NPR CEO: Juan Williams’s views of Muslims should be between him and his shrink; CEO: “I spoke hastily”

posted at 4:27 pm on October 21, 2010 by Allahpundit

Like Andy Levy said last night on Twitter: Polygraph ’em. Take the whole NPR braintrust, wire them up, and ask them if they’ve ever felt momentarily skittish about flying with Muslim passengers since the “unpleasantness” at the World Trade Center. If anyone fails, Williams comes back at double the pay.

NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller is defending the firing of news analyst Juan Williams after his comments on the Fox News Channel, saying his feelings about Muslims are between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist.”

Schiller spoke Thursday at the Atlanta Press Club. She said Williams’ firing is not a reflection of his comments that he gets nervous when he sees people in Muslim garb on an airplane.

She says she has no problem with people taking controversial positions, but that such opinions should not come from NPR reporters or news analysts. Schiller says Williams is a news analyst, not a commentator or columnist.

In other words, she wants you to believe that he’s not being fired for his thoughts on air travel in the post-9/11 age so much as for the mere fact that he’d opine publicly — presumably on any political matter, in any format — while working for NPR. (Haven’t they been letting him do that on the Factor for years?) That’s version one; version two is what she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning before her speech, that “there have been several instances over the last couple of years where we have felt Juan has stepped over the line” and this was the last straw. So … it is about his reaction to Muslims. (In fact, both reasons are cited in NPR’s official memo to its affiliates about the firing.) Or is it about Fox? As Howard Kurtz says, “I suspect that if he’d said the same thing to Charlie Rose, rather than on the O’Reilly Factor, he’d still have his radio job.” Here’s a telling aside dropped into NPR’s story about Williams and flagged by Yid With Lid:

Williams’ presence on the largely conservative and often contentious prime-time talk shows of Fox News has long been a sore point with NPR News executives.

In the memo to affiliates, Schilling writes, “We’re profoundly sorry that this happened during fundraising week.” Are they, though? It’s no secret which way NPR and its audience tilt; if anything, sacrificing the resident Fox-loving liberal at the behest of Think Progress will probably goose pledges. And the calls from Republican pols today to defund NPR will give them a whole new fundraising angle: “Donate now or else Fox News and the GOP win.”

And yet, and yet, I wonder how this will play even with the average Ira Glass fanboy. In a sense, it’s the Ground Zero mosque redux: There’ll be a hardcore 25-30 percent of liberals who spend the next few days congratulating themselves for not being able to fathom how Juan Williams could think such things. And meanwhile the other 70 percent of the population — many Democrats included — will be on his side. In fact, here’s an incomplete list of people who’ve weighed in today to say that, whatever one thinks of his position, he shouldn’t have been fired: Alan Colmes, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Scarborough, Matt Welch, William Saletan, Whoopi Goldberg, and of course GOP pols like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich. It’s the political equivalent of the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” To my big brother Juan — the richest man in town.

Here’s the man himself talking about how he got sandbagged over the phone, without so much as a face-to-face meeting or chance to explain himself. And below that, via Reason’s Michael Moynihan, a second clip to remind you how seriously NPR takes its standards about political opinion and statements that might embarrass the company.

Update: Surely she should be fired for her controversial and not-at-all helpful opinion.

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller just released this statement:

“I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”

That follows, as you’ll see below, her comment earlier today that now-former NPR news analyst Juan Williams should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself and “his psychiatrist or his publicist.”

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As for “very good world news”. I hope you’re kidding. NPR gets their “world news” from the far-Left BBC.

Del Dolemonte on October 21, 2010 at 7:05 PM

No, they have their own correspondents. Sylvia Pagoli in Europe and they also have their own in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You’ll get more than the “three US troops were killed by an IED” you’ll get from our crappy cable news/network news stations as well.

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 6:45 AM

theCork on October 22, 2010 at 5:11 AM

There are hundreds of NPR affiliates with thousands of employees.

Geez, if that hurts your tender feelings then perhaps you should stop listening or watching the news altogether.

I thought conservatives were supposed to be tougher than liberals.

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 6:47 AM

Tom_Shipley on October 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Go read what Juan wrote about it on the fox website. NPR wanted to control what he said and when they couldn’t they moved him out. Juan is a liberal, not a conservative.

They admitted they fired him for WHAT he said, not WHERE he said it.

dogsoldier on October 22, 2010 at 6:51 AM

From the President of Media Research Center (MRC) L. Brent Bozell, III letter to Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Chairman Joe Barton, Committee on Energy and Commerce:

“We’re formally calling on you and the Committee on Energy and Commerce to investigate this matter. Juan Williams deserves to be re-instated immediately, and with an apology. Or, if he’s going to be fired, then NPR should be prepared to fire half its staff for having participated in far more egregious behavior, and we’ll be happy to provide all the documentation you need.”

maverick muse on October 22, 2010 at 7:16 AM

Breitbart’s got this nailed @ Big Journalism

maverick muse on October 22, 2010 at 7:16 AM

Somehow I think conservatives have better things to do right now than getting Juan Williams his job back with NPR.

He’s parlayed it into a big paycheck with Fox and all the people who desperately want him back on NPR, are often the same people who say they never listen to NPR.

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 7:22 AM

They admitted they fired him…

NPR Ombudsman admits that NPR acted too quickly

…haste makes waste.

CAIR made demand on NPR.
NPR made the sacrificial scapegoat offering.

Caroline May reports that leading Muslims criticize NPR for folding on CAIR command.

Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, took issue with those who wrap themselves in feel-good sensitivity, while denying the fact that the majority of terrorists are Muslim.

Indeed, the threat is real enough even for Fatah, a liberal Muslim, who looks at women in burkas with skepticism. “I am scared when I see women in burkas, how do I know what is behind that?” Fatah said, noting that many Muslims share his concerns.

“We are victims of these guys. A number of suicide bombers who have attacked have killed people [while] wearing the burka,” Fatah said. “This is the truth, we should be speaking the truth rather than what people expect us to say. ”

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told The Daily Caller that though Williams could have been more tactful, his ouster is symptomatic of the problems Americans continue to face when discussing Islam.

“As much as the way he said it was poorly chosen, the era we find ourselves — of political correctness — we are not able to address what this fear is,” Jasser said. “Anybody that starts talking about this fear gets shut down.”

Fatah agreed, saying that he did not believe that anything Williams’ said was terrible enough to lose his job. “I think it is another expression of political correctness. I didn’t find anything that he said that he deserved to be fired,” he told The Daily Caller.

According to Jasser, the fact that the vast majority of national security threats emanate from the Muslim world makes Williams’ fear reasonable. Without open discussion, however, those concerns will never be conquered.

maverick muse on October 22, 2010 at 7:23 AM

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 7:22 AM

NPR isn’t going to rehire Williams no matter what, because Congress isn’t going to demand it. Democrats are as united against freedom of speech as Republicans were against the vote for ObamaCare. And Republicans have weak knees and a lack of conviction in leadership against socialism.

However, rescinding all tax funds from corrupt federal programs and businesses mutated into propaganda machines against constitutional values requires an accumulation of documented grievances, the process occurring at the moment.

maverick muse on October 22, 2010 at 7:28 AM

I consider myself to be very conservative, and I disagree with dang near everything Juan Williams says. But I’ve never found him to be annoying. In fact, I think he and Alan Combs are the only two liberals I’d consider ‘likeable.’ I’ve got a feeling he’s gonna come out of this just fine (and I hope so, too).

olesparkie on October 22, 2010 at 7:34 AM

NPR simply doesn’t want any conservative viewpoint related to them. Their funds come from Dems. Money talks.

AnninCA on October 22, 2010 at 7:37 AM

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller just released this statement:
“I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”
That follows, as you’ll see below, her comment earlier today that now-former NPR news analyst Juan Williams should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself and “his psychiatrist or his publicist.”

Ms. Schiller:
– It is not an apology if you don’t make it PERSONALLY to Juan. Posting it online does not give you a pass on this one.
– You have displayed poor leadership with your public “psychiatrist” comment (the smirk you made at the time you made it DID NOT HELP). Resign immediately!

Khun Joe on October 22, 2010 at 7:48 AM

NPR isn’t going to rehire Williams no matter what, because Congress isn’t going to demand it.

Which is exactly why it’s in NPR’s interest NOT to accept government funding.

The idea that Congress should be able to tell a news organization, who they should hire and fire? Revolting.

I like NPR but they should stand or fall on their own.

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Also, Palin is calling to defund NPR, and the GOP is calling for investigations into the funding of NPR. As always is the case with these people, they will implode in time, they just can’t help themselves and their bad behavior.

Does anybody besides Shipley still believe that Liberals care one bit about people?

Keemo on October 22, 2010 at 8:05 AM

By giving in to CAIR’s “concerns” and dismissing Mr Williams so quickly; isn’t NPR guilty of the same kind of fear that Juan Williams described?


stevezilla on October 22, 2010 at 8:13 AM

NPR, a proud member of the enemy within. No denying which uniform they wear.

Keemo on October 22, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Anyone supported by George Soros and bending to his will should be seeing a psychiatrist. Helping Dr. Evil destroy the US is a mental illness of the first order…..

adamsmith on October 22, 2010 at 8:31 AM

It wasn’t WHAT he said, it was where he said it. Soros has taken over NPR and Mara Liasson will be next to be fired with extreme prejudice and copious insults in public after for a nice incitement style pillory party. This is old time villification and a clear line in the sand.

Choose which side of the line you are on right the hell now or be fired in the most humiliating way possible.

Chilling times.

What amazes me is that so many people do not recognize the declarartion of war and even the battles themselves anymore. We are numb. Desensitized. This is not so much a Juan Williams story. This is that moment in history where it all unravels. We are knitting like crazy thinking normal, or at least the pretense of normal, can be restored. But when the largest gatherers and purveyors of information in the Age of Information implode – it’s a big fat hairy deal to civilization in general.

NPR was the last semi-non-commercial news source and though conservatives had seen the lean left for quite some time, the liberals had really not. No one trusts NPR after this. There is no Switzerland in news anymore.

There are so many parts to this explosion it’s hard to fathom the impact of them all as it unfolds, but I believe this is a huge, huge deal.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

BrideOfRove on October 22, 2010 at 8:41 AM

And this twit’s views on Juan and his psychiatrist should be evaluated by a jury and a damage award.

BigAlSouth on October 22, 2010 at 8:44 AM

I have been a contributer to WGBH for year. Now, not another dollar.

Wade on October 22, 2010 at 8:46 AM

BrideOfRove on October 22, 2010 at 8:41 AM

Williams was a commentator, not a reporter.

I don’t trust any news source any longer and haven’t for a long time.

The best thing to do is to gather information from a number of sources. Reporting has always been clouded by perception and alterior motives, it’s easier to see now because of all of the new information sources.

Walter Duranty lied for years and won a Pulitzer Prize. What he got away with would be impossible now.

If anything, news is more accurate than ever or at least you have multiple perspectives and it’s more difficult to lie about the facts.

NoDonkey on October 22, 2010 at 8:46 AM

And this twit’s views on Juan and his psychiatrist should be evaluated by a jury and a damage award.

BigAlSouth on October 22, 2010 at 8:44 AM

What’s funny is that their play CEO has no idea about what every entry level manager knows about personnel management. You don’t say ANYTHING on record about an ex employee, let alone something actionable like that!

These are not bright people.

MNHawk on October 22, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Keemo on October 22, 2010 at 8:05 AM

Nope. Soros is pulling his the strands in his spider-wib.

kingsjester on October 22, 2010 at 8:51 AM

And about that “Doctor” they’re using as one of “scores” of people who complained about him?

“On the Radio, Williams is somewhat of a thoughtful though superficial moderate while on FOX he shows his politically correct submissive Pro Fox bigotry for a few dollars more,” wrote Mohamed Khodr, a doctor from Winchester, VA, who was among scores who contacted me Wednesday.

“NPR must and should take a stand against this bigotry and tell Williams’ he must choose NPR’s code of ethics or be let go to join the racist bigoted fearmongerers of FOX,” continued Khodr. “NPR can’t have it both ways.”

Mohamed Khodr is a political activist who frequently writes on the plight of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy, Islam, and Arab politics

Any more questions about how todays Democrat trash have officially alligned themselves with the Islamo Facists?

Rush was right. Islamo Fascism is now to be known as Middle Eastern Liberals.

MNHawk on October 22, 2010 at 8:53 AM

When the incompetence of someone like Schiller becomes so obvious to be embarrassing, it could suggest she may just be playing her her role as a Soros lapdog. No one this incompetent should ever be in charge of anything that receives taxpayer money to exist.

volsense on October 22, 2010 at 9:00 AM

“The racist bigoted fearmongerers of FOX”

I want the tee-shirt!

Hieronymus on October 22, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Editorial “standards” at NPR?? PUHLEEZE!!!!

JayVee on October 22, 2010 at 9:09 AM

about the Shrink comment Ms Viv made – is it not enough to can Juan for telling the truth? How does your comment play out for those who have real issues and need to see a Shrink? Are they “CRAZY” too?

Her comments are so telling & reveal such a dark heart.

poppieseeds on October 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM

AnninCA on October 22, 2010 at 7:37 AM

Juan is not a conservative. He’s a liberal. All he did was tell the truth. And he gets paid to express his opinion, not the one NPR provided him, as much as they’d like to.

Are you really ok with this?

dogsoldier on October 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM