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The controversial comments made by Juan Williams on The O'Reilly Factor last Monday and the subsequent termination of his position as news analyst from the National Public Radio (NPR) have resulted in a fury of debates and voicing of opinions on NPR’s decision.

Williams appeared on the Fox News show and host Bill O'Reilly asked him to comment on O’Reilly's recent appearance on the ABC show “The View” in which O’Reilly insinuated that Muslims were to blame for 9/11 when he remarked Muslims killed us on 9/11 and caused Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set in anger.

Williams agreed with O’Reilly’s position when he asserted:

''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.''


Williams stated that NPR executives have been watch dogging him and used the incident to end his longstanding run on the public broadcasting station.

''I think they were looking for a reason to get rid of me,'' he said Friday. ''They were uncomfortable with the idea that I was talking to the likes of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity.'' Hannity hosts another Fox show.

“I didn’t know that anyone was going to say this is the basis on which we’re going to fire you,” Williams, a former NPR news analyst, told Hannity.

However, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller said in an interview, “There have been several instances over the last couple of years where we have felt Juan has stepped over the line.”

Schiller commented that Williams continuous disregard for his position as a NPR analyst have led to his termination. “This isn’t a case of one strike and you’re out. When he does that, when anybody does that, it undermines their credibility as a journalist or in Juan’s case, a news analyst for NPR. Those two things cannot go together.”

Williams also questioned why his comments could have provoked such an outcome.

“They wanted me to apologize,” Williams said. “…What did I say that was wrong? What standard of journalism did I violate for telling you how I feel?”

The consequences of NPR’s seemingly drastic decision have also led some conservative members of Congress to demand the federal funding for NPR be withdrawn. Among them are Sarah Palin and South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who plan to ''introduce legislation to end federal funding for NPR,'' said his spokesman Wesley Denton Thursday night.

Though Federal grants provide less than 2 percent — or $3.3 million — of NPR’s $166 million annual budget, and it is funded primarily by its affiliates, corporate sponsors and major donors, such a proposition demonstrates the extent of the opposition of NPR’s decision to take direct action against the bigotry geared towards Muslims.

Many commentators have called Williams' comments “common,” describing them as  “how many people feel.”  NPR executives’ decision to stand against the conditioned bigotry and widespread intolerance has certainly aroused criticism, however, Muslims too are questioning whether the axing of Williams will do more harm than good.

Some prominent Muslim thinkers expressed concern Thursday that Williams' firing would contribute to what appears to be a widening gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.

''The greater American public remains unsure about Islam and very often hostile about Islam,'' said Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University, who examines the divide in his new film and book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.

Ahmed said he was disappointed by Williams’ comments. But he added that ''NPR’s abrupt firing of the news analyst does not bring the temperature down against Muslims. ... Now the debate is, are we being oversensitive to Muslims?''

Williams has been rewarded handsomely with a $2M contract by Fox News.

3 Comments

Pamela Smith

October 24th

NPR's "formula" is, in fact, different than FAUX News. While Fox may have opinion first and analysis second, NPRs is clearly analysis FIRST, opinions a distant second. As far as "journalistic" standards go, this article is rife with them, from unbelievable errors in grammar including: "... led some conservative members Congress to demand the federal funding for NPR be withdrawn. Among which are Sarah Palin ..." Missing words and, duh, Sarah Palin is a Fox publicity whore - not a member of congress.


Marcello

October 24th

NPR may lean to the liberal left, but their formula is no different from Fox News: opinions first, analysis second, and facts are a very distant third. Juan Williams is a bigot, that's clear, but what of the other NPR commentators who regularly refer to those they disagree with as "racist" and imply we lack intelligence and might be psychologically dysfunctional? Does NPR have any responsibility to apply their "journalistic standards" fairly or should they be allowed to promote certain biases while rejecting others? Is "unbiased reporting" even possible with any national news organization these days? Of course NPR has a Constitutional right to say what they please, as does Mr. Williams. But American taxpayers do not have an obligation to subsidize a network that treats them with such condescension.


john mcmenamin

October 24th

Juan Williams is Fox News uncle Tom. Now he is free to speak his mind we shall see just how Liberal Juan Williams really is. Juan shall dance to the music of Massa Rupert Murdock. Hey Mr O'Reilly can I shine your shoes sir?






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