Morning Update: Williams spoke to Fox News (surprise!) this morning, and said that the head of news at NPR called him up yesterday afternoon and asked him what he meant to say. He responded, "I said what I meant to say which is, it's an honest experience that when I'm at the airport and see people in Muslim garb who identify themeslves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a doubletake. I have a moment of anxiety or fear, given what happened on 9/11. That's just a reality."
The NPR person told him, allegedly, that his comments crossed the line, to which he asked which line he had crossed. He was told that he had made a bigoted statement, which he denied, adding that he had told Bill O'Reilly that Americans have an obligation to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans, but that you can't ignore what happened on Sept. 11, you can't ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism, or comments made in court that there was a Muslim war on America.
He said the NPR person told him there was nothing he could say to change her mind. Suffice it to say, regardless of whether you feel he deserves to have been fired, he woke up this morning a Fox News martyr.
Original diary follows...
On Monday night, appearing on The O'Reilly Factor, NPR Senior Analyst and "Fox Democrat" Juan Williams said this:
WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I hate to say this to you because I don’t want to get your ego going. But I think you’re right. I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.
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 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.
So, 48 hours later, he's no longer a NPR Senior Analyst. Now he's nothingat NPR.
NPR has terminated its contract with Juan Williams, one of its senior news analysts, after he made comments about Muslims on the Fox News Channel.
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NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night.
Maybe he said what a lot of people think but dare not say out loud, or maybe he said something that was truly offensive. Or possibly both. Either way, NPR lost someone who could speak eloquently about the civil rights movement and, according to his Wikipedia page, has contributed to a lot of worthwhile television efforts:
Williams is the recipient of an Emmy Award for his work in television documentary writing, and has earned critical praise for a series of documentaries including Politics: The New Black Power, A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom, Civil Rights and The Press, Riot to Recovery and Dying for Healthcare.
He was the scriptwriter for Oprah Winfrey’s primetime special – No One Dies Alone.
Williams' 1988 book, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-65, was written with the Blackside production team as a companion to the first season of the PBS series Eyes on the Prize. His 2003 book, This Far by Faith, is also a companion to a PBS series.
But then again, most of the time he's not talking about the Freedom March on Fox News, but defending the Tea Party. And for reasons like that, over the years, he's always been greatly disliked 'round these parts for being the guy who is seemingly on Fox News a lot, as he's the favorite liberal (to Fox viewers) pundit over at Fox News. In fact, at times, it seems he's the only African-American on Fox. To represent the left, Fox News has a habit of putting on Democrats who have nothing good to say about Democrats, far-out extremists, inarticulate analysts ... and Juan Williams.
He was never really that bad. He did have a habit of agreeing with the loaded questions he was asked, but he sometimes gave as good as he got. And we don't get to pick the analysts to represent liberals on Fox News, they do. And in that world, he was oooooookay. No left(ish) pundit on that network was even close when it came to occasionally offering a sensible center-left position to an audience full of people who probably hated him.
I'm not as familiar as his work on NPR, but what I have heard has been good. Well, whatever, another chapter in Fox's invented "culture war" has been written. Public radio has dumped an analyst for making politically incorrect comments on Fox News, about a year after NPR wouldn't let him mention that he worked there while on Fox. This seemed inevitable.
Update: Video added.
Update II: NPR's media correspondent David Fokelfink checks the tweets:
Williams also warned Fox host Bill O'Reilly agst blaming all Muslims for "extremists," saying Christians shouldn't be blamed for Tim McVeigh
Self-indulgent Update: First time on the rec list, and at the top, no less. Thank you, Juan Williams! Now, to somehow work this on to my résumé.