Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Molly Norris Moment for Juan Williams

By now everybody — at least on this side of the Atlantic — has heard what happened to Juan Williams today. He’s a victim of what you might call the New Improved Canadian Free Speech Guidelines, which have recently been imported into the USA. I expect that we will be hearing more and more stories like this. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, just because police in the USA rarely arrest people for speaking out doesn’t mean that Americans actually enjoy freedom of speech.

I’ve been following the career of Juan Williams on and off for more than twenty years, usually in The Washington Post. His op-eds have never interested me very much, but I’ve read enough of his topic sentences to know he’s reliably liberal on virtually any issue. If you wear a progressive wristwatch, you can set it by Juan Williams.

Like Molly Norris, however, Mr. Williams discovered that being a liberal — and a person of color, no less! — is no guarantee of immunity when you utter the sort of incautious words that make Muslim grievance-mongers decide to ruin your life. Here’s a dramatic clip from Fox News featuring CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper arguing with Megyn Kelly about the the firing of Juan Williams by NPR (if you’re running IE and the video doesn't work, click “read more” below and then try again):


Notice that Mr. Hooper takes for granted the same thing that every other non-pithed American takes for granted: NPR is a reliably liberal outfit. He even thinks it has the right to fire employees who deviate from the party line.

Which brings up the same question I’ve been asking for at least thirty years: Why is the taxpayer funding of Corporation for Public Broadcasting still considered constitutional?

Below are a couple of news stories about the day’s events. First, from Yahoo:
NPR terminated the contract of Juan Williams on Wednesday after comments the veteran journalist and news analyst made about Muslims on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly stirred up controversy last week on “The View” after making the blanket statement that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” a comment that led to co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walking off the set.

On Monday, O’Reilly asked Williams if there is a “Muslim dilemma” in the United States. The NPR analyst and longtime Fox News contributor agreed with O’Reilly that such a thing exists, and added that “political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.”

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot,” Williams continued. “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.”

Some commentators and a leading Muslim civil rights organization took issue with Williams’ comments.

[…]

The Council for American-Islamic Relations sent out a press release Wednesday afternoon calling on NPR to address the matter. Nihad Awad, the organization's national executive director, called the comments "irresponsible and inflammatory" and said they "should not pass without action by NPR."

They certainly didn't. NPR took action Wednesday night and put out a statement regarding the severing of Williams' contract: "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."

From Hollywood Reporter:

Fired NPR Analyst Stands by Muslim Statements

“It’s an honest experience that when I’m in an airport and I see people who are in Muslim garb who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims... I have a moment of anxiety or fear, given what happened on 9/11 -- that’s just a reality,” he says. Juan Williams stands by his comments that he’s afraid of Muslims in an airport -- even though he was fired as an NPR analyst Wednesday for expressing those thoughts. “It’s an honest experience that when I’m in an airport and I see people who are 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,” Williams said Thursday on the Fox News Channel, where he also regularly appears as a talking head.

Williams said he was fired without talking to his bosses face-to-face, despite the fact that he’d been at the company for 10 years. Bill O’Reilly and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have asked Congress to open an investigation into NPR and cut its federal funding as a result of Williams’ firing.


Hat tips: ESW, DF, and Kitman.

15 comments:

Svenskamerikansk said...

But what's different in this US case is the massive public blowback and outrage.

It's a sign of life. And good health.

Nick said...

The underlying conflict between the fantasy worldview of the liberals who have aligned themselves with Islam and REALITY has been exposed. That's why imo the forces of evil have conspired to visit harm upon Mr. Williams.

He dared voice the FACT that in real life, which does in fact exist and which we all experience each day, we all wonder if we see anyone dressed in traditional Muslim garb in a public transport context what they're up to - because there have been so many Muslims in recent years who have committed terrible acts aboard public transport of one kind or another. And there's just no way of knowing whether the fellow we're looking at is a peaceful person, or if he has something else on his mind altogether.

This is real. Any sane person thinks this way.

But in the insane, topsy-turvy worldview of the left, this should never be, therefore they strive to purify the world in their own image and prevent it from ever being. We all need to re-read The Gulag Archipelago, that much I know!

latté island said...

Hooper got mugged, and by a woman! I always thought of Hooper as a cool customer, but here he was totally on the defensive. Things have changed. Good for Juan Williams for not recanting. If NPR doesn't hire him back, I hope he sues.

Thrasymachus said...

A dangerous precedent has been set. Williams has refused to capitulate and engage in self-criticism. He can't quite be written off as a crazy racist, beng black and a long-time liberal. And he will not suffer financially.

Zenster said...

Be sure to note NPR's underhanded sideswipe at Williams' mental health with their comment (time point ~00:29), "Whatever feelings Williams has about Muslims should be between him and his psychiatrist or publicist".

As always, if you have no sanity-based argument, declare your opponent to be insane. This is a timeless formula used by Islam and countless other tyrannies.

You can tell things are really heating up when the Liberals and Socialists are finally beginning to twig on Islam's fatally predatory nature.

Muslims did, in fact, kill us on 9-11 and although not all Muslims are terrorist, the overwhelming majority of terrorists are Muslims. CAIR's Hooper and all the other taqiyya-spewing terrorist accomplices cannot change this simple fact.

Nick said...

If one sets aside for a moment the rather silly assertion that not all Muslims are terrorists and looks at the core teachings of Islam, one quickly realises that the Muslims who are terrorists are acting in accordance with those teachings. Any morally sane person would be troubled by this. And only a fool or a fanatic would try to prevent this truth from being aired in the West in the post 9/11 world.

1389 said...

That's the same as what I've been saying: It's time to de-fund NPR.

They also need to de-fund PBS (to do that, they'll need to de-fund CPB), and the NEA to make this work.

trencherbone said...

You Americans need a totally impartial Public Broadcasting service like our own dear BBC.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

FYI, National Public Radio and the whole Public Broadcasting establishment gets 2% of its funding from the federal government. So go ahead and defund them - they won't be going away.

Which is fine with me, because someone has to be around to counter the lies of Fox.

EscapeVelocity said...

I dont want them to go away, I want to defund them.

Furthermore, you can defund them through state legislatures. Which is much much more than 2%.

Juan Williams: I used to think the right was the intolerant side


NPR just made government funding of NPR an issue in the midterm 2010 elections....with an extremely motivated and hoppin' angry Tea Party conservative movement about to make history with the tsunami about to hit Washignton and the States.

Juan Williams has a place to go, thanks to Fox News. If it was all government funded media, then PC thought enforcement would be unbreakable. (Well, not now with the internet). But then again, the Left is dying to bring Stalinist control of the media via The Fairness Doctrine.

Juan has left the plantation on Race, that is the real gripe. This Muslim business was just the excuse to get rid of him that they have been looking for.

EscapeVelocity said...

Juan Williams Strikes Back...

I Was Fired for Telling the Truth

...And now they have used an honest statement of feeling as the basis for a charge of bigotry to create a basis for firing me. Well, now that I no longer work for NPR let me give you my opinion. This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought. -- Juan Williams

1389 said...

NPR Sorry About WHAT? LOL...

Unintentionally funny, and very much on topic!

Somebody ought to explain to Nodrog that much of the funding for NPR and for PBS is funneled through local stations via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Similarly, some of the programming on NPR and PBS is funded by the NEA. By defunding other agencies that participate in this shell game, we can finally pull NPR off the government teat.

Fox News may get things wrong sometimes - they are very middle-of-the-road rather than conservative. Most of the people who pass for "conservative" these days would have been labeled Bolsheviks ninety years ago.

1389 said...

NPR Sorry About WHAT? LOL...

Unintentionally funny, and very much on topic!

Somebody ought to explain to Nodrog that much of the funding for NPR and for PBS is funneled through local stations via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Similarly, some of the programming on NPR and PBS is funded by the NEA. By defunding other agencies that participate in this shell game, we can finally pull NPR off the government teat.

Fox News may get things wrong sometimes - they are very middle-of-the-road rather than conservative. Most of the people who pass for "conservative" these days would have been labeled Bolsheviks ninety years ago.

goethechosemercy said...

The people composing NPR are too self-righteous to regret anything.
And they don't.
They never make mistakes.
Never have they shown intolerance, in their own conceit.
Liberals have given themselves golden crowns for leaden deeds.
And to think I used to agree with so much of what they have said.

Nicholas said...

Actually, this sort of witch hunt by the Left goes back at least to the early 1990s in the MSM, when affirmative action hires got liberal New York Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin suspended, and sought to get liberal Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko fired. Note that Breslin was then the most popular columnist in New York, while Royko was not only Chicago's most popular columnist, but the greatest newsman in the history of Chicago and, many newsaholics argue, in the history of America. Indeed, affirmative action hires went after Breslin and Royko because of their stature, in order to make a name for themselves for having scalped a famous white man.

The difference now is in the Left's periodic upping of the ante, such that now even a black liberal is fair game. This also tells you of the high esteem in which the Leftwing MSM holds Moslem terrorists.

Note that in the video, Hooper indirectly admitted that he was “pleased” with NPR’s firing of Williams. But the chilling aspect of the video is the way Hooper baited Kelly, in seeking to either intimidate her into denouncing Williams (‘Oh, no, I don’t feel that way at all’), or provoke her into standing with Williams, so that he could demand that she be fired, as well! That’s one tough dame.

Nicholas Stix