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There has been much comment about Juan Williams and how Fox has handled the story.  And how superior we are.  

Well, in my view we are not only not superior, but identical, and what we are doing confirms that the media is indeed the message.

How can I say that?  Read on below.

What we are saying about Juan Williams is a product of the modern mindless sound bite era, a product of our anger, hatred and laziness, just like our treatment of the Reverend Wright.  We are no different from the right.  Well, maybe a little, but not in this case.

When Fox went off on Rev. Wright, no one in the media, not Fox or anyone else, bothered to listen to the entire sermon, which was not offensive.  He was more or less quoting what some in his community were saying, that is, that we, the US, deserved it.  What, Wright asked, are we to do with that feeling?  His answer, return to God.  I'm not religious so I may not agree, but he is a preacher, that's what they do.  The rhetorical tactic that he used was what is sometimes called a "pace and lead."  Start with where people are, the pace, agree with, or at least acknowledge that feeling, and lead them to where you want them to go, in this case, a return to God.

What did Juan Williams do?  He started with where people, at least some people, and most Fox viewers, are, and agreed... he gets scared too.  That's the pace.  We get nervous about Muslims on a plane.  But then he led to "but we can't act on that racism."  That was ignored by the media, at least the left media.

What did Fox do with Wright?  Ignore the balance of his sermon and take a bit out of context.  What did we do with Williams, ignore the balance of what he was saying and take a bit out of context.  

Why?  The answer is the same in both cases.  Because we, and the right, want to hate, want to be justified in hating. We want an enemy so vile, so evil, that we can be righteous. So we find some statement to justify our hatred and take it out of it's context.  We do it, the right does it and the right has worked themselves up to thinking that second amendment remedies may be justified.  

We have lost Walter Cronkite.  We have lost honest news broker.  Why?  Because we all listen to our own echo chamber.  We are all, both left and right, narcisists who only want to hear ourselves talk... and talk to others who agree with us who will affirm how good we are, how righteous we are.  

But the question is, how can narcisists, or the people narcisists elect, govern?  

The answer is poorly.  

BTW, I posted this as a comment to a previous thread but thought it should be a diary on it's own.  Which, I suppose, means I am as much a narcisist as anyone, except for some reason I like the flames I will surely get for this diarly.  :-)  

Originally posted to brooklyn137 on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:17 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  why Kissinger isn't quoted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklyn137, MaikeH

    As I remember, Henry Kissinger has for decades had a policy of not allowing clips.  He;ll talk on camera without editing.
    and I suppose that headlines and descriptions still get published.

    "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." [Ray Bradbury]

    by RosyFinch on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:21:40 AM PDT

  •  Juan Williams (4+ / 0-)
    is a horrible commentator. I would have let him go ages ago if I was in charge of NPR. Of course it makes sense Fox likes him.
  •  Yes or No: (4+ / 0-)

    By this argument, Helen Thomas should not have been fired.

    By this argument, Don Imus should not have been fired.

    By this argument, Laura Schlessinger should not have been fired.

    By this argument, Rick Sanchez should not have been fired.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:25:20 AM PDT

    •  I would not have fired any of them but the MSN (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, zenbassoon

      did and no one said a word.

      Screw Juan.

    •  I think.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...that you would have an argument with Thomas and Schlessinger, but probably not Imus.  I'm not familiar with what Rick Sanchez said.  

      I'm assuming that you are referring to Schlessinger's use of the "n" word, as opposed to her statements that gays were "biological error[s]."  That would put her in the same company as Imus.

      Personally, I have paid almost no attention to this debate until I was in the car this morning listening to a report of it...on NPR, in between fall fundraising efforts.  I'm not sure I agree with his termination, but it seems a close call.  

      "All along the watchtower, princes kept the view..."

      by Alec82 on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:39:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  schlessinger wasn't fired (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, skrekk

      She quit before she lost sponsors. She couldn't be fired. She owned her own show.

      Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications and a company co-owned by Schlessinger, Take On The Day, LLC, acquired the production rights. Today's Dr. Laura Show is a joint effort between Take On The Day, which produces it, Talk Radio Network, which syndicates and markets it to radio stations, and Premiere Radio Networks, (a subsidiary of Clear Channel), which provides satellite facilities and handles advertising sales

      schlessinger on wiki

      "My contract is up at the end of the year, I have made the decision not to do radio anymore. I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what is on my mind"

      schlessinger at wapo

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:57:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did you hear all (0+ / 0-)

      of the segment or part?

    •  Imus May Have Said Something Outrageous and... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      inappropriate, but they did not have the legal right to fire him.  His contract had specific language encouraging him to say outrageous stuff to increase ratings.  His multi-million dollar settlement at least shows that CBS didn't feel they had the legal right to fire him.

  •  I think Juan was given the heave ho by NPR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vlajos, skrekk, millwood

    but Juan ALWAYS has run with hare and hunted with the hounds.

    He NEVER stood up with any real resistance when on Fox. This is just a story to mess with Dems.


    NPR messed up, but Juan is a a waste of time. He is like the Bible says. He runs neither hot nor cold and deserves to be spewed out of NPR's mouth.

    They just did it the wrong way. Juan is wishy washy.
    He didnt want to offend Fox and didnt want to offend NPR so he never really took a definite stand.

    I am black but I never like Juan period.

    Fox says some HORRIBLE  things EVERY DAY but the MSN never confronts THEM.

    Look how they got away with denigrated Serrod. Dont help the MSN rake NPR over the coals. MSN are denigrating DEMS as we speak.

    The hell with them. Juan has a good job now with Fox.


  •  I'm not a fan of Williams (5+ / 0-)

    but I agree with this diary 100%.  Which, again, will put me in the minority on this site along with the diarist.  I usually hate the false equivalency argument ("Both sides do it!"), but in this instance, reading the comments on this site about Williams, I have to agree it's applicable.  

  •  The ultimate... (8+ / 0-)
    ..story behind this Juan Williams thing is how wonderfully FOXPac circles the wagons around one of their top proponents of Islamic hate speech.

    This is not about FOX getting pissed @ NPR; this is about FOX willing to go to any length to protect & reward one of their Islamophobic meatpuppets.


    I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I become a messageboard genius. Stay thirsty, my friends. -(Message from The World's Most Interesting Kossack)

    by wyvern on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:32:09 AM PDT

  •  Sherrod's point got twisted in the same fashion, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, skrekk, edtastic, brooklyn137

    which I think is the more natural and timely analogy.

    Watching pundits switch teams is like watching wrestlers go from the WWF to the WWE. It's all storyline and entertainment, which is what passes for political discourse these days.

    The quickness Juan Williams signed onto Fox News makes one question the conviction of any of his existing viewpoints. If he screams into the mike like Hulk Hogan like they do on Fox News, maybe he will be taken seriously by serious people.

    Why anyone takes these barkers of editorial sensationalism seriously is beyond me, I guess I just don't have the patience for them.

  •  False equivalency (9+ / 0-)

    This was simply the straw that broke the camel's back for NPR. Juan was in breach of contract, so he lost his job. He wasn't a victim, and now he's rich.

    Your characterization of the debate is as insulting as it is wrong. If you think there is no difference in the positions of each side, then you believe the lies from the right should be considered as valid as the truths from the left. It's simply ludicrous.

  •  Wow, One person gets fired and has a $2 mil (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SCFrog, millwood

    contract waiting for him while over 15 million Americans are still unemployed and the only thing people can talk about is this shit? Boy, do we have our priorities in order.

    Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature...Einstein

    by tazz on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:35:40 AM PDT

  •  Laziness? (5+ / 0-)

    I think there is a level of laziness right here in your diary.

    What did Juan Williams do?  He started with where people, at least some people, and most Fox viewers, are, and agreed... he gets scared too.

    He was pandering to xenophobia, normalizing it and rationalizing it.  I don't even believe him that he gets scared.  Anyone who knows how many people 'self-identify' as Muslim in the world knows you can't look at millions and MILLIONS of people with a jaundiced eye because of a handful of criminals WHO WEREN'T EVEN WEARING CLOTHES IDENTIFYING THEM AS MUSLIM.  It's inexcusably stupid for a public figure to be saying this crap on a network that routinely panders to xenophobes and racists to the point of helping to launch a war on this very brand of xenophobia.  

    I'm sorry but the whole "a lot of people are just as stupid as Juan" isn't an excuse for this.  NPR had a right to can him and it's not "Hate" on my part that makes me say that.  It's a defense of reason and civilization.  I hate hate.  Ya got me.  

    An 'attack on the left' is the GOP in office destroying lives.

    by Sun dog on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:37:18 AM PDT

  •  Look at the context (7+ / 0-)

    the subject was "political correctness", as in "Is political correctness preventing us from discussion national security threats from the Muslins"?

    and Juan was in his usual role of typical foil.

    Bottom line, FOX is not a news organization, they are not journalists.

    I am glad NPR kept to their standards.  

  •  Juan on Beck show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    now-  disgraceful

  •  NPR not backing away from the story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They just did a segment about it, and one senses they're ready to fight Fox over control of the narrative.

  •  Who cares about that moron? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imamish, SouthernBelleNC49

    And why is this crap getting wall to wall coverage? Juan Williams is a significant nobody. Only people pushing this crap are the moron right-wingers and their mouthpieces over at faux noise.

  •  Bravo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adept2u, brooklyn137

    That people can't see this is the same thing as Rev Wright, Shirley Sherrod and some others is mind boggling.  I'm getting HRs not for defending Williams (which I'm not, I don't listen to NPR or watch fox) but for pointing out the stunning hypocrisy.

  •  No, (7+ / 0-)

    you don't get it.  This isn't just over one comment.  Juan Williams has been pushing the envelope at NPR for years.  Why he was still employed was beyond me.  

    As someone who supports the Fox Noise Entertainment racket and regularly participates there, he has no business as part of a serious journalistic effort such as NPR.  

    This is not about just the specific incident but a long history, of which, this was the final straw.

    Mara Liasson should be next and for the same reasons.

    Fox is not a genuine news organization.  It is the media mouthpiece of the Republican party and Rupert Murdoch's News corporation.  

    If you consider Juan's words the other day without looking at the whole picture, you're missing a huge part of why.  

  •  And while we are trying to become better people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgcap, brooklyn137, Miggles

    the American Taliban is taking over by any means necessary. NPR had grounds for firing Willams- he threatened the integrity (perceived) of their message by participating in support of Fox's Islamaphobia crusade. If Juan is incapable of thinking his participation through enough to avoid an obvious problem about his role on Fox, he is not living in reality.

    •  Agreed, It's like steriods in baseball... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the question is what do you do?  In baseball, when the league was not enforcing the rules, most were essentially forced to take steriods to compete.  If your backup was, you better or you would be Wally Pipped.  Enforcement and testing solved, at least mostly solved, the problem in baseball.

      But who is the league in this situation?  There is no real press in the Walter Cronkite sense.  Have the ad men figured out the marketing of candidates so well that the public can no longer serve as the league enforcing even sane behavior?  If so, then what?  

      You're right, we can't unilaterally disarm against the right, but if we adopt thier tactics, then where is the country?

      Congress will not be able to establish any campaign rules... the congress critters are the ones who won under the system.  Why would they change?

      I don't see a solution, but it is distressing.

  •  "We have become Fox News"? (7+ / 0-)

    This title and the premise of this diary is ridiculous.

    It is very plain that Juan Williams was trying to justify what is indefensible.  Prejudice against Muslims is wrong.  It is un-American.  It was a good move to have that hate-speech apologist canned.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 09:04:38 AM PDT

  •  No. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rockhound, Tchrldy, Miggles

    Here's how he started out:

    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.

    He's saying O'Reilly was right to equate "Muslims" with those who attacked us on 9/11.  He's saying it's political correctness to disagree with what he's calling "reality."  His anecdote about feeling fearful when people in "Muslim garb" (And note, he goes on to assert that wearing "Muslim garb" is to define oneself first and foremost as Muslim - does he think the same of the orthodox Jew who wears a yarmulke? The black man or woman who wears a dashiki?) is not a shamefaced admission, he's saying that it's an entirely justified reaction and denying this is "political correctness."

    It's not a FoxNews style smear to call him on that.  Yes, he went on later to mouth some platitudes about generalization (not all black men are rapists ... some of my best friends are black) but that kind of back-end caveat doesn't excuse or alter the basic point he was making, which was that he agrees with what O'Reilly said on "The View".

  •  I agree and have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    asked several times here if commenters have heard the whole segment and I am getting they don't need to because of the part they heard.

    If the whole segment is listened to what he says if much more resonable.

  •  But... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, SouthernBelleNC49

    ...if your argument is that things are being taken out of context, isn't it appropriate to consider these remarks in the larger context/continuum of questionable statements that Williams has made?  Including his Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress statement about the first lady?

    Oh, there you are, Perry. -Phineas -SLB-

    by boran2 on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 09:27:03 AM PDT

  •  Oh great, more liberal self-loathing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The attempts at moral equivalency between NPR's firing of Williams and the hate-based nonsense at Fox News is baseless and ludicrous, not to mention adding fuel to the right wing fires that would eliminate NPR and PBS.

    Let's all be clear on this - the regular litany of lies, hate and dis-information that comes from the right in general and Fox News in particular is in no way the same as what NPR did in removing Juan Williams.  And anyone that thinks he was fired over this one incident has been blinded by rhetoric of the right.

    Williams long ago sold his soul to the highest bidder by appearing on Fox.  Williams became yet another in a long line of self-serving, so-called journalists who put his integrity and reputation aside by pandering to the partisan propaganda machine know as Fox News.  In doing so, he not only sullied his own reputation, he tarnished the reputation of NPR as well.

    Williams sudden jump to Fox in the immediate aftermath of his firing is all the proof one needs to see that his interests lie in lining his pockets and not that of journalistic integrity.

    Any attempt at equating the firing of Williams to the garbage spewed at Fox News is simply wrong.

  •  Having lived through yesterdays (0+ / 0-)

    Rec listed opus where the community decided that calling Black people colored was the snarky and appropriate answer to this discussion I find myself in complete agreement with your diary.

    Quite frankly because electoral victory is first and foremost in my mind I have to pray that the Democrats do not try and support this decision.  This will be a crusher and as much as I despise Juan Williams this will be an entire loser for anyone justifying firing him over this action.

    Change happens because of you...Barack Obama

    by Adept2u on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 10:36:19 AM PDT

    •  I couldn't disagree more. (0+ / 0-)

      The right is already fired up, showing support for NPR and their decision to fire Williams isn't going to increase Republican turn out, nor shift any votes.

      On the other hand, standing up FOR public radio and AGAINST Fox News and the right wing's attempt to defund NPR will fire up liberals and well reasoned independents who always stand in support of public broadcasting.

      Why is it that liberals are always looking for reasons to back down from a fight with the right?

  •  Show some love for NPR... (0+ / 0-)

    and do like I did today.  I made an pledge to my local station - WBEZ Chicago - in addition to my regular monthly support.  And I made clear that pledge was meant to show support for the firing of Williams, support for NPR in the face of all this feigned outrage coming from the right (and unfortunately some on the left).

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