October 21, 2010

NPR was wrong to fire Williams for this

But not wrong to fire him. And Mara Liason should be next.

I didn't think that Williams' statement was that bad. He confessed a fear--which can be irrational--to seeing a Muslim on a plane. But he should have been fired, along with Liason, for their tendency to, in lieu of analysis, parrot Republican talking points. I have heard both do exactly that. Along, I might add, with Cokie Roberts.

TPM has a nice rundown, btw, on the right has demanded similar firings for slurs of Israeli Jews, but defend the right to slur Muslims.

10 comments:

Bob said...

I must admit, considering the context of the entire discussion, you might have a point.

Smitty said...

Sorry, man. I don't agree. I'm still of the mind that says that if you are going to be an impartial journalist, then to express a bigoted bias that bad is a huge mark against your objectivity. But that's the weakest reason.

Worse, I don't think Williams meant it. I think he said it to fit in; to appease the schleps at FOX who give him air time. That is worthy of being fired, especially since NPR has already warned him on several occasions, and on top of the fact that the Muslims who did the dirty deeds against us were dressed like us and not in "traditional Muslim garb." That, too, is worthy of being fired.

I also bet NPR has been looking for reasons to can his sorry ass. Here's, finally, the situation that gave them the excuse.

You'll find no tears or defense of Williams or offense against NPR here.

Streak said...

Smitty, that is an interesting point. I absolutely agree that this was the last straw for NPR, which is why I believe he should have been fired. And I think you make a very interesting point about not even meaning it, but being cowed by bigots like Billo.

And the dress part is a very good point, one I confess I had forgotten.

steves said...

I agree with Smitty. Williams put himself forth as a journalist. Unlike pundits, he is being paid to report and should attempt to be as impartial as possible. I can understand if he gets scared in those kinds of situations. I probably have some irrational fears, but I doubt I would annouce it to the world on a news show.

I will have to admit that I must have missed the other instances where he was biased. The times I did see him or listen to him, he seemed to be rather critical of the GOP or at least able to logically express his viewpoint.

Smitty said...

The times I did see him or listen to him, he seemed to be rather critical of the GOP or at least able to logically express his viewpoint.

Part of the problem was that he was 2 different people on 2 different networks. On NPR, he played a center-right-ish moderate journalist. On FOX, he played a conservative commentator. It's one of the reasons NPR told him that when he appears on FOX, he needs to take the NPR Correspondent off of his title on the botom of the screen.

steves said...

The TPM article is pretty good. It infuriates me to no end that some idiots elevate this to a first amendment issue. I don't expect the average person to be familiar with all the complexities of free speech jurisprudence, but I do expect that people know that the first amendment only prevents the state from restricting your right to free speech.

I was in law school when the Dixie Chicks commented on Bush and there were law students that brought up first amendment issues and complaints. Maybe they were at the bottom of the rankings, but they should have known the difference.

Juan Williams has every right to say what he did, but NPR doesn't have to continue to employ him.

steves said...

I have seen him several times on Hannity (a show that I will only watch under duress) and he comes across as very critical of the GOP and defensive of the stimulus and health care reform.

I like NPR. For the most part, they are not as left wing as people say. NewsHour, IMO, is one of the better news shows on. They go to great lengths to present stories in a resonable fashion. Some of their radio shows tend to be more left leaning and I would prefer more balance, but overall they aren't too bad.

Streak said...

I think Smitty has Williams down. He is two different people, and that was ultimately the problem. I actually get more annoyed, of late, with Cokie and Mara, because their analysis so closely mimics how the Republicans want to present this.

I certainly don't think that NPR is left leaning. I think the stories they choose to cover are often ones that liberals care about.

And Hannity? Really? I don't think I could watch him under duress.

Monk-in-Training said...

This is a very good discussion. Yes I think Juan (like we are buddies) wore two different hats (faces?) on the two networks, where the REAL Juan is, we don't quite know.

The point about the dress is a huge one, so many times we attack those who are perceived to be our enemy. Our culture has really gotten good at this. It doesn't matter that the person in question isn't Muslim, gay, undocumented immigrant, whatever. We attack and condemn them with vigor, innocence be damned.

One of my friends used to poo poo my stance on this until one day a friend of his from work and he were walking down the side walk and a pick up screeched up and they were assaulted for being 'fags', and hit with beer bottles before the pick up streaked off.

Perception is a dangerous thing for the self righteous and assured.

It is a sign of our lack of relationship, I think. We don't take time to get to know someone, only be afraid behind our locked, suburban gates.

To my surprise (and it does shame me) I have found that I can walk through the 'worst' parts of town, go under bridges with the homeless, and as I have gotten to know them over the last few years, I have found that there is far less violence and hatred than I surmised at first.

Get to know gays, Muslims, those you suppose to be 'evil' or 'scary'. You might find out they are humans, just as human as yourself.

Sorry for such a long rant. I will end with a prayer that God's Spirit may so move every human heart, that the barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions among us disappear, and hatreds cease; and that our divisions would be healed.

† Deus Caritas Est

Monk-in-Training said...

This is a very good discussion. Yes I think Juan (like we are buddies) wore two different hats (faces?) on the two networks, where the REAL Juan is, we don't quite know.

The point about the dress is a huge one, so many times we attack those who are perceived to be our enemy. Our culture has really gotten good at this. It doesn't matter that the person in question isn't Muslim, gay, undocumented immigrant, whatever. We attack and condemn them with vigor, innocence be damned.

One of my friends used to poo poo my stance on this until one day a friend of his from work and he were walking down the side walk and a pick up screeched up and they were assaulted for being 'fags', and hit with beer bottles before the pick up streaked off.

Perception is a dangerous thing for the self righteous and assured.

It is a sign of our lack of relationship, I think. We don't take time to get to know someone, only be afraid behind our locked, suburban gates.

To my surprise (and it does shame me) I have found that I can walk through the 'worst' parts of town, go under bridges with the homeless, and as I have gotten to know them over the last few years, I have found that there is far less violence and hatred than I surmised at first.

Get to know gays, Muslims, those you suppose to be 'evil' or 'scary'. You might find out they are humans, just as human as yourself.

Sorry for such a long rant. I will end with a prayer that God's Spirit may so move every human heart, that the barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions among us disappear, and hatreds cease; and that our divisions would be healed.

† Deus Caritas Est