Juan Williams should not have lost his job

So I think NPR was actually wrong to fire Juan Williams. I also think that most of the positive reaction over his dismissal is due to people’s general dislike of Williams and his politics rather than on the merits of the incident in question. And no, I’m not trying to be contrarian. Like Doug Mataconis and William Saletan, I think this smacks rather loudly of the Shirely Sherrod affair. And I think the reaction on the left to his departure mirrors the reaction on the right to Sherrod incident, which alone should give people pause.

If you look at the entire conversation between O’Reilly and Williams – and not just the out-of-context video clip that Think Progress supplied us with – it becomes pretty obvious that he’s talking about an irrational fear he experiences and the need to protect the rights of all Americans including Muslim Americans against the sort of things that this kind of fear might lead to at a political level. He also talks about the consequences of broadly painting all Muslims as enemies, and how pundits have a responsibility to resist this impulse.  He even challenged O’Reilly’s assertion that Muslims attacked America, saying:

Hold on, because if you said Timothy McVeigh, the Atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality at military funerals—very obnoxious—you don’t say first and foremost, “We got a problem with Christians.” That’s crazy.

So I really fail to see how this is a reasonable action on NPR’s part. I think lots of Americans probably experienced similar fears after the 9/11 attacks. It’s certainly a bit odd that he would still be experiencing those fears (especially since any Muslim terrorist with half a brain would not dress in obviously Islamic or Middle Eastern apparel – indeed, eventually I think most terrorist attacks will be carried out by very Western-looking people, perhaps recruits from Chechnya, blue-eyed and pale-skinned – but this is just idle speculation).

It’s one thing to say “I go to an airport and see Muslims and they make me nervous” and then go on to advocate a position that limits the rights of Muslims, and quite another to make that statement and then use it to drive home the point that those in the media need to be especially cautious about how they talk about Muslims because of these fears, because incidents like the Muslim cab-driver in New York being attacked simply for being a Muslim. Context matters.

Let me say that again: context matters.

Now all the criticisms of Williams as a person might be correct: maybe all he does is provide cover for conservatives on Fox News. Maybe he really is a secret conservative in disguise, wearing the sheep’s clothing of a liberal to fool Fox audiences. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s not important what his politics are. We shouldn’t rejoice over the wrongful dismissal of a journalist just because we don’t like their political views.

And finally, the reaction on the right to this incident will be just as silly. Already we have Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin calling for the defunding of NPR. And the real crazies are up in arms defending the very position that Williams didn’t actually take (has CNN fired Erick Erickson yet?). So the whole thing is going to conflagrate into this ridiculous nonsense about political correctness, free speech, left-vs-right, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

P.S. I realize that the front-pagers here (and the commenters, no doubt) have a strong dislike for all things Slate and for Saletan in particular. That’s fine. I don’t really read Slate and am not all that familiar with Saletan. It’s really pretty irrelevant who makes these arguments, though. I watched the whole video and I agree that the reaction of NPR is over the top and wrong-headed. It doesn’t matter if that argument comes from someone you despise or someone you admire. Or at least it shouldn’t.






125 replies
  1. 1
    Glenndacious Greenwaldian (formerly tim) says:

    See? SEE?

    E.D. agrees with me, so that proves I was right.

    :D

  2. 2
    chopper says:

    And finally, the reaction on the right to this incident will be just as silly. Already we have Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin calling for the defunding of NPR. And the real crazies are up in arms defending the very position that Williams didn’t actually take (has CNN fired Erick Erickson yet?). So the whole thing is going to conflagrate into this ridiculous nonsense about political correctness, free speech, left-vs-right, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    grifty mcgrift is already raving about the first amendment again, just like with dr. laura. you’d think after that bit she’d have learned that the first amendment doesn’t guarantee you a job in media.

  3. 3
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    I rejoice in his firing because he’s been a classic DC, insider douchebag for the last 20+ years. A Village Idiot poster child.

    If this is what it took to kneecap one of em, so be it.

  4. 4
    NonyNony says:

    You realize that NPR has had problems with Williams for a long time and this is just the excuse he finally gave them to fire his ass, right?

    ETA: As much as I don’t really like to cite Yglesias very often I think he has an astute point here:

    But as in the case of Rick Sanchez it seems to me that if you assume Williams has been doing valuable work all these years, firing him over this single incident is excessive. But as an NPR listener, I’m a good deal more familiar with Williams’ work than I am with Sanchez’s and it seems clear to me that Williams has not, in fact, been doing valuable work all these years. If Williams had never made these remarks about Muslims and NPR announced his firing this morning on the grounds of general lameness and lack of valuable contribution to their programming, I would have applauded the move so I’m hardly going to deplore what actually happened.

    It’s like busting Capone for tax fraud. I wish they would have fired him for being an insufferable, mendacious, and boringly awful contributor. But I’ll take what I can get.

  5. 5
    Bill Section 147 says:

    I agree he shouldn’t have lost his job for saying that he has prejudice. We all do.

    Aside: Funny how NPR is the left. NASCAR would be drag racing if that is the definition of left.

  6. 6
    Billy says:

    1) Shirley Sherrod’s father was murdered by real white men who were not prosecuted. Juan Williams’ father, unless I missed something, did not have his father murdered by unprosecuted Muslims.

    2) Shirley Sherrod was an unknown figure with the government at a private meeting preaching reconciliation despite her personal experience, and her words were willfully twisted. Juan Williams was a highly paid pundit on Bill O’Reilly’s show agreeing with Bill that we should be afraid of Muslim passengers on a plane if they are dressed funny.

    I am agnostic on Williams firing, but this comparison is noxious. There is no comparison, and I say that as someone who respects your writing.

    Object to the firing if you want, but do not compare Juan Williams and Shirley Sherrod.

  7. 7
    cleek says:

    can anyone else see the video? FF + Falsh don’t seem to wanna work

  8. 8
    taylormattd says:

    Yes, yes, public radio needs to keep as many racist Fox News contributors as possible on its staff.

    You know, for balance.

  9. 9
    PurpleGirl says:

    I agree with SteveM (No More Mister Nice Blog) that he shouldn’t have been fired over those remarks but he should have been fired for holding a job at Fox while working for NPR and trying to play games with what his opinions are between the two positions. There was a definite conflict of interest between the two positions.

  10. 10
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Juan Williams, Defender of Clarence Thomas and Sexual Harasser Himself:

    The Post had printed a Williams column minimizing the gravity of the charges against Thomas without disclosing that Williams had been accused of verbally abusing female staff members over a period of at least four years. Post management also initially held back the paper’s media writer, Howard Kurtz, from reporting on the angry reaction among Post staff members. It wasn’t until WRC-TV, a local NBC affiliate, broke the story that the Post mentioned the controversy in its pages. And only after a protest by 116 newsroom employees did the paper concede that the charges against Williams were founded. Unlike most incidents of sexual harassment in newsrooms, the Williams case was widely reported, largely because of its intersection with the Thomas hearings and the conflict-of-interest question it raised.

    He was never fired but was “reprimanded”. When he when on sabbatical to write a book later in the 90s, he quietly never came back to the Post. Hmmmm, I wonder why?

  11. 11
    Ron Beasley says:

    I think the latest incident was simply the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Williams has been talking out of both sides of his mouth in order to please two different audiences. If you are going to be taken seriously as a journalist or analyst you have to be consistent – he had to choose. He didn’t and the choice was made for him.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    Unless he has a contract, can’t NPR fire him for any reason they want, with the exception of those covered under employment law like race, religion and gender, right? Why do they have to give a reason?

    Unless he’s a full time employee, couldn’t they just have stopped interviewing him or giving him pundit-time or whatever?

    Why the high profile firing? Seems stupid to me. The fastest way to make someone into a victim/martyr is to do something like this. Just sort of ignore him and people will forget about him.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    i don’t think he should have lost his job over this incident, though i think he should have been shitcanned from npr a while ago for being, in general, lame and boring.

    i wouldn’t doubt it if npr management comes out saying ‘we had already decided we didn’t want to renew his contract anyways’, at least for PR purposes.

  14. 14
    Sloegin says:

    E.D., do you think Sanchez should have lost his job? Do you think Nasr should have lost her job?

  15. 15
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @NonyNony: Sadly, I wish he had lost his job for his lack of effort. Somewhere the masses cry out for meritocracy but we keep rewarding mendacity.

  16. 16
    RalfW says:

    I’m just disappointed that the NPR high-ups weren’t more strategic. I assume (and that could be dangerous) that Juan and NPR have an at-will employment agreement. But maybe not, maybe Juan is in a union like many dead-tree journalists are.

    If it was an at-will deal, they should have waited 6 or 8 weeks and then just said “It ain’t workin’ out, this you and me thing, Juan. ‘K? See ya, bye now.”

    I was in the room while FOx was blaring in my dad’s livingroom on Monday, and Bill O’Reilly was being outrageously anti-Muslim on that episode. Just awful. There is a point where even being on his show as he rants is tacit agreement that he has a point to make, even if it’s a bad one.

    If Juan wants to be part of the Fox-o-sphere, then fine. But NPR is not obligated to accept his dual allegiance. As a matter of employment, letting him go is not censorship.

    I was unhappy about Weigel, Helen Thomas, etc., getting canned. But the world moves on, Weigel seems fine at Slate/on Twitter, and dear batty old Helen, meh.

    All the raving about free speech also, importantly, misses the point that the first amendment protects against the government stopping speech. Juan is still with Fox, still can lecture where he pleases, and is free to guest-appear as he wishes, even on my local street corner.

    So bye-bye. I’m sure the Koch brothers can whip up a lucrative offer.

  17. 17
    tomvox1 says:

    The interesting thing about this is that Williams may have a beef where Rick Sanchez did not:

    Employees in the public sector – who work for governmental entities – have First Amendment rights in the workplace, subject to certain restrictions…There are no Washington cases that this author is aware of where freedom of speech has been protected under the First Amendment in private sector workplaces.

    http://library.findlaw.com/2003/sep/30/133065.html

    Then again, Williams did not make his statement in his public sector workplace but in his other private sector workplace.

    Either way, maybe NPR had just had enough of Williams’ bullshit and being used as the “token Liberal” by Fox and this was the final straw. I’m not entirely convinced the First Amendment gives you the right to say bigoted things while you are moonlighting from your current employer in another moneymaking venue. And perhaps there is something the actual NPR-Williams contract that explicitly prohibits his making this sort of derogatory statements. Which, of course, would be grounds for dismissal under this scenario.

    Too many unknowns here for all the bloggingheads/twitterinos to go off on at this juncture, IMO.

  18. 18
    brantl says:

    Apparently you didn’t review all of what he said, E.D., but then, you don’t do very good research do you?

    And as for the real crazies acting real crazy? What would ever stop them? When do they get shit right? “Get your government hands off my Medicare!”

    It’s been 20 years since Ginny Thomas’s husband was rightfully accused of sexual harassment, and she still wants an apology. Pardon me for not giving a shit what they like.

    When you and all the media, start amending your postions in public to pander to the “lunatic left” then there will be some balance in pandering to the wingnut right.

  19. 19
    eemom says:

    I got $10 says this thread blossoms into a 400+ flame war. Any takers?

  20. 20
    chopper says:

    @Violet:

    that’s the thing, they didn’t even fire him. they decided not to renew his contract.

  21. 21
    Strandedvandal says:

    Sherrod = Williams? Puh-lease.

  22. 22
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @Billy: Are you saying that when a black guy gets a seat on the bus before I do that I am not Rosa Parks?

  23. 23
    Ed Marshall says:

    It’s not a firing offense but I think it was this:

    I said, ‘I said what I meant to say,'” Williams told Fox News, “which is that it is an honest experience that when I’m in an airport and I see people in Muslim garb who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just a reality.”

    I’m not sure what he was trying to say, and maybe NPR should have had him on a morning show to try and figure out what the hell he was talking about instead of firing him.

    What it reminds me of isn’t Shirely Sherrod, it reminds me that CNN fired Octavia Nasr for saying something non-shitty about Nasrallah. If that’s the bar, you can fire Juan.

  24. 24
    morzer says:

    The problem with what Williams said is that he makes it clear that he feels Muslims shouldn’t be dressing as Muslims first. That’s an idiotic position, and, frankly, pretty crass. Was it a firing offense? In itself, possibly not – but it came on the back of a series of other misguided/erroneous/questionable statements, and NPR felt that enough was enough. Yes, Williams also said some sensible things in the discussion, but that does not make his views on dress codes acceptable, and certainly not IN A REPORTER.

    On your other point about how the right-wing crazies are going to exploit this:

    First, you can’t not act because someone out there will start going crazy about it. That just leads to paralysis, and the crazies have won in advance. You ought to know this.

    Second, the crazies don’t require any cause to make an issue out of nothing. Remember the fabrication of the death panels?

    Third, the way to deal with the crazies is to shine a light on them, not coddle them, treat them as serious opponents, provide false balance to the narrative, or otherwise give them a respect they have not earned. The truth shall make you free – right?

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    Also too, Rude Pundit is on E.D.’s side.

  26. 26
    Hunter Gathers says:

    “I go to an airport and see Muslims and they make me nervous”

    Hi, I’m Juan Williams, and I’m bigoted against Muslims. But don’t dare call me a bigot, like Michelle ‘Stokely Carmichael in Dress’ Obama clearly is. Brian Kilmeade and Bill O’Rielly can vouch for me in that department.

  27. 27
    Alex says:

    The problem with defending Williams is that he opens up with “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.”

    This is in response to O’Reilly’s earlier Talking Point, which began with- “There are a number of answers. One of them is that folks are fed up with politically correct nonsense. There is no question that there is a Muslim problem in the world, and if “The View” ladies will not acknowledge that, that’s their problem because most Americans well understand the danger in the Muslim world.”

    There’s no way to walk that back, to take a nuanced view. Juan Williams agrees with Bill O’Reily that there is a Muslim problem in the world.

  28. 28
    morzer says:

    @cleek:

    It works fine in Chrome.

  29. 29
    cleek says:

    @eemom:
    we can make it happen!

    here’s Williams in Mar 2010 talking about… health care reform !

    WILLIAMS: The bill’s unpopular. If you ask Americans why they oppose it, the number one reason is they don’t believe that it’s deficit neutral. They think it’s an entitlement. They think it’s going to drive up their health care costs personally.

    And they suspect it may result in increased taxes down the line. When you tell them it’s going to cover 32 million Americans, a lot of people who have health insurance – most Americans, obviously – think, well, gee, I don’t want to change my plan. Seniors, in particular, Scott, think that there’s risk to Medicaid and Medicare.

    And, of course, they’re right. Medicaid’s going to expand. Part of the funding for the plan comes from reductions in Medicare spending. So, you know, there are lots of people who out of self-interest, you know, have doubts.

  30. 30
    Glenndacious Greenwaldian (formerly tim) says:

    @Bill Section 147:

    I agree he shouldn’t have lost his job for saying that he has prejudice. We all do.

    Oh Bill…you’re wrong. There are many BJ regulars who claim they experience no prejudice. They are not subject to the internal flaws many of us suffer.

  31. 31
    joeyess says:

    Wait a minute. I agree with Atrios:

    Williams wasn’t admitting to something he wasn’t proud of, he was justifying it.

  32. 32
    bobbo says:

    Williams isn’t a “secret conservative in disguise.” He is openly rightwing.

  33. 33
    joeyess says:

    @eemom: I’ll take the over.

  34. 34
    Mark D says:

    Let me say that again: context matters.

    Which is why the first part of his quote kinda matters a bit:

    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.

    Sorry, but in this case, the context makes it even worse, not better.

    Not saying he should’ve been canned for this incident — he had plenty of other issues. Just saying that not much is actually being taken out of context.

  35. 35
    Svensker says:

    Much more a Nasr equivalence than a Sherrod. In fact, there’s no Sherrod equivalence whatsoever that I can see, except that Sherrod and Williams are both black and both got fired for saying something, but the circumstances are completely different.

    Even the Nasr thing is stretching it — she was punished for the thought crime of not thinking all Arabs who don’t love Israel are horrid. As Alex points out in 27, Williams agrees there is a “Muslim problem” and is talking about his reaction to that problem.

  36. 36
    John Cole says:

    I think you are wrong about almost everything you’ve written in this post.

    Shirley Sherrod told a tale of her own bigotry, how she realized it was wrong, and worked to overcome it. Her tape was selectively edited, released, and used to smear her.

    Juan Williams unwittingly told a tale of his own bigotry, and then spent a bunch of time trying to explain he wasn’t really a bigot and that anyway, his bigotry was justified because 9/11 and SCARY MUSLIM GARB ON A PLANE!

    Not even close.

    Second, you are wrong about the comparison of right-wing reactions to Sherrod and left-wing reactions to Williams.

    The right-wing reaction to Sherrod was “SEE BLACK PEOPLE ARE THE REAL RACISTS BLACKY BLACK BLACK BLACK.”

    The left-wing reaction to Williams was two-fold. First, it was “I don’t think Nasr, Sanchez, or Thomas should have been fired, but at least with the Williams firing, for once they are enforcing the same standard.” Second, there is a “Finally this asshole who calls himself a liberal but spews right wing bullshit everywhere he goes will no longer be polluting the airwaves.”

    Again, the reactions aren’t even comparable.

    Love ya, but there really wasn’t much else for you to get wrong about this.

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    @NonyNony: This.

    It would have been nice to see them fire Williams because he was journalistic dead weight. Firing him for political correctness in general is rather lame. Firing him for taking the most liberal stance Bill O’Reilly will allow without cutting your mic just tacks on extra bonus points.

    Fire Williams for being Williams. And while you’re at it, fire Frum and Brooks and anyone else attending the AEI cocktail parties. Man up. Don’t wait for someone to say the word “Muslim” and pretend to be offended. That’s so… Republican.

  38. 38
    me says:

    This is pretty far from what Sharrod said. What Nasr, Sanchez and Thomas said were less offensive then this (were’s your defense of them Kain, or are you of the opinion IOKIYATAM) so if they get fired so should Williams (and Kilmeade for that matter but his views are welcome at Fox).

  39. 39
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Juan Williams is a hack and has been for many years. I want to like the guy but he’s been phoning it in for a long time now. NPR leapt at the chance to dump him when he conveniently acted like an asshat in the public sphere.

    P.S. – Juan Williams =/= Shirley Sherrod, not by a fucking mile

  40. 40
    ant says:

    I remember when juan was host of talk of the nation. Boy did he suck.

    Not just anybody can do good radio though like that.

    Maddow had really good radio show, till you friggin tv people took her from me.

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    The whole conversation between O’Reilly, Williams, and Hamm is pretty offensive, but Williams is far from the most offensive character in that trio.

    So, I pretty much agree with Kain here. I’m of the mind that NPR should be firing Williams, but not over this incident. Williams really was trying, albeit with typical insensitivity, to say people should rise above such prejudices.

    .

  42. 42
    KCinDC says:

    Perhaps what Williams said shouldn’t have been a firing offense, but I’m not that concerned about it because (1) he should have been fired long ago for many other offenses and (2) this sort of firing is absolutely routine for comments about non-Muslim groups (especially Jews), with few people caring about the context. If we’re going to have a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry (which like any zero-tolerance policy, is likely a bad idea and will certainly led to stupid outcomes), then there shouldn’t be a special exemption when Muslims are the target.

  43. 43
    Kryptik says:

    @morzer:
    @Alex:

    Seriously. The problem here is that the biggest outrage is over the easiest to rationalize part of his comments, and the rest of it is summarily ignored, despite being much more indicative of the actual offensiveness of his whole appearance there. It wasn’t just the ‘I’m scared of sitting near Muslims’ part that was offensive, just about everything he said, starting from his agreement on the issue with O’Reilly and his statements starting with the View, to the end of insisting on framing it as a ‘War With Muslims’.

  44. 44

    Actually I think Juan Williams should have lost his job long ago for being incompetent. His baseless attacks on FLOTUS were the last straw for me. I suspect this was just the final nail in his coffin over at NPR.

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    I really don’t give a shit about Williams at all because I’ve never actually listened to him (unlike Mara Liasson, who I’ve had the misfortune to listen to and who I REALLY wish they’d throw out on her smug, innuendo-laden ass)….. but I have to say the reported remark reminds me of a Doonesbury story line that ran shortly after 9/11 where fine upstanding liberal Mike Doonesbury freaked out when an Muslim guy was seated next to him on a plane.

    Flame on.

  46. 46
    Emma says:

    On the one hand, I agree that he shouldn’t have lost his job for this latest dross to come out of his mouth. I mean, they’ve been tolerating his bs for years…

    On the other hand, are you seriously telling me you think firing someone for being an utter moron is the same as firing someone for something she didn’t do? Really?

  47. 47
    madmatt says:

    If Bill had said “I get nervous and cross the street everytime I see a black person” would Juan or you of been there to back him up? Juan says as long as you hate the stereotypical muslim its okay.

  48. 48
    Zifnab says:

    @John Cole: True in the details, but at a higher level Sherrod and Williams (and Helen Thomas and a host of others) are getting fired for basically speaking their minds. And that’s what really strikes as lame.

    If you want to fire Williams for being a shitty reporter, you’ve got my support. But if you’re going to fire him for saying, “Muslims give me the hebbie-jebbies” you’re playing into that DADT game that has always been dumb. Let him speak his mind. If he’s a genuinely good journalist, I don’t care who he thinks has terrorist cooties.

    But I wouldn’t want NPR hiring Mother Theresa if she was going to be as dogmatic, fact-blind, and toolish as Williams is.

  49. 49
    Steve says:

    @John Cole: Can’t really disagree with anything John has said here. But one of the most powerful forces in the universe is the compulsion to draw a false equivalence.

  50. 50
    Jay B. says:

    I think it’s ridiculous he was fired over saying something stupid — after all, saying stupid things is why NPR hired him in the first place, unless they knew of a different Juan Williams than the one who spouted inane Cokie-speak CW every fucking week for a decade and a half. I think it’s telling that the establishment is sucking up to Williams while they let Thomas twist in the wind for saying stupid things, because in NO WAY does Williams threaten the status quo of what the establishment media is paid to report. And of course ED and the rest of them are making a completely false equivalency between Sherrod getting the shaft and Williams — Sherrod, after all, came to the opposite conclusion IN HER SPEECH about why it was shameful to judge people by their appearance and it was dishonestly edited to ignore the point.

    I’m a lefty who thinks everyone involved in this farce is just engaging in stupid, cynical fauxrage. The whole thing is a proxy battle over unrelated issues.

  51. 51

    bin Laden is laughing in his little cave right now.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    How cool would it be if Juan and Helen Thomas got their own Archie Bunker-esque television show? Tell me you wouldn’t watch that.

    ETA: Oh shit, I completely forgot about Rick Sanchez. He could be their gardener.

  53. 53
    eemom says:

    Love ya

    Aaaaaaawwww…….

  54. 54
    Lori says:

    It’s interesting that the big-name newspeople who have been fired for single statements like this are an old woman (Helen Thomas), a black man (Juan Williams), and a Latino man(Rick Sanchez). I’m not sure if any or all of them should have been fired, but I do see a pattern here. Lots of newspeople make these kinds of statements, and no male Caucasians in this list of firees.

  55. 55
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Billy: This.

  56. 56
    geg6 says:

    @John Cole:

    This.

    And E.D., as for why you don’t understand why Saletan is HATED by many among us, I would suggest that perhaps you do some research on the guy before using him as some sort of “respected” opinionator. And second, get a womb or find someone with one who is familiar with this asshole, because any woman or person who has any respect for women’s freedoms and rights knows that he is the fucking poster boy for MISOGYNY. A man who can write an apologia for killing an OB/GYN because he conducts abortions isn’t worth bringing up in polite company.

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    @Zifnab:

    But I wouldn’t want NPR hiring Mother Theresa if she was going to be as dogmatic, fact-blind, and toolish as Williams is.

    According to some well-sourced writing by Christopher Hitchens, she was.

  58. 58
    Martin says:

    @Mark D: This. NPR is a non-profit. It receives public funding. They’ve got to be pretty zero tolerance on the bigotry.

    Williams justified his uneasiness by justifying profiling. I don’t see how that can stand at a publicly funded operation.

    On the upside for him, it’s the minimum qualification for getting hired at Fox, so maybe he’ll land on his feet after all.

  59. 59
    Bullsmith says:

    Linking to Doug Mataconis to back up an argument is really, really not helpful. Very much the opposite in fact. (Love having you on the blog ED, but DOUG FUCKING MATACONIS?!) Also, whether or not the Williams firing is justified, the Shirley Sherrod comparison is completely inapt (making the Doug Mataconis link a bad idea in form and content both).

    Sherrod spoke out against bigotry and was falsely accused of the opposite, based on a deceptive edit of her speech and wild mischaracterization of even what bits were included in the edit.

    Williams said what he said and is being judged on that alone.

    Apples and hand grenades, frankly.

  60. 60
    Lev says:

    It wasn’t at the level of Shirley Sherrod, but I think I’m forced to agree with E.D. on this one after watching the whole clip. Which means I have to fucking agree with Saletan and Fox News on something! I hate that. And I have no love for Williams. But damn if the clip doesn’t undermine the original claim.

    As for the “he should have been fired because he’s a sucky journalist”, that seems true to me, but isn’t that the same logic for sending Sacco and Vanzetti to the electric chair? They’re not guilty of that crime, but they must have done something to deserve it? No thanks. I have no love for the guy but facts are facts.

  61. 61
    4tehlulz says:

    NPR’s only mistake was not trolling Juan by sending on assignment across country with a Muslim colleague before canning his ass.

    If his comments didn’t create a hostile workplace environment at NPR, I don’t know what does.

  62. 62
    CF Oxtrot says:

    Who cares what NPR does? It’s a bullshit outlet for bullshit perspectives on what basically is an irreality, not on the landscape we actually face. NPR land is where buying a Prius is “green,” regardless of the environmental destruction inherent in making a new fleet of Priuses. Regardless of displacing tailpipe emissions to smokestack (elec generation) emissions. Regardless of consumerism not being a way to help the environment. Just plain regardless overall. That’s NPR.

    And, PBS… for that matter.

    Juan Williams is to journalism what Barack Obama is to politics — a token mixed-race clown, there to give gravitas to the policies which are entirely Elite White Folks in tenor.

    In the lingo of teens and 20somethings: FAIL!

  63. 63
    Lori says:

    Oh and also Octavia Nasr (middle eastern descent woman).

  64. 64
    PeakVT says:

    Williams just sucked on NPR and probably sucks on Fox, if he follows the pattern of other “liberal” regulars on that network. I’m going to count this incident as a net victory for journalism even if the proximate cause was marginal as a firing offense.

  65. 65
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    uan Williams is to journalism what Barack Obama is to politics—a token mixed-race clown

    Oh no you dint!

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    @Lori: Newspeople that don’t work at Fox or right-wing properties?

    I think I’d need some examples to support your assertion.

  67. 67
    Countme? says:

    NPR Colorado just interviewed Tom Tancredo, Constitutional Party candidate for Governor, and it was all very polite and balanced. I got the feeling during the interview that if a German NPR had been interviewing Hitler in 1932, the latter would have charmingly quoted from “Mein Kampf” about the Jews and the interviewer would have responded along the lines “some might call those views extreme” and left it at that .. instead of leaping across the table and strangling the eff to death right then and there.

    We’ll let the viewer/listener decide about the Jews. It all worked out back then.

    Well, we can find solace in the fact that World War II was a more effective economic stimulus than the Commie Roosevelt’s policies.

    Firing anyone from FOX is fine with me. Further, anyone to the left of John Boehner should refuse all air time on FOX.

    Further still, after the past 30 years of rancid Republican vermin lying about everything progressive, a little piling on Williams or anyone else even close to the FOX/Republican axis of evil is barely sufficient turnabout.

    Unlike Williams, I’m afraid of people NOT dressed like Muslims when I’m on an airplane, figuring why would al Qaeda or Taliban give up the game and keep the other passengers on high alert.

    If I saw Williams dressed as a Sikh on an airplane, my heart would give a little jump and I’d order a second drink. Mostly because HE wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between his Sikh get-up and some terrorist al Qaeda duds.

    If I saw Bill O’Reilly, or Joe Miller, or Sharron Angle on an airplane, I’d have to take matters into my own hands.

    In fact, the people who scare me the most on airplanes are the ones dressed as Republicans. They scare me when I see them at any time in person or on the telly threatening to murder the old, the sick, the unemployed, and the poor with their policies.

    I saw Karl Rove in baggage claim a few months ago and couldn’t decide whether to alert the authorities or kick his lying ass my own self.

    Fortunately, I kicked my fear of our internal enemies down the road to when the next American Civil War breaks out in a few months or years and can help stimulate the economy.

  68. 68
    Jewish Steel says:

    I devoutly wish that NPR was something that I could muster some enthusiasm for one way or another.

    I think I’d be more engaged with the firing of a BBC commentator since those guys are mostly pretty smart and interesting.

  69. 69
    Mike E says:

    Juan Williams getting shitcanned will only drive him further to the Center! You know, where the Applebee’s salad bar is.

  70. 70
    Zifnab says:

    @eemom: Well, then, hurray for her not being a host on NPR.

  71. 71
    moderately says:

    Had Williams said, “Bill I’m not a bigot, but when I got on a plane right after September 11th… I got nervous,” and then explained why those feelings had been misguided, I’d understand the comparison to Sherrod. (Though it’s unlikely NPR would’ve fired him had this been the case.)

    Since that’s not what Williams said, the comparison is absurd. As Kthug would say, “I reject the equivalence.”

  72. 72

    @Ed Marshall:

    “which is that it is an honest experience that when I’m in an airport and I see people in Muslim garb who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just a reality.”

    I don’t care whether Williams’ firing was justified or not, but he seriously needs to grow the fuck up and get over 9/11. There are a lot of things to do a double take about in this world that are more likely to happen than people in “Muslim garb” in an airport.

  73. 73
    Martin says:

    @CF Oxtrot: Out of curiosity, since you seem to have the attitude that everyone and everything is making the problem worse, do you have any kind of positive agenda to offer or are you just a breed of nihilist that I’ve never run across before?

  74. 74
    Eric S. says:

    @eemom: Is that $10 to the Pet Rescue or the BJ Act Blue. I’ll take the bet either way.

  75. 75
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    Juan Williams is to journalism what Barack Obama is to politics—a token mixed-race clown, there to give gravitas to the policies which are entirely Elite White Folks in tenor.

    The dry cleaners just called – your hood is ready to be picked up.

  76. 76

    @CF Oxtrot:

    Juan Williams is to journalism what Barack Obama is to politics—a token mixed-race clown, there to give gravitas to the policies which are entirely Elite White Folks in tenor.

    FAIL analogy troll is FAIL.

  77. 77
    MaximusNYC says:

    Maybe we should pay attention to NPR’s explanation: Williams clearly and repeatedly violated the terms of his employment as a news analyst. And he was warned:

    News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.

    Second, this isn’t the first time we have had serious concerns about some of Juan’s public comments. Despite many conversations and warnings over the years, Juan has continued to violate this principal [sic].

  78. 78
    someguy says:

    He’s a right wing bigot. A stealthy, quiet right wing bigot but he’s revealed himself as one nonetheless – as if the regular gig at Fox wasn’t proof enough. He should therefore be driven from the public spotlight.

    Other than the argument that it’s good to expose the right’s corruption to sunlight, to cleanse it, I don’t see any other reason for sticking up for this guy.

  79. 79

    […] After I wrote this, I see that Doug Mataconis and E.D. Kain both said it […]

  80. 80
    matt says:

    oh, more of this shit from kain. zzz.

  81. 81
    KG says:

    In defense of ED, at least from his post, he’s not comparing the details of WIlliams and Sherrod, but the reaction of partisans on each side. He believes it to be one line taken out of context and those who dislike this person or who they stand for are jumping on it as a reason why said person or side they are on are wrong and terrible and more. Personally, I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t watch Fox News, I don’t listen to NPR. I haven’t paid attention to WIlliams or O’Riley for at least five years.

  82. 82
    MikeBoyScout says:

    my 2 cents….

    Occasionally Williams says or writes something worth my (anybody’s) time.

    Most of the time his opinion/analysis is crap.

    I will agree with you E.D., NPR should not have fired him over this incident.

    They could have / should have let him go many years ago for lousy work.

    But congrats to NPR for coming to the correct conclusion for any reason many years too late.

    ps. If he writes something interesting NPR can interview him.

  83. 83
    Martin says:

    @Countme?:

    In fact, the people who scare me the most on airplanes are the ones dressed as Republicans

    They should. If a terrorist was going to blow up or hijack a plane, who do you think they would dress up as to increase the likelihood of success – Osama Bin Laden or George Will?

    Just reason #10 gazillion why none of these people give a real shit about the issue. An 8 year old could reason through the problem and conclude that a guy in Muslim garb, who certainly is aware of the attention he’s drawing, is the least likely to do something. The only reason to even suggest what Williams did is as an excuse for bigotry.

  84. 84
    JPL says:

    Reporters often have personal opinions that in order to give the appearance of being fair and balanced need to keep to themselves. I don’t know what was in Williams contract and if he broke that contract, he should be fired.
    In the US 35% of Muslims are black, do we have to fear getting on a plane with a black person?

  85. 85
    Bulworth says:

    Juan didn’t lose his job. He still has his (I’m sure well-paying) gig at Faux.

  86. 86
    Cackalacka says:

    @John Cole:

    Mr. Cole has succinctly written down what I’m thinking. Again.

  87. 87
    Zifnab says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    Who cares what NPR does? It’s a bullshit outlet for bullshit perspectives on what basically is an irreality, not on the landscape we actually face. NPR land is where buying a Prius is “green,” regardless of the environmental destruction inherent in making a new fleet of Priuses. Regardless of displacing tailpipe emissions to smokestack (elec generation) emissions. Regardless of consumerism not being a way to help the environment. Just plain regardless overall. That’s NPR.

    /taps ear piece

    Pardon? Baking powder? Are you seriously suggesting that going from a low mileage vehicle to a high mileage vehicle doesn’t reduce waste? Or that all electric generation is done through coal fired power plants? Or that “consumerism”, no matter what you are buying, is environmentally destructive?

    I mean, shit dude. By that logic we should all abandon our cars and walk everywhere. Barefoot. For the environment.

    If you’re going to suggest that transportation can be greener than a simple car upgrade will allow, I am totally on board. But if you’re going to have a shit fit because anything less than convincing an SUV-driving soccer mom to turn into a Kenyan marathon runner is insufficient… we can’t help you here.

  88. 88
    gordonsowner says:

    This ‘John Cole’ feller nailed it in the comments — and based on that comment, I think he should be given the right to have his own posts here on balloon-juice… we’ll just have to ask the business editor, i guess…

    My personal take (before reading John’s comment, which did augment my feelings on this) is that this is like what F. Scott Fitzgerald said of the rich — they’re not like you and me. Same goes for media/DC insiders. What does and does not constitute a firing offense is different to them than it is to a lowly news consumer/citizen like me. And whether or not I agree with them is immaterial to them. Which is why I read and support bloggers who I think to a good job, and not these other folk whose standards I just can’t wrap my head around.

    They want to not renew Juan William’s contract for not wearing a cotton-blend shirt, I don’t care. Fox wants to say Brian Kilmeade can keep on keepin’ on after saying all terrorists are Muslim, I don’t care. The trick seems to be convincing others that a wide audience does not equal credibility, and that there are better, more entertaining, and better informed sources to cull from.

    Personally, I can’t wait for all of these institutions to implode on themselves once the audience for Goldline and Rascal scooters fade away…

  89. 89
    Midnight Marauder says:

    Hold on just a motherfucking second. Pretty much everything you write on this issue falls apart when you say this:

    Like Doug Mataconis and William Saletan, I think this smacks rather loudly of the Shirely Sherrod affair. And I think the reaction on the left to his departure mirrors the reaction on the right to Sherrod incident, which alone should give people pause.

    Shirley Sherrod, are you fucking serious? Let’s just go over the basic facts of the “incident” in question that launched Sherrod to “infamy.” I’m pretty sure she was talking about a lifelong struggle to over come racial prejudice after watching her get father murdered by white supremacists. That is a real thing that happened. Let’s look at what Juan Williams is afraid of again:

    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.

    Wow, it most definitely looks like Williams frames his entire comment in the context of agreeing with Bill O’Reily’s point that “There’s no question there is a Muslim problem in the world.” Not a Muslim extremist problem, mind you; just a flat out Muslim problem. So that’s the oh-so precious context (which you completely disregarded) before Williams sets up his justification of bigotry in the following manner:

    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.

    First of all, anyone who says they aren’t a bigot because they wrote a couple of books about the civil rights movement is a) an obtuse asshole; and b) ABSOLUTELY about to say something bigoted. And that’s exactly what he did. To even claim, as you attempt to do, that Williams “also talks about the consequences of broadly painting all Muslims as enemies”–WHILIST HE BROADLY PAINTS ALL MUSLIMS AS ENEMIES–is fucking mind-boggling. If saying that anyone you see in “Muslim garb” is “identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims,” and that is a thing that causes you to become nervous and worried, then you are a straight-up bigot. How is that any different than saying “When I see black people who wear baggy jeans and skull caps, rocking Air Force ones, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as thugs, I get worried. I get nervous.”

    But let’s get back to that Sherrod comparison, because that already is the example of choice for people trying to apologize for outright bigotry (and make no mistake, that is what you are doing when you compare the filth that came out of Williams’ mouth with the enlightened, hard-earned lessons Sherrod was attempting to impart on her audience). I think it should give you great pause as a human being that you could find even a remote element of this entire situation that resembles the Sherrod affair in any legitimate fashion. It is a slap in the fucking face to rational thought to read such a patently gross false equivalence and you would do well to figure out what specifically makes you think these two situations are so comparable.

    Moreover, for you to get sanctimonious about how “context matters” while overlooking the salient points that a) Juan WIlliams performance on Fox News has long been a sore spot for NPR; and b) that the entire context of Williams’ statement was framed as justification and supplemental evidence for O’Reily’s continued crusade to defend his bigoted stance, would be laughable if it was not so atrocious in its intellectual dishonesty.

    Even better, that you claim “context matters” while having the audacity to write this incredibly tone-deaf and dismissive statement:

    Now all the criticisms of Williams as a person might be correct: maybe all he does is provide cover for conservatives on Fox News. Maybe he really is a secret conservative in disguise, wearing the sheep’s clothing of a liberal to fool Fox audiences. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s not important what his politics are. We shouldn’t rejoice over the wrongful dismissal of a journalist just because we don’t like their political views.

    Un.fucking.believable. “Sure, all of these additional pieces of information might be correct and add depth and nuance to my understanding of this particular situation. But who cares about that? What do such relevant, context shaping details matters? Here’s a conclusion that doesn’t address what anyone is saying at all.”

    Fucking disgusting that you would even compare this to the Sherrod situation.

  90. 90
    chopper says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    your ideas intrigue me and i would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  91. 91
    liberal says:

    @Billy:
    This.

  92. 92
    brent says:

    I get what you are saying E.D. and, in general, I don’t like the idea of anyone being fired for expressions of political thought. I don’t really agree that Williams’ thoughts on this matter are as inoffensive as you interpret them to be but that is neither here nor there. I wish he had not been fired over this.

    On the other hand, its difficult for me to get too worked up over one of the know-nothing villagers getting canned from their worthless jobs, especially since he will be sure to be picked up elsewhere soon enough. I don’t think this is like some dude getting fired off the factory floor because he has the wrong bumper sticker on his car. This is a minor and absolutely temporary inconvenience for who will, soon enough, be getting very large checks to spew his particular brand of banal and consistently incorrect conventional “wisdom” somewhere else soon enough. His sterling reputation as a hack will remain as unsullied as ever.

    In other words, I am not convinced that there is really some larger principle at stake here especially not one like the ones raised in the Shirley Sherrod case. The consequences for Williams just don’t rise to the same level of seriousness.

  93. 93
    Martin says:

    @Zifnab:

    Or that all electric generation is done through coal fired power plants? Or that “consumerism”, no matter what you are buying, is environmentally destructive?
    __
    I mean, shit dude. By that logic we should all abandon our cars and walk everywhere. Barefoot. For the environment.

    Considering that most electric and hybrid cars will be sold in California, Oregon, and Washington, none of whom have coal plants, it does seem quite illogical to assert. But I suspect that Oxtrot is every bit as pissed at hydro and nuclear as he is at coal.

    And I think walking everywhere, barefoot, is precisely his proposal.

  94. 94
    Byfuglien (pronounced Bufflin) says:

    If you’re looking for a white journalist-ish person fired from a media outlet for bigoted remarks, look no further than Don Imus. And now we have Morning Joe because of that douche.

  95. 95
    Mayken says:

    @Alex: Thank you! That is what bothered me about the whole exchange and I couldn’t quite find the best way to articulate it. You did.

  96. 96
    liberal says:

    @Jay B.:

    …after all, saying stupid things is why NPR hired him in the first place…

    Heh.

  97. 97
    wasabi gasp says:

    It’s heartening to see so many on the right defend this man from bigotry, a man who, under different conditions, may arouse suspicion and set off alarm bells if found within the proximity of a voting booth.

  98. 98
    liberal says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Agreed. Also, too, the guy sounds like a major pussy.

  99. 99
    Persia says:

    @geg6: Don’t forget his ‘brave’ series of articles speculating that The Bell Curve was possibly right and maybe black people were really just stupid.

  100. 100
    liberal says:

    @Zifnab:
    It’s more complicated than that, because you have to consider the environmental cost of things like that huge-ass battery in the Prius.

  101. 101
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Zifnab:

    True in the details, but at a higher level Sherrod and Williams (and Helen Thomas and a host of others) are getting fired for basically speaking their minds. And that’s what really strikes as lame.

    Lame though it may be, NPR was within their rights to terminate him for it, just as UPI and CNN were within their rights to terminate Thomas and Nasr (Sherrod maybe not so much, since that was a government gig). The wailing and gnashing of teeth that Williams “should” get his job back is silly. He worked at NPR at the pleasure of NPR, and it was no longer their pleasure to employ him. If he thinks he’s got a wrongful termination case, let him make it in court. Whatever case he might have, it will be less clear-cut than the one Nasr has against CNN for sure.

  102. 102
    Punchy says:

    I think lots of Americans probably experienced similar fears after the 9/11 attacks

    You’d be wrong.

  103. 103
    Bobby Thomson says:

    NPR shouldn’t hire David Duke, either.

    Just because you share Williams’ particular brand of bigotry doesn’t mean everyone does.

  104. 104
    Mark says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    It’s a bullshit outlet for bullshit perspectives on what basically is an irreality, not on the landscape we actually face.

    The Prius stuff is a bit of a red herring, but this statement is pretty accurate. Let’s not forget false equivalences and sucking up to Republicans.

    I quit listening to NPR the day after the 2004 election when they just rolled over and accepted that Bush and the Rs had won their ‘decisive victory.’

  105. 105
    CF Oxtrot says:

    Such clever put-downs from intellectual midgets clinging to the irreality of “post-racial” politics.

    If you can’t see that mixed-race and minority people are used as Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas to advance policies which harm poor minorities, then you’ve got a lot of learning to do.

    And taking childish pot-shots at me (Martin: nihilist? Hah hah hah that’s funny how little you know about the world outside Dem-loyalist, isn’t it?) isn’t helping advance your ignorant state toward one of semi-enlightenment.

    Plus, calling me a “troll” — that’s humorous, even if extremely pathetic. At the very least you might notice I have a blog where I am not at all “trolling” and if you weren’t such a closed-circle of frightened wagon-trainers stumping for the Donkle, you might see this!

    Y’all might try remembering that ad hominem doesn’t advance anything but the insult-issuer’s feeling of superiority. So congratulations on your superior feelings!

  106. 106
    Alex S. says:

    I don’t get the comparison with Shirley Sherrod. I don’t believe that the Left would have orchestrated the same kind of rabid hysteria Breitbart/Fox et al. did in the Sherrod case. And it was this reaction, and the expectation of even more right-wing outrage that prompted Vilsack or even higher officials to fire her. If NPR had not fired Williams the story would have made a diary at DKos and a few lines at TPM.

  107. 107
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Fuck your context ED. Williams is a paid professional liar for FOX News. That’s enough to have him removed from the air. This whole schtick about respecting others opinions is a load of horseshit. Democrats are routinely insulted, labeled and cast as enemies of this country and Williams was right there along for the ride. Williams and every other lying sack of shit needs to be fired, so how’s that for some fucking context?

  108. 108
    CF Oxtrot says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that going from a low mileage vehicle to a high mileage vehicle doesn’t reduce waste?

    Yes. The only “waste” you seem to be examining is gasoline consumption as waste. Clearly, Madison Avenue has won you over. Nice work, that gullible itch-scratching you’re doing there. Well done.

    You might try considering the waste inherent in building one new vehicle, let alone a fleet of them. Of course, you’re dodging that by saying the alternative is eating twigs and stones and living under a scrawny lean-to of tumbleweeds and discarded newspaper.

    Argumentum ad absurdum is a logical fallacy and a dirty rhetorical trick. Nice to know you’ll drop to that level while apologizing for the real problems. I bet you even think you’re helping “progress” America with that outlook. I’m in awe. Seriously.

  109. 109
    Mike E says:

    @Zifnab:

    By that logic we should all abandon our cars and walk everywhere. Barefoot. For the environment.

    It isn’t logic so much as a less shit flecked version of wingnut jujitsu. Wait, did I stumble into the libertarian thread?
    ETA not yours, the Ox dude’s

  110. 110
    Crusty Dem says:

    @CF Oxtrot:

    Exactly right, I never thought you were a troll. Between the condescending faux-intellectualism and the casual racism, I’d assumed you were a spoof.

  111. 111
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Byfuglien (pronounced Bufflin):

    If you’re looking for a white journalist-ish person fired from a media outlet for bigoted remarks, look no further than Don Imus. And now we have Morning Joe because of that douche.

    Awesome, he can play Helen Thomas’ persnickety grandfather, always muttering racial stereotypes about Juan’s character.

  112. 112
    batgirl says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation.

    Fuck, then why haven’t they shit-canned the horrible David Brooks/E.J. Dionne duo.

    Don’t get me wrong, Williams should have been fired ages ago, but I do find it interesting, as Lori points out, that all those seemingly fired based on specific comments seem to have one thing in common – that they are not white men.

    As for Kain, fuck, you lost everyone here when you threw out that bullshit about comparing this to Sherrod. Bullshit, in every fucking way. That false equivalency doesn’t fly here.
    Want to make an argument that NPR’s firing of Williams was wrong, go ahead. Yeah, I think that is possible though I may not agree with it. But comparing it to the Sherrod case is an absolute joke and it is difficult to take anything else you say about this seriously after you did that.

  113. 113
    batgirl says:

    @KG: Please, the Dept. of Ag fired Sherrod because they were afraid of the uproar on the right. NPR did not fire Williams because they were afraid of the uproar on the left.

    As others pointed out, they probably didn’t even fire him for those specific comments on FOX. They were probably looking for an out and took this one. Maybe they shouldn’t have. That’s an argument one can have. Comparing this to Sherrod in any way is a nonstarter and insulting.

  114. 114
    catclub says:

    @Lori:
    “Lots of newspeople make these kinds of statements, and no male Caucasians in this list of firees. ”

    There is NOTHING Pat Buchanan can say that would get him fired.

  115. 115
    les says:

    Sorry, don’t have time to read all the comments–but are you seriously comparing the firing of Williams, after a long history of shilling on Fox and literally years of odious statements and comparisons, to the firing of Sherrod for 1 doctored report of something she didn’t do? Honest to dog, ED, I begin to think your skill with words masks a complete lack of ability to comprehend the world around you.

  116. 116
    brantl says:

    “As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.”

    If they don’t think an “analyst” offers “opinions” , then they really are fucking idiots, and they deserve Williams. He’s as dumb as they are.

  117. 117
    MaximusNYC says:

    Yes, but their “analysts” are supposed to at least have the courtesy of not simply blurting out their prejudices: “I get nervous around X type of people”.

    That isn’t “news analysis”, it’s a pure statement of emotion. And it hopelessly discredits Williams’ opinion on any story related in any way to Islam, terrorism, homeland security, our current wars, religious liberty, civil rights, profiling, etc.

  118. 118

    Starting from the beginning is the concept that bigotry is an emotional response rather than a rational one. Anyone who claims to have no prejudices isn’t taking a very close look at themselves, having them is a different issue than judging them rationally and behaving in a manner based on reason rather than emotion. Williams did not make any such statement about his emotional response, instead he started right out agreeing with BillO.

    If I see people sporting “gang” dress my first reaction is to be ready for trouble, that’s an emotion – fear based, but the rational mind looks for behavior that creates a threat and absent that, relaxes. The rational mind says dress doesn’t equal behavior, though the emotion sees that dress as an indicator of trouble. In any such discussion that would be the first thing out of my mouth, regardless of my emotional response at the moment.

    Williams played the BillO game of on-air fights without rational discussion and got caught out being a dumbass. He starts out agreeing and from there hangs qualifiers all over his “rational” response, essentially neutering it. He knew that game going in, crap – he works there. He framed the comments the way he did and practically speaking that was the result of working for FOX and with BillO. ED is suggesting that somehow Cole didn’t know he was going to get cut off and have his “points” mangled by the format of that show. Bullshit. He was going to get stuck with that opening statement and if he didn’t know that he has no business having a job in that endeavor.

    Sherrod in any comparison is meaningless, even obliquely it is still horseshit.

  119. 119
  120. 120
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @CF Oxtrot: You’re certainly combative, if not a troll. Seems we aren’t as far over to some pole as you’d like us to be.
    And argumentum ad absurdum isn’t a logical fallacy, informal or formal, but a type of argument that is valid, if done correctly, that is more properly called reductio ad absurdum.

  121. 121
    Lavocat says:

    You still here?

    Dawg, how long do you plan on being John Cole’s Juan Williams of the Right?

  122. 122
    Seanly says:

    Juan Williams is a stupid partisan douchebag Republican and now he can troll his stupid partisan BS for Fox full time. Now if NPR would just drop David Brooks & Cokie Roberts.

    Also, hadn’t douchebag Williams been warned about his Fox News appearances? This firing isn’t totally without basis.

  123. 123
    JoyfulA says:

    He’s been warned not to mention his NPR affiliation on Fox News.

  124. 124
    Tim Ellis says:

    Here’s my answer, straight from NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombud.....n-williams

    He’s been generating hundreds or thousands of complaints for years. This was last stray, not out of the blue hatchet.

    On a related note, do you think any of the conservatives jumping on the “boycott NPR” bandwagon even listened to NPR before? Does it still count as a boycott if you just keep on not doing something?

    Because if that’s the case, I’m going to continue boycotting cigarettes and shitty beer.

  125. 125

    […] about the fact that he was fired for them, I think I meet E.D. Kain’s post at Balloon Juice halfway. He shouldn’t have been fired for the mere fact that he made those […]

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  1. […] about the fact that he was fired for them, I think I meet E.D. Kain’s post at Balloon Juice halfway. He shouldn’t have been fired for the mere fact that he made those […]

  2. […] After I wrote this, I see that Doug Mataconis and E.D. Kain both said it […]

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