews, I get worried. I get nervous.

Posted by: ThoughtfulGuy | October 21, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Let me be clear, I am not a fan of Williams.
I do not think he should have been fired.
This is BS. I can say anything I please. I'm retired, can't be fired and do not have to go along with this political correctness BS and will not. It is disgusting.

Posted by: nychap44 | October 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Jeffery Goldberg writes that "The first quotation reflects the views, I'm guessing, of the vast majority of people who fly in this country."

Oh really, Jeffrey Goldberg? Are you really guessing or are you simply afraid of the label you would get if you admitted you felt the same way?

Posted by: magellan1 | October 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Williams point has been made. He was fired by P C. The liberal ideas are, freedom of speech is find, unless you cross the line that we decide you should not cross. A country divided can not stand. Not since the Civil war has America been so divided. We have dishonest government, dishonest media and a public that doesn't follow history. We have George Soros funding media matters, working like a Grand Wizard behind the screen to remade us in his image. We have Jesse Jackson blackmailing corporations. al Gore spreading lies about globe warming. Remember the story of The Emperors New Clothes. Everyone feared upsetting the Emperor by saying he's naked. Until a small boy spoke the truth. Are we that village, to scared to be honest. The President is not god and Muslims did attack us. Quit firing people because the spoke the truth. Controlling people start by controlling speech. We are America Damn it, we stand for freedom of speech. Williams is correct and those who hate Rush, Beck and Fox want to control speech. Sorry, that's not my America. Never ever follow the media and government or anyone else blindly. Always question them and yourself.

Posted by: Jamess1001 | October 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"That's a genuine problem, especially for a news outlet as studiously neutral as NPR"

"“liberal” (read fact-based) radio network"

Neutral as NPR? Fact-based? Wow. These statements must be the legalized pot talking.

Civil wars happen when the extremes become the norm.

Posted by: avpcomp2 | October 21, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya: "What's your opinion on the global warming debate?"
--------------------------------------
Umm, it's two sides arguing? Opinions aren't science.

Now, have you studied that latest Max Plank astrophysics findings regarding the sun's energy output for the last 150 years that was published in August? Did you plug the data from that report into the currently used global warming computer model? If not, I suggest you do. AMAZING that the scientists left out this most important data. Invalidates the final conclusions as the data wasn't included.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I did not see this live or in a clip. However reading the exerpts, it appears Williams was stating a personal fear. If he feels that way, I guess the message is that he should keep it to himself. Or is the message that he is not permitted to feel how he feels? If he had said that when he is in a bar and sees a "bubba wearing a confederate flag hat" having a drink, or in the south and sees a white cop approaching him on the street, he gets worried or nervous -- would that be biggoted if he really feels that way? In any event, I doubt NPR would fire him for it no matter how ill-advised or unpopular such a statement would be. Political correctness?? I recommend the adjective "extremist" always be used in front of muslims when talking about terrorists. But I fear the average person has a difficult time identifying which are the extremist muslims, the violent bubbas or the biggoted cops just by looking at them. So I suspect a lot of people get nervous or worried without a valid cause and I do not believe all of them are bigots.

Posted by: HopeNeverDies | October 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

___________________________________________________________________________

Very well said. I have a feeling a lot of even progressive journalists are very embarrassed by this. At a minimum Juan should have been invited to discuss this further. If liberal stations fired all journalists who trespassed the stations' sensibilities, and conservative stations fired all journalists who trespassed their sensibilities, then all we have done is created perfectly partisan news hubs. There is no more discourse, only polemics. All that means is we have lost the chance to persuade the opposite party to our point of view.
NPR's move is tragically silly.

Posted by: vishalg_99 | October 21, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Williams was fired so much for his comment as for his ignorance. How can someone be an objective reporter who doesn't understand the difference between all Muslims and the 911 terrorists.

Would Williams agree that all African Americans should be suspect because of the Beltway Sniper? Does he think we should be wary of all African Americans we see driving in cars? If a reporter expressed sentiments like that would his employer keep him on or would they realize that they were hopelessly ignorant and unable to report or comment on the news?

Williams was not admitting to a flaw as in "I admit I harbor fears about Muslims after 911" but justifying his and O'reilly's prejudices, saying they were right to be wary of all Muslims who got on airplanes.

Posted by: jesther | October 21, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind if they wear Muslim garb as long as they (and all the other passengers) use deodorant.

Posted by: socaloralpleazer | October 21, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

NPR fires someone for simply being honest.

This helps explain the miserable condition we find in our media.

You must follow the politically correct, liberal template designed for news broadcast, or you will be fired.

+++

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | October 21, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Snakes on a Plane

Aren't we all prejudiced? We all want to be safe, comfortable, without fear, happy. Why is it a bad thing to express legitimate personal fears? I'm scared when I see a snake in the forest, and I am sure to avoid it and will freely admit to others that it scared me. This doesn't mean snakes are evil and want to hurt me, but I know that some snakes CAN bite and kill based on a belief that have that I might be dangerous to them - that's scary to me. Point being, I would rather share my tent with a chipmunk than with a snake. Just like I would rather share my row on an airplane with a cheerleader than with someone in Muslim garb, or someone dressed like a viking, or someone dressed like a pirate, or even a poisonous snake. It's a fact that all these groups have beliefs so strong that they dress up in a particular way, and if they're willing to dress up like that, who knows what else they're capable of doing? One exception, were it Halloween, I would not be afraid of any of these people, because most likely they dress scary like that because they just want candy. Yay!

Posted by: shnook1 | October 21, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Williams won't last long at Fox now. His status as an NPR reporter was the reason they hired him in the first place. It allowed them to say, “hey look, a reporter from that “liberal” (read fact-based) radio network is on our network so we’re ‘balanced’. AND he’s Black so we’re not Racist either!” Now, he’s just another rightwing shill and we know how many out there will play that game.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

-----------------------------------------------
Ding dongs like *thebobbob* are exactly the reason why the dumbing down of America is happening. His statement is so uninformed that it's disheartening. What can you do? Uninformed opinion is the fad in US now, isn't it? People like him are exactly the reason why each of the two parties keeps taking us for a ride. One starts wars, the other frowns over them but keeps them going.

Have you followed Juan Williams? I mean, this guy spends half his time on FOX fighting off conservative dissing of Obama. He is the one ridiculing Kristol on FOX all the time. Countering Hume. These idiotic drones who are powering out of the cupboard because they associate Juan's face with FOX are truly the liberal version of Republican rednecks who do nothing but harm society.

Posted by: vishalg_99 | October 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"for a news outlet as studiously neutral as NPR"

I'm a progressive, but that's frankly a whopper. I listen and support NPR because they're largely gay, far-left coastals like myself.

Posted by: happyacres | October 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he should have been fired. I don't agree with his statement but I don't have to. I get very worried when there are sanctions for holding an opinion different from others, and even holding a wrong opinion.

Juan Williams clearly said that it was his personal opinion. All human beings hold prejudices. Expressing them is one step to bring them out of the closet and up front where we can discuss them and perhaps use the controversy as a "teachable" moment. Wouldn't it have been better to make Juan have to face Muslims in a TV show? Give them a voice to counter his statement?

So they shut down Juan Williams, and they shut down the discussion.

I am sorry that America is becoming so European. In Europe, being politically incorrect can land you in jail.

I am a Black woman, of foreign extraction. I hate racism, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia. But what I hate even more, is for our freedom of speech to be curtailed.

Sorry Juan. Hope you bounce back.

Posted by: RoseL1 | October 21, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Muslim garb is so scary. When I'm at the airport and I see people in Muslim garb, all I can think is, "Sheiks on a Plane."

It is one thing to admit to prejudices. I remember hearing Desmond Tutu speak about how, when he saw that the pilot of his plane was black, he had a moment of doubt about whether the pilot was really quailfied to fly. But he used that as a way of illustrating the problems of prejudice, not as a way of validating prejudice.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

They need to hire him back, if he will have them. I am a liberal, I contribute to NPR (up to now). This is the dumbest thing they have ever done. He can't hurt you NPR, hire him back, he was not saying what is right, he was saying how he feels.

Posted by: irwinmn | October 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Juan William is incorrect in assuming that someone dressed in muslim garb (something that identifies them as being muslim) is necessarily identifying themself as a "muslim first and foremost". I think it is Mr Williams, in his narrow mindedness, who upon seeing someone dressed in a muslim garb, ascribes to them the identity of "muslim first and foremost" as opposed to assuming that they consider themselves to be human beings first and foremeost, or American first annd foremost, etc.

I think it is surprising that Mr. Williams is scared of people dressed as muslims. For one, the few muslims that do blow up planes don't walk around airports advertising their identity.

On second thoughts, maybe it is NPR's requirement of rationality that Mr. Williams violated.

Posted by: trueone | October 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"I would wager that most of us share his feelings."

You lose. I'll be by in a moment to take your car.

Posted by: mattintx | October 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm an independent voter a little right of center. PBS fired an intelligent and articulate man that could explain liberal viewpoints.

Step back for a moment, forget fox news, and look at the man.

PBS has lost my support.

Posted by: rkerr40 | October 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

No, Juan should not have been fired. He only spoke the truth. Most people do a double take about muslims on a plane. Common sense says be cautious and that is really all he said. The bottom line is that muslims remind us of the 9/11 tragedy and nothing said or done can change that. And the attitude that no one anywhere can say anything the least bit critical of them is insanity. After all they are taught to deceive and kill the infidels and who are the infidels but all the rest of us who are not muslim. Read the Quran.

Posted by: mytake10 | October 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Juan William is incorrect in assuming that someone dressed in muslim garb (something that identifies them as being muslim) is necessarily identifying themself as a "muslim first and foremost". I think it is Mr Williams, in his narrow mindedness, who upon seeing someone dressed in a muslim garb, ascribes to them the identity of "muslim first and foremost" as opposed to assuming that they consider themselves to be human beings first and foremeost, or American first annd foremost, etc.

I think it is surprising that Mr. Williams is scared of people dressed as muslims. For one, the few muslims that do blow up planes don't walk around airports advertising their identity.

On second thoughts, maybe it is NPR's requirement of rationality that Mr. Williams violated.

Posted by: trueone | October 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Mara Liason better be very careful what she says on cable commentary shows. If she puts forth a personal opinion and then is not terminated, a clear double standard will be shown. Someone is probably already viewing her past appearances for examples of stating personal opinions.

Posted by: scottNV | October 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Sargent "conveniently" leaves out an important part of Williams' discussion with O'Reilly, where Williams chides O'Reilly for generalizing about Muslims being terrorists. Puts things in a whole different perspective.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | October 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Commenters on NPR site are running about 3,000 to ONE saying this is mistake on NPR's part. Many are supporters who say they won't donate because of this over-reaction.

Posted by: GaiasChild | October 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This hasty firing was a mistake. Juan Williams has a certain integrity which should have been taken into account. My decades of contributing to NPR are over.

Posted by: mmurray2 | October 21, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

No, he shouldn't have been fired. Taxpayers need to FIRE NRP, no more money.
Democrats/Liberals constant cries of "racism" and "social injustice" have created an environment where Americans feel like they have to "walk on eggs"
around everything. This is not healthy and its not honest.
O'Reilly didn't say anything wrong, and neither did Juan Williams.
Democrats/liberals are Robbing our Freedom
of Speech, they're Censoring what they don't agree with.

Posted by: ohioan | October 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

CIA says there are betweeen 5,000-10,000 terrorists. There are about 1.5 billion Muslims. That's 1:150,000-300,000 odds any given Muslim is a terrorist. (Assuming most of them weren't overseasa anyway).

When you're afraid of someone who represents a hunderds of thousands to one change of hurung you, YOU'RE PREJUDICED BABY!

And nobody is curtailing William's right to free speech. There are parks and street corners everywhere. But a media outlet has the right to decide if they want to pay prejudiced people to work as pundits (hello FOX), or not.

Posted by: Kev11721 | October 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Malcolm X advocated that Muslims slap airplanes out of the sky in order to destroy the white man's temple. Killing airline passengers is fully supported by the federal courts as it is great way to generate income for trial lawyers. So Williams' fear of Muslims on airplanes is warranted and he should not have been fired.

If any thing, Airline executive should worry about being doused with kerosene and set on fire and federal judges should fear being shot by surviving family members of dead airline passengers. Then Williams and others could travel by air with peace of mind knowing their lives are just as valuable as federal judges and the airlines' CEOs.

Posted by: cryoge | October 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Juan was not actually an employee of NPR. He was a contractor. And no, he should not have been "fired" for his comment because he was contracted to give his opinion. That's what commentators do. And no, Rick Sanchez should not have been fired!!!

Posted by: cjenkins87 | October 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, NPR was right to fire him. There has been a conflict of interest all along between his commentary for FOX cable news and his "objective" reporting at NPR. If he realized that seeing people "in muslim garb" made him feel nervous, he should have resigned from NPR or gotten counseling to sort through his post 9/11 anxiety. But now, having admitted to profiling and stereotyping, he wouldn't have credibility as a reporter. There are responsibilities one has as a news reporter -- people expect that they will be treated fairly and that news concerning them will be considered as objectively as it is for the next person. There are already too many "reporters" who have no credibility because they have an agenda, but NPR has worked hard to stay objective.

Posted by: MinnyMa | October 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

BTW, NPR only gets about 8% of their budget from govt funding. Less than EXXON.

Posted by: Kev11721 | October 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

NPR is probably right. Who pays their rent? Contributors, contributors who could be predicted to react negatively toward the continued employment of someone who uses ignorant prhases like "Muslim garb." People with negative reactions toward the firing are probably not going to be NPR contributors in the first place.

Williams is also probably right, assuming he now wants to be the Uncle Ruckus of the right. FOX and its fellow media travelers can stand the heat; you don't see Rupert Murdoch begging for cash four times a year, he sells ads to pay the rent. He'll have plenty left over to pay Williams a good salary. All Williams has to do is live with himself, which from his public statements doesn't appear to be that hard on him.

Posted by: ex-Virginian4 | October 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Fire Juan Williams? What a Kroc!

Yet Juan Williams, human being, with decades of on-air experience, makes a verbal statement about a personal fear and gets fired for it. What a crock of what Whoopi Goldberg slipped out on The View the other day when Bill O'Reilly was on the program speaking of Muslims.

Do we still have free speech or is it only free speech as controlled by state run media, especially when it suits their funding and/or operations?

For instance, NPR has had no problem nodding to and promulgating the liberal idiocy of Happy Meals being banned. In contrast NPR certainly did not mind the big bucks - $200-million to be more specific - willed to them from the late Joan B. Kroc*. Kroc's husband, who preceeded her in death, was the founder of the McDonalds empire.

But then NPR is an entity, not a real human being like Mr. Williams. I do not agree with him a lot of the time, but I believe he believes what he says when he says it. This is contrary to the powers that be within the unfeeling, "No Personal Responsibility" (NPR), that mimics the mantra of 'progressives' in this country recently and through today:

"Do as I say, not as I do."

No. Juan Williams should not have been fired. That said, has Mr. Murdoch contacted human resources yet?

Maybe it will all be for the best.

* REF: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1494600

Posted by: conservativecolumnist | October 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

NPR is probably right. Who pays their rent? Contributors, contributors who could be predicted to react negatively toward the continued employment of someone who uses ignorant prhases like "Muslim garb." People with negative reactions toward the firing are probably not going to be NPR contributors in the first place.

Williams is also probably right, assuming he now wants to be the Uncle Ruckus of the right. FOX and its fellow media travelers can stand the heat; you don't see Rupert Murdoch begging for cash four times a year, he sells ads to pay the rent. He'll have plenty left over to pay Williams a good salary. All Williams has to do is live with himself, which from his public statements doesn't appear to be that hard on him.

Posted by: ex-Virginian4 | October 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse


FOX is partially owned by an Saudi Prince, if the Prince didn't fire Williams for his statement, then NPR had method to their madness.

Their Madness: NPR hasn't been enamored with Williams' employment at FOX and this is an excuse to fire him.

Although I don't always agree with Williams liberal views, I feel bad for Williams being labeled a bigot.

I saw him on TV today and he looked devastated by the NPR accusation of being labeled a bigot.

I also saw a clip where Williams had said previously on FOX that you can't paint Muslims with a broad brush. Thereby excoriating those who link all Muslims to terrorists.

This is another attempt to systematically silence Freedom of Speech by the politically correct crowd. That's unless you're spewing hate against those that they hate.

Bill Moyers on NPR compared the Republicans to the Taliban and Moyers wasn't fired for that statement.

It's fine and dandy on NPR as long as it's a conservative you're spewing your hate against.


Posted by: janet8 | October 21, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to juan. Racism has no place on npr, one of the few sources of journalistic integrity left in modern media.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | October 21, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Williams was fired so much for his comment as for his ignorance. How can someone be an objective reporter who doesn't understand the difference between all Muslims and the 911 terrorists.

Would Williams agree that all African Americans should be suspect because of the Beltway Sniper? Does he think we should be wary of all African Americans we see driving in cars?
...

Posted by: jesther | October 21, 2010 1:14 PM

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

This comment by jesther exactly illustrates how uninformed opinions become facts, and basis of persecution. It's exactly people like jesther who caused the firing of Shirley Sherrod. And the same thing is happening all over again. It would be funny if it weren't tragic.

"How can someone be an objective reporter who doesn't understand the difference between all Muslims and the 911 terrorists."

Where the heck does Juan William say this? If anything Juan William goes on to in fact REBUKE Reilly for injudiciously implying that all muslims are 911 terrorists! Juan supports Barbara Walters' concern with Reilly's point of view. Juan is willing to agree with Reilly that we sometimes take PC too far, but not with Reilly's stand that he should freely call all muslims terrorist. What truly brings out the tragic irony of the class of intellect represented by jesther is that Juan in fact tells Reilly that just because McVeigh/Atlanta bomber did terrorist acts does not mean all christians are terrorists! Surprised?

There's a reason why there's an update on The Plum Line where Greg Sargent refers to the full transcript and says clearly now that Juan should not have been fired for this statement. I suppose he bothered now to read the full transcript.

Posted by: vishalg_99 | October 21, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Bill O'Reilly has been scapegoating all Muslims. Juan said that he agreed with Bill. He then went on to explain how he is scared of all Muslims that he can identify by the way they are dressed.

Muslims come from many nations, and do not all dress alike.

Imagine if O'Reilly and Juan were talking about Jews instead of Muslims. Look what happened to that guy over on CNN. How long did he last after he scapegoated the Jewish people?

If you felt that Rick Sanchez deserved to be fired, then you have to demand that Fox fire O'Reilly and Juan Williams for scapegoating all Muslims, just like Rick Sanchez was scapegoating all Jews.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

A reporter is a person connected with the organization he works for, this person must keep in mind that public speaking is and must be a calculated exercise. This "I can say what I think because of my first amendment rights" does not apply when speaking in public. He can go home sit down and give a little though to what he did wrong and learn from this experience.

Posted by: vmbugarin | October 21, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If he had said the same things about black folks stating that "he is afraid of walking on the street when he sees a black person" he would have been fired (rightfully so). So, I am glad he is fired. Racism is racism no matter who is being targeted.

Some may feel that it is a free playing field for racist to attack Muslims nowadays.. I beg the difference.

Anyone who protects him in this case is also a racist. Plain and simple.

Posted by: goturkish1 | October 21, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Of course Juan Williams is not a bigot because he's nervous over in-your-face Muslims on an airplane. Any more than Jesse Jackson is relieved that the footsteps behind him late at night are white. (Would NPR have fired Jesse for saying that?) Regardless what precious, politically correct twits like Sargent say, profiling is inductive reasoning, a survival tactic we all need and use.

Posted by: lbjack | October 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: vmbugarin: "This "I can say what I think because of my first amendment rights" does not apply when speaking in public."
------------------------------------------

Bzzt! You MUST be a lib as you are CLUELESS when it comes to 1st Amend rights and working for this type of Org that is funded by the Fed Gov't.

So, tell me. Am I right that you are lib?

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Juan Williams comment is like: one going to the shop, goes around sees this and that while the owner is watching at him. After a while, the shop owner comes and say: "you know what, I thought you are a thief". How will that person feel!!! And that is exactly what was in the shop owners mind.

Posted by: fridamulindayahoocouk | October 21, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad he's gone. He's been an embarrassment on NPR for too long. And let's not forget JW's own almost O'Reilly-like issues with sexual harassment.

That the comment lines on NPR and here at the Post are flooded with fox, I mean faux outrage at the firing is just evidence that Beck, O'Reilly, Fox news et al directed their viewers to contact the so-called "liberal" media outlets. The people saying they won't donate to NPR again most likely never donated at all.

Posted by: thingsfallapart | October 21, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: thingsfallapart: "That the comment lines on NPR and here at the Post are flooded with fox, I mean faux outrage at the firing is just evidence that Beck, O'Reilly, Fox news et al directed their viewers to contact the so-called "liberal" media outlets."
-------------------------------------------
This post above is Proof positive that extensive use of mind altering drugs causes paranoia & delusions.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If this is read as Juan Williams being fired for those isolated remarks, then it does not seem warranted. Stepping back, however, and considering the all-to-public dispute between NPR and Williams over his appearances on FOX, we are not privy to everything taken into consideration when NPR fired him.

Color me skeptical that his firing was solely for the most recent remarks. I'm willing to bet that this was just the last straw in a strained work relationship.

Posted by: lurkittyfb | October 21, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I once heard a very wise person say that racism is like broken glass on the floor. You sweep and sweep and sweep and think you have gotten it all, but an hour later, you get a tiny shard in your foot. We ALL suffer from some degree of racism, like it or not. We try and try to get rid of it all; but every once in a while, we are surprised to find some unwelcome prejudicial view in our mind when we encounter different races or ethnic groups. The honest ones among us, including Mr. Williams, acknowledge that they still have work to do and start sweeping again. This sort of frank discussion is exactly what we need in this country. It is why alcoholics always introduce themselves as alcoholics at AA meetings and it is why Catholics go to confession. Reality denied will fester and ferment until it bites you bad.

The person who claims to be 100% free of racism is a walking hypocrite who is heading for a fall. It is much better to realise and confess that you are free of prejudice 98.5% of the time like Mr. Williams than to pretend you are somehow above the fray like NPR's management apparently does.

Posted by: CarlosHawes | October 21, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It's time to stamp out political correctness! For instance, I can't even say "I don't support the troops" or "Christianity is stupid" anymore without a bunch of right-wingers jumping all over me!

Posted by: space2k | October 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Well first I would not characterize Williams as a journalist. At best a commentator or pundit. We need less expressing opinions and more reporting facts. In that regard he will not be missed.

Second, and I am sure our conservative and Republican friends will support me, an employer can fire whomever they want for whatever reason unless a Constitutional right is violated.

Was Williams's right to free speech violated? He's still employed by FOX and WaPo, so he can spread his fear of Muslim dress far better than 99% of the American people who are not corporation sponsored.

Posted by: JTinAlex | October 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bill O'Reilly has been scapegoating all Muslims. Juan said that he agreed with Bill.
...
Posted by: Liam-still | October 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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

Juan only agreed with Bill on his broader concern that we sometimes get too PC. Juan DID NOT agree with Bill's statement that all muslims are terrorists. IN FACT Juan spent the rest of the interview supporting Barbara Walters' point of view and fighting Bill over Bill's inclination to generally say that we are at war with muslims.

READ THE FULL GODD!!M TRANSCRIPT. Stop the lynching.

Posted by: vishalg_99 | October 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Why did not Fox News fire Bill O'Reilly for his statement "Muslims killed Americans on 9/11? He did't say differenciate the fact that it was "extremists or radical" Muslims in his statement and it is more than quite fair to say he "purposefully worded" his statement as such, he is a very savy talk show host with years and years of speaking experience behing him.

Should NPR have fired Juan Williams? No. I would have given him a talking to for his statement. I definitly would have fired Bill O'Reilly. His statement defamed Muslims the world over, as he intended it to. Later, he mockingly stated that he thought viewers were intelligent enough to realize he meant to say "radical or extremist," but we all know that Bill O...says what he intends and the audience is intelligent enough to know that.

So, rehire Juan and give him a warning and a talking to, then Fox should fire Bill O.

Posted by: rannrann | October 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

A person does not choose their fears or phobias. They can admit them and try to overcome them though, and I really believe that was what Juan Williams was doing. He never said that it was alright to feel the way he did, he was just being honest.

If we cannot honestly discuss and attempt to overcome our irrational fears without punishment, then we are on the path to national neurosis. Nothing good can come of it. Jesus knew what he was doing when he said to "Speak the truth in love".

Posted by: CarlosHawes | October 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

rannrann posted; "Why did not Fox News fire Bill O'Reilly for his statement "Muslims killed Americans on 9/11?"

becasue Fox is as biggot as Bill O'Reilly and its viewer base are racists.
NPR is not racists on the other hand.

Posted by: goturkish1 | October 21, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when an apparently respectable journalist (and award-wining author/historian) chooses to get mixed up with Faux "News." Williams was clearly pandering to O'Reilly, and so now he has to live with the consequences. As has been said of a certain sports franchise in Washington which shall remain nameless, Faux is a "reverse car wash:" you go in clean, you come out soiled.

Posted by: jac13 | October 21, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

No. Should I withhold my contributions to NPR? Yes.

Posted by: vandelayexim | October 21, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things here:

This isn't a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech means free to speak your mind without being oppressed by FEDERAL LAWS ENACTED BY CONGRESS. It doesn't have anything to do with protecting your job if you fail to meet the obligations of that job. Think of corporate confidentiality agreements. You can get fired for giving the wrong people trade secrets, and the 1st Amendment will do nothing for you.

If you listen to Newt, and think that NPR is liberally biased, you should tune in once in a while. They work VERY hard to present every side of every issue. They're less biased than CNN succeeds at being, and plus, NPR makes it interesting, which CNN is still struggling with. So, Juan Williams didn't get fired for saying what you believe, America. He got fired for repeatedly (not just this story) failing to live up to NPRs goals to stay as unbiased as possible. They hired him as a reporter, he carries himself like a commentator. There's a difference. So, yeah, Joe Public shouldn't have to be worried about getting fired for comments like these, but a guy working for a media outlet that tries that hard to not give commentary? He needs to be more careful than either you or me.

The threat to "unfund" NPR is actually pretty hollow. Federal funding only accounts for about 10% of NPR's overall budget.

To all of you who think someone dressed 'like a Muslim' is a likely terrorist: think about this for 10 seconds. Would a terrorist really try to get on a plane wearing traditional Muslim dress? They haven't so far. The truth is if there's a terrorist on your plane, he/she will look a lot like you.

"All terrorists are Muslims." So claims Bill O, Really? The second worst terrorist attack on US soils was carried out by a white American who was raised Roman Catholic. Joe Stack, the IRS building kamakazi pilot? Also raised Catholic. Interesting...Hey, Bill O'reilly, aren't you Catholic, too? Hear that, TSA? Search that guy when he tries to get on a plane, he's Catholic, he must be a terrorist!

Someone else here said: NPR has had no problem nodding to and promulgating the liberal idiocy of Happy Meals being banned. In contrast NPR certainly did not mind the big bucks - $200-million to be more specific - willed to them from the late Joan B. Kroc*. Kroc's husband, who preceeded her in death, was the founder of the McDonalds empire."

If by "nodding to and promulgating," you mean "reported on," then yes, NPR is as guilty as any other media outlet. Find somewhere, anywhere, something from NPR either backing the ban, or speaking against it. They don't do it. If they were campaigning against McDonalds, then why did the family leave them so much $$$. Don't be obtuse.

Posted by: Toro71 | October 21, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to quit bashing Fox news. It should be clear to everyone that they are (like almost all "media" these days on all sides), primarily in the business of entertainment. Don't be SHOCKED that gambling is occurring in Rick's Cafe in Casablanca. NPR might be the only media outlet not primarily attempting to entertain; but they still watch the ratings and the revenue/donation streams. That is why Mr. Williams was sacked. The local "semi-annual, please give, have a cheap Fresh Aire Mug, we are not begging" pledge drives might loose a few donors otherwise.

Bottom line: It's all business.

Posted by: CarlosHawes | October 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rannrann: "I definitly would have fired Bill O'Reilly. His statement defamed Muslims the world over"
-----------------------------------------
Hmm, from what I saw on the clip, O'Reilly said it was Muslims who killed Americans on 9/11. TOTALLY true.

So, you would fire a person for speaking the truth.

You MUST be a LIB. Right?

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This post is ignorant just like NPR. He was saying that muslims on an AIRPLANE make him nervous, not every muslim out there. Anyone who isn't nervous about that has either forgotten about 9/11 or wasn't born yet, or is in complete denial about who in the world despises our country enough to empty their pockets, risk their lives and travel to the ends of the earth to destroy it.

Posted by: jpay10 | October 21, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I think it is disgustingly disheartening that NPR, an organization which I have previously held in such very esteem, would engage in blatant ideological censorship by firing Juan Williams for comments he made regarding people who identify as Muslims. Mr. Williams' comments, taken in context, clearly framed the issue as a recognition of an observable fact in this country, and even expressed concern about the reality of that observable fact.

There is no question that many, if not a majority of people in this country experience a sense of fear or nervousness when they see people on an airplane who appear to be Muslims. This is the legacy of 9/11, and in no way something that Mr. Williams was advocating for. Mr. Williams went on to convey that this is not a fair or positive experience, and is much like the idea of blaming all Christians for the Timothy McVeigh bombing.

I am a progressive, a Democrat, and a steadfast believer that Fox News is a gross example of a media outlet. And firing Mr. Williams out of some ill-conceived notion that he is a bigot is the kind of thing I would expect from FOX, and not from NPR. Mr. Williams was not only expressing a personal experience shared by many, he was addressing a national issue of profound importance:

9/11 was an attack on our country and our citizens, but perhaps most insidiously it was an attack on our national conscience. The legacy of 9/11, and the residual fear of Islam that it left us with will likely be one of the longest and most devastating effects of that tragic event. But we cannot solve our problems by keeping them hidden under the mattress. We cannot pretend that the extremists in control of those airplanes didn't identify as Muslims.

In firing Mr. Williams, NPR took a step toward closing of the discussion of a critical issue in our country, and has moved us backwards as a nation. Mr. Williams may or may not have been deserving of termination for other reasons, but the symbolism of firing him over this issue in particular sends a dangerous message to the country. I can only hope that NPR takes action to amend this message, and responds to its listeners and to the country.

Posted by: evanclifthorne | October 21, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The IRA Terrorists killed a lot of people.

According to Bill O'Reilly logic; we should all now be afraid of All Irish People.

Be very afraid of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, because all the IRA Terrorists were Irish.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Sargent,I think maybe you should be fired. Your analysis supports the notion that anyone who gets nervous at the sight of airline passengers who appear to be Muslim has committed a hate crime and should lose their job. Perhaps Juan Williams' comments and those of others like him will soon be banned in America. Until then, I find your conclusions to be offensive, and one more step towards totalitarianism in the media, on the internet and in our daily lives.

Posted by: Whitecoat | October 21, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Rick Sanchez got fired for scapegoating the Jewish people, just like Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams have now scapegoated all Muslims. They should be fired from Fox.

Juan Williams, of all people should no better. How often has he heard about African Americans being profiled, by cops and being guilty of nothing except Driving While Black.

Now Juan Williams makes attempts to make it acceptable to profile all Muslims, and charge them with being guilty of Flying While Muslim.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think it is disgustingly disheartening that NPR, an organization which I have previously held in such high esteem, would engage in blatant ideological censorship by firing Juan Williams for comments he made regarding people who identify as Muslims. Mr. Williams' comments, taken in context, clearly framed the issue as a recognition of an observable fact in this country, and even expressed concern about the reality of that observable fact.

There is no question that many, if not a majority of people in this country experience a sense of fear or nervousness when they see people on an airplane who appear to be Muslims. This is the legacy of 9/11, and in no way something that Mr. Williams was advocating for. Mr. Williams went on to convey that this is not a fair or positive experience, and is much like the idea of blaming all Christians for the Timothy McVeigh bombing.

I am a progressive, a Democrat, and a steadfast believer that Fox News is a gross example of a media outlet. And firing Mr. Williams out of some ill-conceived notion that he is a bigot is the kind of thing I would expect from FOX, and not from NPR. Mr. Williams was not only expressing a personal experience shared by many, he was addressing a national issue of profound importance:

9/11 was an attack on our country and our citizens, but perhaps most insidiously it was an attack on our national conscience. The legacy of 9/11, and the residual fear of Islam that it left us with will likely be one of the longest and most devastating effects of that tragic event. But we cannot solve our problems by keeping them hidden under the mattress. We cannot pretend that the extremists in control of those airplanes didn't identify as Muslims.

In firing Mr. Williams, NPR took a step toward closing of the discussion of a critical issue in our country, and has moved us backwards as a nation. Mr. Williams may or may not have been deserving of termination for other reasons, but the symbolism of firing him over this issue in particular sends a dangerous message to the country. I can only hope that NPR takes action to amend this message, and responds to its listeners and to the country.

Posted by: evanclifthorne | October 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

he IRA Terrorists killed a lot of people.

According to Bill O'Reilly logic; we should all now be afraid of All Irish People.

Be very afraid of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, because all the IRA Terrorists were Irish.

Be very afraid of Fox News, because they have on air Irish guys, who look just like those IRA Terrorists.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

liam still:

I simply don't believe in having only my own voice echoing through the things I read and watch. I don't mind STRF/LOL because once in a while, I pick up something. Jake and I disagree about almost everything, but he is welcome to rebut me here anytime he sees fit.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 21, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"In firing Mr. Williams, NPR took a step toward closing of the discussion of a critical issue in our country,"

Really? This firing has led to the country talking about racism LESS? Give me a break, dude, get over yourself. Again, this isn't some 1st amendment issue, some horseman of the apocolypse.

You know as well as I do, NPR tires hard to be neutral. Sure, it may not ultimately be possible, but they are trying to present themselves as unbiased journalism...in other words as the opposite of Fox or CNBC. So the way I see it, if Juan wanted to go on FOX and back up Bill O'reilly, he did so at the risk of his employment. (Apparently, he's had face-to-face talks about this with NPR before.) And yes, I would feel the same if he'd gone on CNBC and gotten fired for saying the Tea Party is just a hoodless Klan rally. I would have laughed hysterically, but I still wouldn't blame NPR for canning him.

It makes no difference if every person is scared of "muslim-like-garb" on a plane and Juan just tapped into the collective conscious. It doesn't even matter if it actually turns out to be true that every person in the world who dresses 'like a muslim' is a terrorist. He didn't get fired because what he said was "true" or "false," or because the words he said were in and of themselves particualrly inflammatory. He got fired for repeatedly going against the terms of his employment, one of which is to maintain journalistic neutrality in ANY public discourse. He chose to go on FOX and support O'Reilly in a contentious, partisan debate. He got fired. Life goes on.

I'm so sick of partisan news, making up stories that people want to hear to sell add space. I belive that NPR is at least attmpting to be diferent. To actually report the news, an old-fashioned notion, and I support them in this.

Posted by: Toro71 | October 21, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"In firing Mr. Williams, NPR took a step toward closing of the discussion of a critical issue in our country,"

Really? This firing has led to the country talking about racism LESS? Give me a break, dude, get over yourself. Again, this isn't some 1st amendment issue, some horseman of the apocolypse.

You know as well as I do, NPR tires hard to be neutral. Sure, it may not ultimately be possible, but they are trying to present themselves as unbiased journalism...in other words as the opposite of Fox or CNBC. So the way I see it, if Juan wanted to go on FOX and back up Bill O'reilly, he did so at the risk of his employment. (Apparently, he's had face-to-face talks about this with NPR before.) And yes, I would feel the same if he'd gone on CNBC and gotten fired for saying the Tea Party is just a hoodless Klan rally. I would have laughed hysterically, but I still wouldn't blame NPR for canning him.

It makes no difference if every person is scared of "muslim-like-garb" on a plane and Juan just tapped into the collective conscious. It doesn't even matter if it actually turns out to be true that every person in the world who dresses 'like a muslim' is a terrorist. He didn't get fired because what he said was "true" or "false," or because the words he said were in and of themselves particualrly inflammatory. He got fired for repeatedly going against the terms of his employment, one of which is to maintain journalistic neutrality in ANY public discourse. He chose to go on FOX and support O'Reilly in a contentious, partisan debate. He got fired. Life goes on.

I'm so sick of partisan news, making up stories that people want to hear to sell add space (or worse.) I belive that NPR is at least attmpting to be diferent. To actually report the news, an old-fashioned notion, and I support them in this.

And again, for those of you out there convinced that NPR is liberally biased, you need to tune in once in a while. Scott Graff interviewed Jack Conway (the dem running against Paul in KY) the other day, and he was ripping (or at least, he was ripping him as hard as NPR rips anyone) him about those stupid adds he's running about what Paul did back in college.

If you're someone that sees "liberal bias" everywhere except on FOX or the OP/ED pages of the WSJ, then you are mistaken. You are far right, not moderate. Most people are not as conservative as you. Fox isn't "fair and balanced," it's pandering to your belief that most of the country is as far right as you. If you see 'liberal bias' in NPR, it's because your concept of where the moderate center is skewed. Think about it.

Posted by: Toro71 | October 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Juan Williams is a public figure and thus has to take the responsibility of what he says , If what he says berates another race or religion , violates the terms of his contract with NPR, he deserves to be let go.The irony is that Juan Williams berates in the same way as he or other of hisskin tone are or have been berated by the same muslimns he scorns.

Posted by: lejeune421 | October 21, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that today, many Americans are so scared of expressing their views in the name of political correctness. NPR was wrong in firing Williams because he did not make the comment on public radio. He did not claim to speak on behalf of NPR, and he was expressing his own fears given the current atmosphere around the world centered on religion. It is precisely one of America's strenghts (freedom of speech and religion) that is turning out to be one of its weaknesses, as the founder of Democracy (Aristotle, Plato etc) had forewarned.

There are groups out there now trying to exploit that weakness. Perhaps America can learn from the European nations on how to deal with the controversy over the display of religious attire in public places.

Some of us can care less about other peoples' religious affiliation. Although I am not afraid of it, I find it nevertheless repulsive.

My advise to Williams--"it is time for you to speak up not bite your tongue."

Posted by: Labamba2 | October 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect you are wrong.

Take Juan Williams statement and replace every instance of 'Muslim' with the word 'Jew', then read the statement and tell me he'd be employed by anyone today. He wouldn't even have his Fox job.

Being a benign bigot is still being a bigot.

Posted by: kindness1 | October 21, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Why do every time some speak what they believe, they are punish for it.This makes people less likely to be truthful about things.i think our society has become to concerned with the political correctness thing,way over board.So as a citizen i will truthfully voice what I think on the matter of Muslim,s...I think that they should be more apt to disprove what is being thought about them,than us proving who they really are,I really think the world will be moved by the next big move of the Muslims,and when it happen all the Liberals will run and tuck their tail like the cowards they really are...Liberals don,t protect this country they make policy and expect of to follow it with blinders on...I have no love nor hate for any race,but I do think that Muslims are not really for the American way and this will be shown in the near future.We can,t even testify that we love God anymore,without some type of backlash,and yet this country was founded off the principles of Christian faith....has it always been right what some Christians have done,no, but that is with all race and religions.Muslims are here in our country and they should respect our beliefs and not the other way around.I do not trust any and will not trust any, American born nor foreign born Muslims,our beliefs are to far apart,any group of people who can,t have they way,and then resort to violence to bully their way is a threat...history has always shown they are not to be trusted in any way.So my answer Mr. Williams should have the freedom to speak what his heart feels and not have to loose his job,he only spoke what his heart felt.Believe the next big thing will happen here and then we we will have chance to see and understand just what the ploy of the Muslim really is...and the Liberals who rally for the Hispanics, the Jews,and the Muslims...will find they really do not have the allies behind them once they take over.these people are just as corrupt as the Cubans who Fidel forced off the island of Cuba,and maybe even worse.Life is not valued the same world wide and maybe more people with bleeding hearts should travel more,better yet find your local Vet...who put his or her life on the line in the last ten years,Muslims are on a mission to conquer....The Concerned Citizen.

Posted by: galaxy1070 | October 21, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

reading reader comments here, i see that the US turned into a racist biggot place, even among the WP readers. majority are racists...
pitty.....

Posted by: goturkish1 | October 21, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Anytime I see someone wearing a yarmulke, I get nervous.
Anytime I see someone on a bus with dark skin, I get nervous.
Anytime I see someone on bart with a backwards baseball hat, I get nervous.
Anytime I see a teabagger in a nazi outfit pretending to be in the SS, I get nervous. No, I have to laugh.
Anytime I see someone purporting to be a nonpartisan journalist, well, that's when I reach for my revolver.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | October 21, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a history of political correctness published. People speak of "political correctness" as if it's something we've had only in the last 30 years or so as marginalized groups demanded that people be nice.

But, we've always had political correctness, it just cut the other way -- blacks couldn't say what they thought; women couldn't say what they thought; gays couldn't say what they thought, etc.

The difference between then and now is that blacks, women, gays et. al. NEVER had the podium, so to speak, and could ALWAYS expect to be fired, beaten, lynched or silenced. Now, the majority has to share the podium and think before they speak and they don't like it.

Tough.

Posted by: truly1 | October 21, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Juan Williams was fired because he became a lightweight as a journalist and commentator. Many viewers who used to like him such as myself couldn't understand how he could be an unbiased reporter with NPR, while he was also associated with Fox. I agree with all those who say he shouldn't have been fired because of his comments; It's disappointing to know that tv personalities can't tell things the way they feel it in their hearts without causing a backlash. On the other side of that public comments can incite sensitive groups of people to get fired up and act irresponsible. NPR should have fired him long before this incident.

Posted by: maxkirby | October 21, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Greg your defense of Juans firing is to use PC talk? That was his point in part. And it is disingenuous to paint this prejudice as bigotry, which are not the same.
If a child was attacked by a purple people eater and as a result was cautious of purple people eaters that is completely logical and you would not be writing such biased pieces about it.
What Juan said is correct, factually and scientifically. Muslims were the architects and executioners of the attack on 9/11. It is not bigoted to be afraid or suspicious. Just as Muslims are wary of American politicians. And yes they are.
But PC talk rules, but not in favor of christians or republicans or conservatives or those not in full agreement with President Obama. Sensitivity is to high now. What he said did not deserve a blink. he said nothing profound or what I did not think every time I got on a plane, especially when I was in Saudi Arabia on that day and my Saudi friends told me to be careful. We need to be realistic not idealistic

Posted by: DGS1103 | October 21, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

It surprises me that NPR's excuse for firing Juan Williams is that he crossed the line from being a news analyst to being a pundit.

Pardon me, but Juan Williams hosted CNN's Crossfire for many years prior to being hired by NPR. He has been on Fox News for over 10 years and has continually argued the liberal side of issues.

And now... NPR suddenly believes that Juan Williams crossed the line? This reasoning seems flimsy at best.

Posted by: emceeitalian | October 22, 2010 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes. Williams is not an idiot, but he can act like one. Being Caucasian, if I got on a plane and 3 guys were wearing baggy pants, bandanna's, I might think the were "crackheads", I'd be considered a bigot...even though these three men might be the nicest guys in the world. When we allow our fears to override our sense, we are in deep trouble. It was a stupid thing for Williams to say, but then again, he said it on FOX, which explains a lot. The extra $2 mil he gets from FOX will assuage any "dishonor"...and I'm willing to bet he has a lot of other gems for that audience as well.

Posted by: rfunke12 | October 22, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Should Rick sanchez have been fired?
Is freedom of speech in the US practised on arabs/muslims only?
---

I know it's hard for leftists antisemites to understand, but it's quite a difference from saying that people make you nervous to saying that a group of people controls the media and the world.

Posted by: scoran | October 22, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

And nobody is curtailing William's right to free speech. There are parks and street corners everywhere. But a media outlet has the right to decide if they want to pay prejudiced people to work as pundits (hello FOX), or not.

---

Sorry libbo, NPR is funded with my tax dollars.

Posted by: scoran | October 22, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Take Juan Williams statement and replace every instance of 'Muslim' with the word 'Jew', then read the statement and tell me he'd be employed by anyone today. He wouldn't even have his Fox job.

Being a benign bigot is still being a bigot.

----

Completely wrong, and nobody would have said that in the first place. Nobody is afraid of jews, nobody is made nervous by jews. Jews don't have a reputation for blowing things up if they have a grievance. The reason why the left, the far right and muslims crap on Jews and ISrael on a daily basis is that they know they have nothing to fear. Draw a picture of mohammed and you get death threats and have to go into hiding. Sorry you libs can't handle reality.

Posted by: scoran | October 22, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Whether bigoted or not, Williams is an idiot. The 9-11 terrorists wore golf shirts, not "muslim garb". Should we profile men in golf shirts as terrorists? Shouldn't a reporter base his observations on facts?

Is Juan Williams scared of Muslim cab drivers, or just passengers on airplanes? The "man" is a wimp, an unamerican nervous nellie who sniffed O'Reilly's jock a few too many times and didn't have the backbone to draw his own conclusions.

Posted by: emrj | October 22, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

So, if National Public Radio and those who agree with the fi5ring of Juan Williams are to have their way, free speech in America is DEAD. I am still the No. 1 Fan in Ireland of the USA, but guys like NPR have stretched it to breaking point. How in God's name can it be BIGOTRY to have a genuine sense of nervousness when you see people on your flight who remind you alarmingly of what happened on 9/11? Is NPR saying we are not entitled to our own FEELINGS? Or are they actually saying we should be liars and/or hypocrites and deny our true feelings for the sake of political correctness? For the record: when I am on a flight with people dressed in Muslim garb, I keep a close watch - because I am NERVOUS about them. When I go into Northern Ireland, I am also nervous until I return to the Republic. I can't help it: that's how it is and how I am. But it most certainly is NOT BIGOTRY - it's based on recent history, logic and plain common sense. Éamonn, Dublin, Ireland.

Posted by: amonnDublin | October 22, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

After reading this, I can see that Williams did feed that prejudice. I have had to take a hard look at some of my own feelings on this issue. I think what he was trying to convey is that the average person does have these feelings. He probably should have gone on to say that it is illogical to assume that people who are dressed a certain way are any less loyal than those who wear jeans. I would have been interested in what the 9/11 terrorists were wearing??? Jeans and a t-shirt.

I do agree that in the context of the story Williams did not change it into a constructive conversation about race and prejudice. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all hold some prejudices. The difficult thing is to recognize those prejudices and understand they are wrong and work to overcome them.

In addition, I do think that Williams is correct in one aspect that we do get caught up in Political Correctness to the point that one cannot have a conversation about hard issues for fear of offending someone. I would be the first one to admit that I have know knowledge of what the Islam religion entails. But, from what I have studied, I think we have just as much to fear from extreme fundamentalist Christians. Yes, the Christians who are, and can, be just as oppressive to women and minorities in the name of GOD. Ask the Southern Baptists, why don't you let women become ministers? And what about the Catholics, who do not let women serve in the same manner as men? Not to mention the other "unofficial' "Christian" religions that are extreme in their beliefs.

However, if we discuss these issues we might offend "Christians". I was brought up in Michigan where the 2nd largest Islamic community lives in the Detroit area. I remember very well after 9/11 that there was "talk" among many so called "christians" to round them all up and put them in concentration camps. An absurd prospect. I recoiled then as much as I recoil from telling the story.

The point is that there is a large amount of prejudice out there and Williams was being honest. Should have been fired? I think that that is a bit harsh. For I will miss his broadcasts, I will not watch Fox news. However, Williams should have been more constructive in his comments. I think he recognizes this as a prejudice on his part. Had he continued along that line of argument, he might have been able to save himself.

I also think that any NPR reporter now will think carefully about reporting outside the organization.

Posted by: mikegreen40 | October 22, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Had a white female said that she is uncomfortable when she sees a group of black youth approaching her on the street after a rash of robberies by a group of black youth, the waters would be still-even the faux sophisticated latte bunch would nod in support of her "discomfort" of blacks, but "celebrate" her "tolerance".

So come off your pseudo-liberalism, narcissistic, political correctness and look your prejudice and hypocrisy in the eye and know that IT is YOU.

Posted by: acannaday | October 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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