Goldberg: NPR drove a stake through the heart of liberalism

posted at 2:00 pm on October 21, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As noted earlier, the firing of Juan Williams has more than one level of irony.  As Joe Scarborough Tweeted earlier today (emphasis mine):

Juan Williams gets fired for telling Bill O’Reilly to not equate the Islamic faith with terrorism? Really, NPR? Are. You. Serious?

Serious about firing Williams?  Certainly.  A serious organization dedicated to airing differing points of view?  Obviously not.  Bernard Goldberg, who wrote a seminal book on the political machinations of the national media with Bias and another with his Obama-era follow-up A Slobbering Love Affair, writes today that NPR has essentially destroyed the very fabric of liberalism through its insistence on political correctness:

What makes this so crazy — and so sad — is that liberals are the open-minded ones, the ones who cherish the free exchange of ideas, the smart ones. And if you don’t believe me, just ask any liberal, who will be glad to tell you how smart and open-minded he or she is. But these are the kind of people who believe in “free speech” only as long as they agree with you.

I feel bad for Juan, He’s a good, decent man. His firing will make lots of other Americans think twice before they say something the boss may not like. And that’s not a good thing in a democracy that thrives on vibrant, sometimes controversial ideas.

But I feel worse for American liberals. Because what we have here is one more piece of evidence that too many of them have forgotten how to be liberal.

Only about 20 percent of Americans identify themselves as liberals. Liberalism was once a great American movement. It led the fight for civil rights, the most important issue, as far as I’m concerned, of the 20th century.

It’s a shame that liberalism is dying in this country. It’s an outright crime that liberals are killing it.

Well, so-called “conservatives” darned near killed conservatism in 2006 by attempting to spend like the Left while in power, so I can feel a bit of Bernie’s pain here.  But I digress.  In this piece, Bernie defends, as he often does, classic liberalism, which once represented a movement towards individual liberty, free expression, and self-determination.  The American “liberal” movement hasn’t represented those values since the New Left took over the Democratic party and the leadership of the leftward spectrum of political thought, which took place in the 1970s and has continued apace ever since.

Those who support actual tolerance and open dialogue would not attempt to suppress it or punish it when it occurs.  The fact that Williams used that personal observation as a springboard to discuss the dangers of generalization seems to have completely missed the layers of editors and fact-checkers at NPR.  Just the mere utterance of a secular heresy (and on Fox News!) is enough to get the government-funded media outlet’s Bureau of Editorial Inquisition engaged.  They didn’t even bother to give Williams the Galileo option of disavowing his public statement first, and instead cast him out lest he taint the True Political Faith.

Whatever that process was, it wasn’t liberal in the classic sense of the word.  It’s also not tolerance in any sense of the word.  Neither word describes the modern “liberal” movement in any way, shape, or form.

Addendum: A few people on Twitter have posed an interesting question: what’s the difference between what Juan Williams said last night, and what Rick Sanchez said about Jon Stewart and the Jews on a radio show that got him fired by CNN?  Context and history is important here.  Williams used the example of his reaction in airports as an entrée to warning about the dangers of generalization, whereas Sanchez claimed that Jews control the media as a supporting argument for calling Jon Stewart a bigot.  The “Jews control the media” conspiracy theory is a canard, whereas the claim that extremist Muslims killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 is a fact.  For further context, it should be remembered that Sanchez had committed a series of embarrassing gaffes, and that his remarks about Jews and the media was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back, especially since he explicitly aimed it at his own network in that quote.

Update: One more point.  This is not a First Amendment case.  Juan Williams does not have a right to publication at NPR, nor does anyone else.  The people running NPR have the prerogative of hiring anyone they want.  However, their editorial judgment is the question, as is the notion that taxpayers should fund an organization this allergic to dissent.


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The next Congress must cut NPR loose from any federal subsidies.

If they have a product that sells, draws an audience, then let them do it the same way all the other TV outlets have to do it…in the open marketplace.

coldwarrior on October 21, 2010 at 3:19 PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton has responded..:)

Dire Straits on October 21, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Perfect!

petunia on October 21, 2010 at 3:21 PM

These are the Woodstock liberals that are running NPR and the country.Can’t you tell by how well they do it?

Not so Docflash. Me one of first hippies, listening to Amboy Dukes at Miami Pop in 68 and later went to Woodstock. I still listen to Ted Nugent in complete agreement. Real liberals love the naked truth, hate PC.

Keep your voice down…..

Rea1ityCheck on October 21, 2010 at 3:21 PM

The Cair guy, Ibriham Hooper just said on Megyn Kelly that Juan Williams doesn’t have the same views as NPR because he has become more right leaning. He said that NPR is obviously left leaning and Juan doesn’t share NPR’s viewpoints. WOW, I thought NPR was funded by ALL taxpayers, NPR needs to be shut down.

reshas1 on October 21, 2010 at 3:22 PM

I wonder if African Americans will notice,or put up with
this….. BESMIRCHMENT of Juan!!

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 2:30 PM
=======================================
If you stray, and don’t tow the line of their brand of liberalism….you’re anything they can dream up to call you.

capejasmine on October 21, 2010 at 3:10 PM

capejasmine: Yes,your right,and its sickening!:)

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Islam attacked the USA on 9/11. Full stop. Anyone who has ever read the koran knows full well where the constant attacks from islamist terrorists come from. That is not to say that all muslims aren’t dangerous to the infidel, but the ones who aren’t are not very good muslims.

Boxy_Brown on October 21, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Somebody please get a microphone in front of Obama and ask him if NPR acted “stupidly.”

Sugar Land on October 21, 2010 at 3:26 PM

NPR has a multi-billion dollar endowment courtesy of the Krocs, they have no need of taxpayer dollars so why do we continue to waste tax dollars on this DNC franchise?

NoDonkey on October 21, 2010 at 3:27 PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton has responded..:)

Dire Straits on October 21, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Oh man…..you “seriously”, “really”, “unexpectedly and unprecedently”, got me on that one. “Whateva”! ;-)

sicoit on October 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Even though I do not always agree with Juan Williams’ point of view I do respect the man and enjoy listening to him on Fox News. He brings a fair debate to the issues. What has happened to him is disgraceful and the people at NPR should be ashamed of their actions, but that would be a stretch.

milwife88 on October 21, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Here’s Megyn Kelly body-slamming CAIR over the Williams firing.
http://www.mediaite.com/online/megyn-kelly-and-cair-director-get-in-heated-debate-over-juan-williams-firing/

mizflame98 on October 21, 2010 at 3:33 PM

mizflame98 on October 21, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Megyn absolutely knocked that moron OUT OF THE PARK!

sicoit on October 21, 2010 at 3:36 PM

However, their editorial judgment is the question, as is the notion that taxpayers should fund an organization this allergic to dissent

I agree. It is their judgement that is in question just as it is the judgment (vis a vis wisdom) of the GZM developers on the site location. The exercise of a right is always tougher to call than is the actual right itself. Rights are easy to define, they are predefined, its wisdom that’s sticky.

ted c on October 21, 2010 at 3:37 PM

I wonder what that douchebag Prof Henry Louis Gates thinks about this…

Is obama going to “call out” NPR from the pulpit soon? Is there beer in Juans future? Who acted stupidly here. I’m sure this earth has already been tilled up above in the comments but it’s just too juicy to not consider.

ted c on October 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM

I was on an airplane recently and found the guy next to me was intently reading a miniature Koran. It caused me a momentary jolt and I found myself watching him closely for a few minutes. When he continued to be absorbed in his book and not causing any trouble, I got over that momentary flash of fear. At no time did I say or do anything to hassle the gentleman. Does that make me a bigot in NPR’s eyes? Apparently so.

Jill1066 on October 21, 2010 at 2:54 PM

You’re fired!!!

Django on October 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM

The only thing Megyn missed was the opportunity to say on the air once again that CAIR was named by the Federal government as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. That needs to be hammered at every chance.

sandspur on October 21, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Mara Liasson better watch her back.

mizflame98 on October 21, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Why is it that taxpayers fund this crap? This is the thing about liberals–that is they want to create their puppet organizations then stick us with the bill for them. What a crock of sh!t. NPR is sh!t radio. Dunderheads obviously staff and run it, there are no known personalities on there….I don’t listen to EIB, I listen to Rush Limbaugh. Who is on NPR, some POS lib talker one step away from Stuart Smalley on Air America? What can a new senator or congressman do on Jan 2nd? —CUT FUNDING TO NPR.

ted c on October 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM

This is ALL the fault of Glen Beck!

Glen Beck started this by pointing out how Soros was donating millions to a new propaganda arm for the Huffington Post. Beck also pointed out how Soros has ‘indirectly’ funnelled money to Media Matters and NPR.

The next day Soros decided to push for even more boycot’s of Fox News in general and Glen Beck in particular. Then Soros announced he was also pushing millions into Media Matters.

So today, we have a casualty of Glen Beck’s actions. This one comes in the form of Juan Williams. This was NOT about anything Juan said, it was about his association with Fox News.

Of course, they are now they are attacking Liasson for appearing on Fox News. Look for attacks on EVERY News commentator and reporter that is associated with Fox News.

And do NOT FORGET, the White House has attacked Fox News again and again over the last couple of years!

Freddy on October 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM

I’m not sure I agree that its not a 1st amendment case. NPR was created by the Corporation for Public Broadcast, which was created by an act of congress. And it draws a substantial (20% or so) portion of its funding from the federal government.

While he does not have a right to publish at NPR, can’t an argument be made that this firing has a chilling effect on political speech? If a somewhat government entity can fire a political commentator for what amounts to political speech, does that not have a chilling effect on speech? I guess the question would be if this is a “government action” (its not a specific law),.

As Goldberg says, “it will make a lot of american’s think twice”…..and i’d agree.

And that seems like a “chilling effect” to me….

GopherCon on October 21, 2010 at 3:51 PM

This whole thing should be a “come to Jesus” moment for Juan Williams. If this isn’t a “mugging by reality” what is? Come on over the light Juan, turn away from the darkness that il-Liberalism. Become the conservative you know you can be. . .

smellthecoffee on October 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Freddy on October 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM

I hope you forgot the sarc tag…

sicoit on October 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Freddy on October 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM

I hope you forgot the sarc tag…

sicoit on October 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM

+1

mizflame98 on October 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I’m surprised Freddy didn’t blame Bush for Williams’ firing.

mizflame98 on October 21, 2010 at 3:59 PM

This is about a lot more than Juan’s latest comment on Fox. There has been an enormous amount of hate filled e-mail aimed at Juan and Mara Liasson, both of NPR, and the demand from the left to fire them because of appearing on FNC. This was just the latest straw on Juan’s camel’s back.Check out ANY university and see how much ideological diversity they allow. As you mentioned in your piece “Freedom of Speech” as long as I agree with it. Look at the left wing web sites and the hate filled vitriol toward decent people of the other side like Tony Snow and Dick Cheney. Snow’s death was applauded and Cheney’s death begged for by these “Liberals”. As a group they are the most dishonest group in our nation.

inspectorudy on October 21, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Whatever that process was, it wasn’t liberal in the classic sense of the word. It’s also not tolerance in any sense of the word. Neither word describes the modern “liberal” movement in any way, shape, or form.

So get off it, Ed.

There is no liberality among those who identify themselves as “liberals.” Leftists are libertines. Look it up. This has nothing to do with a liberal education, liberal thinking, or any other form of enlightenment. The only freedom they favor is immunity from personal responsibility. They are merely self-indulgent, recklessly hypocritical buffoons. Say it with me—LIBERTINES.

I wish you and Ann and Rush could get this straight. Yes, I know that’s a lot of L nomenclature to juggle, but please make some effort. Leftist =/= Liberal. I’m sick of having to identify myself as a Newtonian Liberal.

HelenW on October 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM

There is no liberality among those who identify themselves as “liberals.”
HelenW on October 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM

No loyalty, either.

kingsjester on October 21, 2010 at 4:04 PM

HelenW on October 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Wow! You’d think for someone who thinks so highly of themselves, they’d afford more respect. I guess this is why Ed is successful, and you’re…….hmmmmmm!

capejasmine on October 21, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Why do they use “Public” in their name?

albill on October 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Leave Whorealdo in Afgahnistan (nebver to be heard again) and replace him on Fox and friends on Fridays with Juan.

dhunter on October 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

NoDonkey

Amazing how ignorant-by-choice “liberal” Marxists are regarding their US “Democratic” parentage.

Liberals frequently pretend that if THEY had been around during the time of the KKK and Jim Crow, THEY would have stood up to them.

They were the Jim Crow KKK, as powerful up north and in the midwest as in the deep south.

“White Guilt” belongs with elitists, not with the “producing class of Americans”.

[Col.West spoke of enabling the "producing class of Americans" to succeed by keeping authoritarianism out of the way, by allowing "The American Dream" to continue to benefit the diligent.]

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

capejasmine on October 21, 2010 at 4:07 PM

LOL. She’s only been here a short while and already has endeared herself to the posters and moderators.

kingsjester on October 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Liberalism is bigotry in its purest form. The definition of a bigot is one who is intolerant of other opinions. This is classic proof. Liberal hatemongers are a small,but extremely influential percentage of our population that uses racial hate and class warfare to exploit those they can deceive. Without hate liberalism could not exist.

volsense on October 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM

ted c on October 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM

There’d be sardonic humor were Obama to repeat his knee-jerk habitual “decision made in anger 80% wrong” mistake.

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:12 PM

I prefer Oppressives instead of Progressives.

Apparently they would like everyone to think they are just for “Progress” or some other such nonsense.

But look at what they really (sorry) want:

Oppressive control over your healthcare and energy use.

Oppressive
regulation of every aspect of your life.

Oppressive Taxation.

On and on..

Chip on October 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM
This is the word we have been searching for. Lincoln Freed the Slaves and bomma come back for round two Enslave/oppress the people. The ad writes itself.
PLUS 100+++.

Col.John Wm. Reed on October 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Update: One more point. This is not a First Amendment case. Juan Williams does not have a right to publication at NPR, nor does anyone else. The people running NPR have the prerogative of hiring anyone they want. However, their editorial judgment is the question, as is the notion that taxpayers should fund an organization this allergic to dissent.

Couldn’t the fact that because NPR, while quasi-independent, is funded through the federal and state governments make this a case of government censorship and, therefore, a First Amendment issue? Isn’t this like having a Nativity scene on the grounds of a post office? The ACLU would have a fit in the latter case. The post office is quasi-independent as well, yet they still claim constitutional grounds for preventing such things at the post office. This seems much worse because they are attempting to muzzle (through intimidation) a private citizen who was not representing an NPR opinion (whatever that would mean). It seems to me that there is some tenuous constitutional connection here.

BillyWilly on October 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Wow. I cannot believe what the NPR CEO said about Williams–something about him needing a psychiatrist. NPR has stepped in a big one here.

juliesa on October 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

I wish you and Ann and Rush could get this straight. Yes, I know that’s a lot of L nomenclature to juggle, but please make some effort. Leftist =/= Liberal. I’m sick of having to identify myself as a Newtonian Liberal.

HelenW on October 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM

HelenW:Okay,but are you in ObamaZombieVoterBot territory,
Progressive Socialist,a Liberal Democrat,a bit to
the Left,or a “Moderate Liberal”!

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM

BillyWilly on October 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Our laws never seem to work to a liberal’s disadvantage.

The first amendment, which was written expressly to protect political speech, was found to allow political speech to be muzzled by Congress, in McCain-Feingold.

Because the first amendment is really about nude dancing, obscenity and the right to shout vile insults at people attending funerals.

You have to go to law school to learn that.

NoDonkey on October 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

ted c on October 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM
===================
There’d be sardonic humor were Obama to repeat his knee-jerk habitual “decision made in anger 80% wrong” mistake.

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:12 PM

maverick muse:The Lefty’s are stepp’n out of Hot Airs shad
ows,and it appears,a lot more to come as they
get closer to Nov 2,Liberal Purgation Day!:)

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Judging from the way she lit into hawkdriver on a DADT Headline Thread, I would say “full-blown”.

kingsjester on October 21, 2010 at 4:28 PM

I prefer Oppressives instead of Progressives.

Apparently they would like everyone to think they are just for “Progress” or some other such nonsense.

Chip on October 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM

I could live with that.

I think that’s a great idea.

tru2tx on October 21, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Without hate liberalism could not exist.

volsense on October 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Yes, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde liberal mutation of “meaning” also illustrated by the dichotomy contrasting the bedeviled Dorian Gray with his Picture.

Up is Down “Liberalism” has nothing to do with Verstehung comprehensive understanding idealized by the Early 19th-Century Romantics in “The Beautiful”. Instead, modern liberalism has everything to do with the corrupt limitations imposed by authoritarianism and with the cruelty promoted by every vicious dictator.

This authoritarian choice to destroy language and meaning previously symbolized “haughty pride goes before the fall” linking Proverbs 16:18 with the ancient Babel Myth experience.

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:32 PM

canopfor on October 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Hey, they drew the line in the sand. Let ‘em have Purgatory according to their demands.

We’re tired of carrying their legislated burdens and them walking as if free of taxation, themselves being the spenders.

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM

tru2tx on October 21, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Exactly. Correctly identify by real meaning, not by the false but pretty facade.

maverick muse on October 21, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Bill O’Reilly: ‘It’s Over for NPR’

Nearly Nobody on October 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Ya think?

James on October 21, 2010 at 2:15 PM

It is what it is!

Gang-of-One on October 21, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Well, so-called “conservatives” darned near killed conservatism in 2006 by attempting to spend like the Left while in power, so I can feel a bit of Bernie’s pain here. But I digress. In this piece, Bernie defends, as he often does, classic liberalism, which once represented a movement towards individual liberty, free expression, and self-determination. The American “liberal” movement hasn’t represented those values since the New Left took over the Democratic party and the leadership of the leftward spectrum of political thought, which took place in the 1970s and has continued apace ever since.

Ed, you do digress. Reagan was no penny pincher. Republicans were not voted out of office in 2006 for spending money, not when they are being replaced by people who are promising to spend more. That might be the only promise the Democrats kept. Bernie is talking about the sort of people who used to stand up for the rights of people to vote and speak their mind. It is true that the left killed liberalism. The sort of people Bernie is talking about are a part of history, they don’t exist in the modern day political world of the left.

Terrye on October 21, 2010 at 6:02 PM

But these are the kind of people who believe in “free speech” only as long as they agree with you.

Oh, I’ve been referring to that as “Ford Speech” for years. (You know, like how supposedly Henry Ford said you can have any color as long as it’s black, “Ford Speech” is you can say whatever you want as long as I agree with it.)

Dave_d on October 21, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Why do they use “Public” in their name?

albill on October 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

“To call something public is to define it as dirty, insufficient and hazardous. The ultimate paradigm of social spending is the public restroom.”

–P.J. O’Rourke

VekTor on October 21, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Liberals are imbeciles with control issues.
Leftists are ruthless liberals.

justltl on October 21, 2010 at 11:25 PM

A black commentator named “Juan” goes from a PC “two-fer” (or maybe even a “three-fer”) to an enemy of the left in one day???

NOBODY hates like the “new Liberals”!!!!

landlines on October 21, 2010 at 11:38 PM

One more point. This is not a First Amendment case. Juan Williams does not have a right to publication at NPR, nor does anyone else. The people running NPR have the prerogative of hiring anyone they want.

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG

NPR is NOT a private organization. As long as it gets ONE CENT of taxpayer funding, the First Amendment applies.

SDN on October 22, 2010 at 7:18 AM

NOBODY hates like the “new Liberals”!!!!

landlines on October 21, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Study Stalin’s purges. There’s nothing new about this tactic.

Disturb the Universe on October 22, 2010 at 8:43 AM

“Well, so-called “conservatives” darned near killed conservatism in 2006 by attempting to spend like the Left while in power,[...]“

With all due respect, those (read: RINO) weren’t conservatives. That is why the Taxed Enough Already Party (TEA) won’t have any affiliation with the GOP and will pick who they think represents THEM!

vapig on October 22, 2010 at 11:03 AM

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