This date, October 21, 2010 marks a very dark day in journalism and free expression where political correctness and left wing elitist ideology exercised its clout while at the same time pandering to a radical identity politics institution. The result reveals that tax supported media is far from as “public” as perhaps the population should expect.
The background is as follows, National Public Radio, journalist and Fox News contributor, Juan Williams, appeared on the O’Reilly Factor giving his insights into the flap which occurred on the ABC mid-day program, “The View,” where on Friday Bill O’Reilly appeared as a guest promoting his book, Pinheads and Patriots. The subject of discussion turned to the Ground Zero mosque in lower Manhattan. O’Reilly was attempting to establish that part of the public’s difficulty with Barack Obama is that he simply cannot identify with public furor over a mosque in the shadows of where the World Trade Center towers stood. When O’Reilly pointed out that Americans were killed by Muslims on 9/11/01, View panelists, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stormed out in anger setting off a media explosion over the event.
Juan Williams, a liberal proponent, discussed his perception on civil rights and addressing issues of prejudicial conduct indicating that O’Reilly should have qualified his comments speaking too broadly about Islam as if all Muslims were invoked in what happened on 9/11. Williams went on to talk about how perceptions are tricky things pointing out that if he were on an airliner and saw a couple passengers dressed in Arab garb, he might feel uneasy.
For his contrition, not only was he fired by NPR, but his dismissal was handled over the telephone. He was not even given the dignity for a face to face reckoning.
Here are Williams’ words:
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 a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous,"
Shame on Williams for being contrite and admitting his feelings.
In defending NPR’s actions, their statement on the matter argued,
"Juan has been a valuable contributor to NPR and public radio for many years and we did not make this decision lightly or without regret. However, his remarks on 'The O'Reilly Factor' this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR,"
While NPR has no problem enforcing its extreme political correct agenda, it is also noteworthy that CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations demanded NPR take action against Williams. Surely, cow towing to agenda driven identity politics special interests is nothing new for members of the media elites.
How shameful it is that there is no room for debate or diversity of points of view at NPR. Given that the organization is in part publicly funded, its programming and editorial policies should promote diverse points of view but unquestionably NPR is aligned with the radical forces of the far left. Williams is what most would consider at very least a mainstream liberal, but in today’s world of Obama Socialism, identity politics, and political correctness, a person speaking to the difficulty of dealing with prejudices should be slammed for being nothing more terrible than honest.
One can’t help but wonder is it coincidental that just yesterday George Soros issued a press release that he was contributing a huge sum of money to Media Matters, his puppet group to harass those entities that provide diverse views in the media but in this case specifically, Fox News, and their pseudo-libertarian extremist demagogue, Glenn Beck.
NPR’s stance demands action. This kind of radical intolerance and dogmatic approach to editorial policy is not suitable for an organization supposed to act in good faith to maintain the public trust. On top of everything else, NPR’s CEO, Vivian Schiller stated, “Williams views should stay between himself and his psychiatrist.” WHOA, to not believe in NPR’s orthodoxy makes one in need of clinical mental care!?!? OUTRAGEOUS!!!
NPR must come up with an action plan to develop more diverse programming providing for representing the full range of mainstream American politics and do so without giving the appearance of favoring or promoting one point of view over the other.
While the notion of “The Fairness Doctrine” is abhorrent for commercial radio where the market drives content, NPR as NATIONAL PUBLIC radio, must reflect such standards.
While this blogger does not agree with most of Juan Williams’ political positions, there is no arguing this is a man of high integrity who serves to open discussion and analyze positions refusing to function as an ideological drone for one political faction over another. This kind of professionalism sets a high standard for all opinion driven commentators and serves as the exact kind of roll model that demonstrates fear mongers like Glenn Beck have no place in the media; however, Beck’s removal should not be mandated by any kind of censorship or the attempts of someone like George Soros trying to buy a solution.
All those of us who are outraged by what happened to Juan Williams should speak out about media abuses regardless of where they occur. Those who exploit the media to stifle open discussion or to perpetuate fear must be challenged.
Keep abreast of how this issue takes on life in the days ahead. Loud public outcries against NPR are essential to bring about making public radio a voice or all the people not just the Ivory Tower elites who have appointed themselves as our moral guardians and decide what they think we should hear making sure our viewpoints could never be corrupted by those who don’t tow the party line even if done so in such a small departure as what Juan Williams view represents.
Today is a very dark day for journalism and public radio. We cannot let such injustice go unchallenged.