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The First Amendment never protected your job

The media firestorm around Juan Williams' firing following his comments about Muslim airplane passengers breaks down, generally, along two camps. Either you believe that Williams' made a bigoted statement that would impair his ability to be an objective news analyst for NPR, and therefore should be fired; or you think an overabundance of political correctness cost him his job and impinged on his First Amendment rights. As Sarah Palin, tweeted, "NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if u exercise it."

But there's another way to look at this issue. If you stop and think about it, countless other companies would do the same thing, which means invoking the First Amendment rationale here simply makes no sense. The First Amendment prohibits laws from being passed that inhibit speech. It does not, however, necessarily protect your job--and does not require businesses or nonprofits to keep people employed, no matter what they say.

I'll say upfront that I'm a little mixed on NPR's decision to fire Williams. I can easily see how his comments, even with the tempered context of the entire discussion between him and Bill O'Reilly, would violate NPR's neutrality standards. At the same time, I'm not sure firing was the right decision. I tend to agree with Adam Serwer that more might have come from a reprimand and a public dialogue about Williams' comments. "Firing people for things like this," Serwer writes, "tends to chill the public discourse."

But I take issue with the defense that Williams' First Amendment rights are being violated. Countless employees have been fired for speaking their minds in ways that could potentially damage their employer. That's especially true in an age of social media, when employees are only one tweet or blog post away from saying something that hurts the company they work for.

Williams may not have been openly critical of NPR or identified as an NPR employee at the time of his comments. And he may have expressed a view that, unfortunately, many Americans share. But he is well known enough that he represents NPR, even if his TV tagline says otherwise. And if he agreed to impartiality standards as part of his contract and the company feels he violated them, it is his employer's decision whether or not his comments will damage his ability to do his job as an objective news analyst.

Did NPR rush to judgment in firing Williams? Perhaps. Is there a heightened sensitivity to racial and ethnic commentary by journalists in a particularly charged political environment? Most definitely. But to decry that Williams' First Amendment rights are being violated is quite simply not the issue.

Leaders have to make decisions every day about the employees they hire, retain and fire. Like it or not, if the employee is well known enough as a company representative that their public comments could harm the company's brand, or inhibit them from truly doing what they were hired to do, they may be shown the door. They can say all they want once they're on the other side.

By Jena McGregor

 |  October 22, 2010; 9:50 AM ET |  Category:  Decision-making , Nonprofit leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Businesses and Universities are into a phase of creative disassembly where reinvention and adjustments are constant. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being shed by Lockheed Martin, Chevron, Sam’s Club, Wells Fargo Bank, HP, Starbucks etc. and the state, counties and cities. Even solid world class institutions like the University of California Berkeley under the leadership of Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer are firing employees, staff, faculty and part-time lecturers through “Operational Excellence (OE) initiative”: 1,000 fired. Yet many employees, professionals and faculty cling to old assumptions about one of the most critical relationship of all: the implied, unwritten contract between employer and employee.
Until recently, loyalty was the cornerstone of that relationship. Employers promised work security and a steady progress up the hierarchy in return for employees fitting in, accepting lower wages, performing in prescribed ways and sticking around. Longevity was a sign of employer-employee relations; turnover was a sign of dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply today. Organizations can no longer guarantee work and careers, even if they want to. Senior managements paralyzed themselves with an attachment to “success brings success’ rather than “success brings failure’ and are now forced to break the implied contract with their employees – a contract nurtured by management that the future can be controlled.
Jettisoned employees are finding that their hard won knowledge, skills and capabilities earned while being loyal are no longer valuable in the employment market place.
What kind of a contract can employers and employees make with each other?
The central idea is both simple and powerful: the job or position is a shared situation. Employers and employees face market and financial conditions together, and the longevity of the partnership depends on how well the for-profit or not-for-profit continues to meet the needs of customers and constituencies. Neither employer nor employee has a future obligation to the other. Organizations train people. Employees develop the kind of security they really need – skills, knowledge and capabilities that enhance future employability. The partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor.
Let there be light!

Posted by: Moravecglobal | October 28, 2010 8:05 PM


Well, is a wasp should land on you, do you wait for it to sting, or swat it off?

Posted by: EarthCraft | October 27, 2010 11:57 AM

Strangely enough PART II:

"But of course Mr. Williams was expressing a well-worn racial and religious stereotype against Muslims and especially NOW, nearly nine years to the DAY after 9/11 and more importantly, in an election year in which one of our major political parties has no coherent ideas but is big on the rhetoric of hatred and division, it is utterly important to let bigoted Americans like Juan Williams speak their minds! Otherwise we might be responsible for "the collapse of our two party system.

"Well, obviously, if anyone hasn't noticed, Mr. Williams was entirely free to speak his mind, was not put in prison for it, nor was the network which carried his despicable remarks banned and put out of business... so... I have to conclude, no "censorship" occurred whatsoever.

"Wow! What a relief!"

Anyhow, I wrote the above on the comments section of the Fox News story, duly registered and signed in, but the "moderated" (i.e. CENSORED!!!) comments section never displayed my remarks. Of course, Fox does warn that comments are "moderated" (i.e. CENSORED!!!) but they don't put you in prison for wasting your time typing them in, there is no (not yet anyhow) Fox Gulag waiting for those who disagree with the catechism of the extreme right, just radio silence. If only the same could be the punishment for Mr. Williams!

Posted by: rjciardo | October 25, 2010 7:32 PM

I Was Censored by (OMG!) Fox News!

I tried to post a comment on the following article on the Fox News website: "POLITICS

Williams: NPR Firing Over Muslim Remark 'Amounts to Censorship'"

Strangely enough my comment, a tongue in cheek support of NPR as a typical corporate employer and condemnation of William's remarks as bigoted never showed up in the comments section on the website! Here is what I wrote:

"I think it is a good example of why Juan Williams is a poor thinker and even worse reporter that he considers his firing from NPR a form of "censorship." :Last I heard, censorship is the practice of governments shutting people up or closing free outlets of information, news and speech. None of which happened in this case.

"I used to work for Verizon Wireless. As part of my terms of employment, I was aware that any comment I might make in a public forum regarding Verizon Wireless, their products or services, whether positive or negative in nature could be considered reason for termination. (By the way, I no longer work for them, and am still a big fan of Verizon Wireless, their products and services and am NOW free to say so.) Presumably most conservatives are in favor of "at will" employment, in which the hiring company or corporation really does not have to explain why it is firing an individual.

"However, in the case of Juan Williams, a terrible match for NPR since his days of lobbing softball questions to then President Bush during totally unnewsworthy interviews, NPR has explained their reason for firing him: their news analysts are supposed to be objective observers, Mr. Williams bigoted statement about Muslims makes it clear he is not.

"Of course there is no right, in the constitution or in this country, to free speech when it comes to employment -- any employer can fire you for anything you say that they don't like. Period. If Republican conservatives want to change the status quo, I suggest they leave Mr. Williams with his 9 million dollar contract be and try to aid the workers at the poultry processing plant in nearby Tar Heel NC who have been fired for speaking out in behalf of being represented by a union in their third world working conditions plant. No? OK, then don't talk about free speech as it applies to extremely rich news analysts, please!

"But of course there is a very simple test for deciding if NPR "went too far" in firing Williams. Simply imagine he had made a similar racial or religious slur against any group who it is not presently politically correct for the right wing in this country to hate:

"What if he had said..."when I see a group of Jews I instinctively grab hold of my wallet" or "when I see a black man walking down the street I can't help crossing to the other side and dialing 9-1-1 on my cell phone" or "What happens when a female CEO has her period?" or anything that wasn't exactly the same as currently accepted American prejudice against Muslims? He would have been fired with kudos all around.

Posted by: rjciardo | October 25, 2010 7:30 PM

Anyone familar with the history of General George S Patton knows how putting your foot in your mouth, speaking out of line, can burn you.

Nessus

Posted by: Nessus | October 25, 2010 3:35 PM

This not simply a free speech issue. It is an issue of content, political correctness and a special interest group that had more access to NPR than Mr. Williams did. To be flip about it, I could argue that if Mr. Williams said he feared Bill O'Reilly getting on a plane, NPR would probably have given him a new contract.

Posted by: AllTheNews | October 25, 2010 2:21 PM

Everything we do in life, either bad or good must have a limit. It seems there is no limitation in freedom of speech and democracy. Through exercising them without keeping in mind how far we should go, we end up being in trouble.
If Juan Williams could had in mind how far he could express what was in his mind, he could not had lost his job.

Posted by: fridamulindayahoocouk | October 25, 2010 1:04 PM

NPR should not receive government funds.

The point Williams was making is that people have to balance their better sense against their fears, something akin to Lincoln's appealing to the better angels of our consciences.

In response, NPR's CEO indulged her hatred of Fox News.

It has nothing to do with free speech. It's just immature vindictiveness on the part of a person who is incapable of leading a responsible news organization.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 25, 2010 12:26 PM

Liberals are just outraged that they will have to actually spend their own money to fund NPR rather than get the taxpayers to do it for them. Libbies just love getting things that other people have to pay for.

Posted by: scoran | October 25, 2010 12:22 PM

Juan now demands defunding of NPR. It's clear his heart belonged to FOX, even as his wallet was being funded by NPR.
I always wondered how NPR could be so blind. They hired a guy who SUPPORTED Clarence Thomas when it was clear Thomas wasn't qualified----even before the Anita Hill incident.
--

So you're admitted NPR should be liberally biased. Gotcha. Unqualified because you don't agree with them? :facepalm:

Posted by: scoran | October 25, 2010 12:17 PM

If NPR is not biased, why does Nina Totenberg still have her job after she stated on air she wished Jesse Helms would get AIDS as retributive justice from God because he opposed funding AIDs reasearch?

Posted by: scoran | October 25, 2010 12:15 PM

NPR IS NOT NON PARTISAN. It has not been for a long time. It is a liberal organization and is guilty of very nasty comments toward anything conservative which the majority of the country is. They are brainwashing the kids with liberal blather also.Is it a surprise that right after they accepted 1.8 million from far left liberal George Soros that they fire Juan Williams? At Soroses direction 130 liberal journalists will be hired at NPR. It is now GSR, George Soros Radio. No tax dollars should go the this relic of what it once was. Mr. hooper from Caire, a Muslim rights organization came on Fox to talk to Megan Kelly and I have never seen a more smug and nasty interview. They demanded that NPR fire Williams. Remember what happened when Muslims came into the Netherlands? People were killed for speaking against the abuses of women in the Muslim religion. We are on our way in this country. Look at the 911 site. 70% of the country does not want that Mosque but will these aggressive people stop? No they will not. We had better get a handle on this now. We have Obama defending them at every turn. Williams has a right to free thought. We are not going to adhere to Muslim rules or the out of control thought police. Now even I may be afraid of Muslims and their aggression in this country.If we think of 911 and see them we can't even think about fear? The Muslims did kill us in the name of Allah. Until the greater moderate population stands up against the radical element publicly, none of us will feel safe. They have not done so and Mr. Hooper's attitude was really not a good sign.

Posted by: katie6 | October 25, 2010 11:28 AM

Legally, the point that Juan William's job was not protected by the First Amendment is a valid one as it generally relates to private employers. Many people seem to be mistaken about the scope of the First Amendment's protection - it very clearly doesn't protect your private employment.

But I also think that part of the problem here is that the vast majority of people don't see NPR as private. Truthfully or otherwise, NPR is perceived as a partially governmentally funded entity. If CNN had been Williams' employer and had terminated him on similar terms, people would be unhappy, but we would not be having the same kind of First Amendment discussion.

If NPR is truly concerned about its journalistic integrity and its ability to define editorial independence, it should disassociate itself entirely from federal funding and be private. Right now it finds itself in the same dilemma in which faith-based charity organizations find themselves when they accept federal grants - it is really difficult to advocate your faith on the government's tab.

Posted by: mycroft42 | October 25, 2010 11:17 AM

Interesting possibility for Juan to file a lawsuit given the claims NPR likes to make about non-partisanship and its public image.

Posted by: Over-n-Out | October 25, 2010 10:50 AM

I don't think there is disagreement on whether NPR -- or anyone else -- can fire an employee if they want to. They can.

It's what this act reveals about the character of the organization and its political biases that is enlightening -- the difference between the values they proclaim and the values they practice.

Posted by: dmarple | October 25, 2010 9:07 AM

Juan Williams' role has been of a Janus faced coin. It's amazing that he's been able to be a Fox rightwing /mouth piece partisan (along with equally partisan Mara Liasson) for well over a decade and still be on NPR.
It was surreal to watch Williams spout the company line on Fox as a yes-man while still having the gall to be part of NPR. Williams should have had the integrity to quit NPR well over a decade ago.

What Williams said was not PROFESSIONAL .. he certainly should have been fired from NPR, and be forced in the future to keep that kind of soft bigotry for FOX,. Guess he just forgot where he was the day he opined on Muslims on NPR.

And as for Sarah Palin -- she's a moron, and the sooner the Post stops quoting her every utterance, the better off this nation will be and the more professional the Post will appear.

Williams is no martyr, quite the opposite in fact.

Posted by: mimosa1 | October 25, 2010 9:01 AM

devilsadvocate3
Of course there is bias in reporting ... I recognize it in Fox reporting as well ... maybe you don't ... but it shouldn't resort to name calling should it? ...why call the folks who disagree with you ... socialist/Fascist? Name calling like this is very childish ... don't you think?

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 25, 2010 8:48 AM

I personally have no problem getting on planes with people dressed in Muslim garb. That doesn't make me feel nervous at all.

What makes me feel nervous is sitting in the waiting area and seeing families with babies or toddlers. It makes me very nervous to think I might have to sit next to or in front of a baby or toddler on a cross country flight.

Posted by: millerroberta | October 25, 2010 8:48 AM

So, agrossman1, Juan Williams is a "blathering idiot?" At least he knows that rules are "flouted," not "flaunted."

Posted by: PaulinMaryland | October 25, 2010 8:38 AM

Did anyone actually pay attention to what Juan Williams said? On national TV he said that he gets "nervous" around people in Muslim garb, and then proceeded to justify his irrational feeling, as though it was perfectly ok for people to be afraid of all Muslims. What if someone said, "I feel nervous around black people" or I feel nervous around Jews" would there not be outrage? In fact, recently Rick Sanchez, Ottavia Nasr and Helen Thomas were all fired from their media jobs because of comments that were perceived as anti-semitic.

At this moment in time and place, it's somehow all right to express open bigotry against Muslims and by extension, Arabs (and because of the immigration debate, against Hispanics) when the exact same comments when applied to other minority groups would be considered beyond the pale.

Bizarre that people can actually defend the sentiment as expressed by Juan Williams.

Posted by: Pupster | October 25, 2010 8:32 AM

BUFFALO23, Do you actually believe any news organization provides a balanced coverage. If you do than you obviously also need to leave the crack alone.

NPR was to quick to accused and judge Juan Williams of bigotry; someone who has never and could never be accused of being conservative. He is refreshingly honest..to discuss bigotry and acknowledge that he is capable of such tendencies. NPR chose to bow to Politically Correct socialists/fascists who demand people tow the party line rather than think for themselves. If anyone should be fired, it is the NPR CEO. She has shown the entire nation what true bigotry is.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | October 25, 2010 8:12 AM

Inkstand so you think Juan Williams is far left. It is clear from this comment you do not have a clue about what you are talking about.

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 25, 2010 8:04 AM

Hazmat77 do you treally think Fox provides balanced reporting? If so,leave the crack alone and look up the word balanced for a start.

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 25, 2010 7:59 AM

Jena McGregor, how would you feel if angry Juan Williams supporters petitioned the Washington Post to have you fired?

Are you entitled to your job? Or should it depend on the forbearance of the readership?

Seems to me it is a cop out to say that people are entitled to speak opinions, but should be prepared for economic ruin for doing so. That isn't "free speech."

At least not how I understand it. Under your definition, there is free speech in China. You can say whatever you like, the downside is you get arrested and put in jail if the government doesn't like it.

I find your remarks on the subject very cavalier and thoughtless.

Posted by: millerroberta | October 25, 2010 7:57 AM

If NPR were to lower the boom on their left-leaning commentators, then I'd consider them fair and balanced. They haven't in the past, and don't expect they will in the future.

If they want to continue to push a political agenda, then they have no business receiving taxpayer funding, no matter how little it may be.

Defund them now.

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | October 25, 2010 7:54 AM

The issue here is he was fired citing a code of conduct that the NPR does not uniformly apply. Therefore it is legally unenforceable and he has sufficient grounds for a successful lawsuit.

Posted by: cmarzec | October 25, 2010 7:40 AM

Geez. Anyone can be fired from their job. NPR can fire anyone they want. Let's just stop giving them taxpayer dollars that's the whole point and anybody who doesn't get it is clueless. I stopped giving them money in the 80s since I realized then how left-leaning and liberal they are.

Posted by: steven7753 | October 25, 2010 7:30 AM

What makes Sarah Palin a media expert on anything? What makes her an experton personnel matters? What makes he an expert on the constitution?

I doubt if she has ever read the constitution. If she did she is reading things into it that are just not there. The words are plain and easy to understand. But that does not have anything to do with that zapped out mind of hers.

This is not a First Amendment issue, Sarah. Get that through your pea brain. How about if I come to work for oyu in your business and start spouting liberal rhetoric for the Hell of it, to anyone who'll listen? Does that mean you have to take it? NO, you big dummy! You can fire me!

Posted by: agrossman1 | October 25, 2010 7:25 AM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances.
===========================================
Here is the First Amendment. Nothing in here says Juan Williams is supposed to have a job no matter what. I have always suspected him of being too good to be true. He is a fraud. No two ways about it. He is a two face. I have listened to Wlliams for years and have never supported him. He is not worth it. NPR should never have hired him in the first place. But they made a mistake they are now willing to rectify, and for that I have the greatest respsect.

The fools who rant and rave about Juan Williams' termination as unfair are just plain wrong headed. If he is so dumb that he thinks he can flaunt the rules at NPR he should go find a job picking fruit, digging ditches, as a cashier at K-Mart, anything but broadcasting.

Watch now as he enters the strange world of Fox 'News' and starts bashing liberals (he claims he is one, but is not) the current President, any progressive legislation.

Now we will see his true colors, if you bother watching the blathering idiot.

Posted by: agrossman1 | October 25, 2010 7:18 AM

"The First Amendment never protected your job"

The taxpayer should not be forced to subsidize outright ideological and partisan dogma.

Posted by: pauldia | October 25, 2010 6:58 AM

"Countless other companies" would fire you for the same thing? That is false! You, like so many others, conveniently leave out Juan Williams' full comment. He said that while he gets nervous on planes, if he sees somebody in full Muslim garb, that he knows it's wrong, and doesn't feel they should rightfully be disriminated against. That is the opposite of a bigotted comment. There is ZERO chance that anybody could be fired for that. If they were, they would win a lawsuit every time. Juan Williams was not biased. Your article clearly was.

Posted by: Alexandria1962 | October 25, 2010 6:55 AM

NPR neutral??? Get a grip! They view the world just like the POST.

Posted by: gfhoward258 | October 25, 2010 6:53 AM

"Racism is a lazy man's substitute for using good judgment ... Common sense becomes racism when skin color becomes a formula for figuring out who is a danger to me."
-Juan Williams

Posted by: nomolos40 | October 25, 2010 6:50 AM

I like NPR, especially its genius Radio Lab, not to mention, NPR is now in charge of the excellent Classical Music (former New York Times station).
But statements, as the author of this article did, that NPR has "neutrality rules" made me lough. I listen to this station every day, and I know it is not neutral.
As for Williams firing, he was very pro-Muslim in all these FOX News discussions. If it is true, the only reason he was fired, it is for expressing his left leaning views on FOX. FOX News became for NPR taboo, something you will scare your children with. "Don't go there," they had told Williams in 2007.
Funny enough, when FOX made Williams a part of its discussion panel, it was trying to be more balanced: he was a person from a another planet, an African American from the far left. Would NPR invite Glenn Beck to take part in its discussions?
And the answer is: if they fired Williams, they would arrest and handcuff Glenn Beck, should he appear on their show.

Posted by: Inkstand | October 25, 2010 6:25 AM

Does it violate the First Amendment to defund NPR? Nope.

Posted by: Delongl | October 25, 2010 6:23 AM


Clearly NPR's execs are hoping Americans don't remember that episode from 1994, when airing the views of a convicted cop killer weren't inconsistent at all with the network's "editorial practices and standards."

Yes, that would be one Mumia Abu-Jamal, who, on the night of Dec. 9, 1981, fired several fatal shots into the body of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Police found Abu-Jamal with a bullet wound from Faulkner's gun near the officer's corpse.

Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982. He managed to gain supporters who truly believe that somebody else shot Faulkner, who then mysteriously and for no good reason shot Abu-Jamal and that the latter is innocent.

So in 1994 the producer of NPR's show "All Things Considered" thought it would be a peachy idea to have Abu-Jamal give monthly commentaries about prison life. He was to be paid $175 per broadcast.

Those commentaries never aired, but not because they were inconsistent with NPR's editorial standards and practices. They never aired because Maureen Faulkner, Daniel Faulkner's widow, and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police got wind of what NPR planned to do and turned up the heat.


Had there been no public outcry, no pressure, then Abu-Jamal's commentaries would have aired as planned, and the network today would be known as "Cop Killer Radio," not NPR.

That was the time to stop taxpayer dollars from going to NPR. The network has a reputation for being a left-wing body with left-wing biases, and that's perfectly fine. But they should be who they are with donations from their listeners, not taxpayers.

Defenders of NPR say that only 2 percent of the network's budget comes from tax dollars. Fine. That means they don't really need the money.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/NPR-should-have-been-defunded-when-they-were-paying-a-cop-killer-1321836-105637663.html#ixzz13MfsSeww

Posted by: snowy2 | October 25, 2010 6:21 AM

Perhaps the knee jerk management style of NPR will serve us well, but not how NPR envisioned.

For way too long, too many ‘NOT TOO BRIGHT BERTHA BETTER THAN YOUs’ have been serving as self appointed police of what one could say; where one could say it; when one could say it; and even who could say it. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!!

In the majority of circles, these restrictions from self appointed ‘Better Than Yous’ is nothing more than INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY. To the ‘Berthas’, it is their self appointed duty to DICTATE to others how they believe, or their personal cowardice to face factual issues.

QUESTION: WHAT HAS THAT GAINED US?

Maybe the disastrous action by the NPR CEO will now cause us to be more willing to ‘tell it like it is’; QUIT the knee jerk reaction of perpetuating self induced sensitivities; and start putting on Big Boy and Big Girl pants and start dealing with issues, vice acting like a bunch of SPOILED LITTLE BRATS, WHO ARE JEALOUS THEY WERE NOT ASKED TO THE DANCE! THANK YOU FOR WAKING US UP MS. SCHILLER!

First step is to DEFUND NPR. Again good for the country that they have served themselves up for the CUT!! Thank you Ms. Schiller!!

PS: Could it be that Ms. Schiller is trying out to be an Obama Acolyte -- or, did Team Obama give her a push 'to go after Fox'??


Posted by: wheeljc | October 25, 2010 5:15 AM

You Soc-Demo pc inside the beltway eggheads can call a Southern non Soc-Demo anything such as redneck, trailer trash, hillbilly, etc., but all other groups receive hyphenated names and the utmost pc gibberish.
UGH

Posted by: tantz | October 25, 2010 4:55 AM

"As an African American, he should say he was extremely nervous with men dressed in white burning the cross. "

Thanks for letting people know what they should think and say.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | October 25, 2010 4:01 AM

By the way, just to make it clear, I think Juan deserved to be fired and I think Americans who think they can pick and choose among ethnic or religious minorities to demonize need to go back and read the constitution. I'll even host a tea party for them.

Posted by: rjciardo | October 25, 2010 2:57 AM

You know there's a really easy way to think about whether NPR "went too far" in firing Williams (who I personally think does not know how to be journalist). Imagine him making a similar slur against any ethnic or religious group who it is not now politically correct to hold suspect. Imagine a journalist saying "when I see a group of Jews I instinctively grab hold of my wallet" or "when I see a black man walking down the street I can't help crossing to the other side and dialing 9-1-1 on my cell phone" or "What happens when a female CEO has her period?" or anything that wasn't exactly the same as currently accepted American prejudice against Muslims. He would have been fired with kudos all around, mainstream media and water cooler included. But, you know, come on! it's OK to be ridiculously prejudiced against Muslims since 9/11 as ARE WE ALL, and especially so now in an election year 9 years after the fact, so why pick on poor Juan? Give me a non-politically-correct-expletive break!

Posted by: rjciardo | October 25, 2010 2:42 AM

Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak last August over racial remarks. Later, President Obama did apologize over the mistake made by his administration. However, in the case of Juan Williams, he was wrong. He hanged around at Fox News for too long and developed an extremely biased attitude toward Muslims.

This is not Palestine where Hamas women dressed in Muslim dress and blew themselves up. All of the 911 terrorists, including the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, didn’t disguise themselves as devout Muslim women.

As an African American, he should say he was extremely nervous with men dressed in white burning the cross. That he would be extremely afraid of guys carrying a gun wearing the Confederacy flag. They were the real threats that his parents and his grandparents faced every day decades ago.

Posted by: mnguyen4 | October 25, 2010 2:32 AM

Williams was fired for his clear violation of journalism ethics. You cannot give a fair analysis of news when you express fear or dislike of a certain group of people. Fox News' largest non-Murdoch shareholder is Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Guiliani refused to accept bin Talal's $10 million donation to New York City after 9/11 after bin Talal blamed U.S. support of Israel for the 9/11 attacks and suggested the U.S. take a position more favorable to the "Palestinian cause."

Fox News is a foreign owned propaganda outlet and a danger to America.

Posted by: Provasek | October 25, 2010 2:18 AM

Williams' free speech rights are not in question. However, what he said about "Muslim garb" raises questions about his skill as a news analyst. Williams' comment was his emotional, gut-level reaction to people dressed in accordance with their religious beliefs. An analyst is not paid for emotional reactions; an analyst presents well-reasoned responses. And even those of us who are not professional news analysts know that most criminals don't wear clothes that make them stand out in a crowd. So "Muslim garb" blends in in the Middle East, but not so much on U.S. domestic flights.

Williams' appearances on FOX and NPR seem to have become the Jekyll and Hyde of a news person. And the reliable journalist/news analyst did not seem to notice that there have been no terrorist incidents in this country involving anyone in "Muslim garb." The 9/11 hijackers made every attempt to appear like typical Americans. Even the shoe and Detroit bomber incidents made no mention of "Muslim garb" and they did not board their flights in the U.S. So the apprehension is irrational and Juan Williams should know that.

What we've heard is Juan Williams' Chicken Little reaction of "The sky is falling" when this is not the case. Here was an NPR employee saying he's uncomfortable with people in "Muslim garb" on a plane, knowing they have gone through airport screening like everyone else. And after 9/11 a socialist plan was set up by the Bush administration that should be given credit for preventing any incidents involving terrorists in "Muslim garb."

Unfortunately, Mr. Williams comments sound like apparel profiling which is hard to explain but is certainly a better fit with FOX news. That network did jump in to milk whatever propaganda it can from the Williams/NPR parting of the ways. However, it's likely that Mr. Williams' usefulness to FOX will have run its course by the end of his attractive contract and he may come to regret that he compromised the principles of journalism that NPR strives so hard to maintain.

Posted by: nlersch | October 25, 2010 2:10 AM

You have a set of morons in this country that believe the !st amendment protects them from the consequences of their big mouths. They are usually from the wingnut sector and they never want to take responsibility for their actions - they just want to spout off their bigoted views and be given a gold star for it. Sorry, charlie, but that is not what this is - Juan Williams had plenty of warning, went on a show run by a mouthy bigot, said irresponsible things - all the whining and wailing and this uncle tom clown will be at Faux News full-time...whaaaaa....
Posted by: LABC | October 24, 2010 9:47 PM
-------------------------------------------
SO, Juan's an "Uncle Tom?"
It's good to know that "you're" fair, balanced, and racially unbiased.
He's lucky that he didn't work for you. You'd have "Whipped the Boy." I watched him. I rarely agreed with him. But, I'm glad that I don't have "your" attitude.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | October 25, 2010 1:44 AM

In the Bill of Rights the First Amendment freedom of speech freedom of the press what you fail to understand nowhere is in the Constitution does it say censorship. But I'm curious about his contract if a company could write him to a person's contract limiting him or her on what they can say or cannot say. what is sad is that in our judicial system be accused has the right to face his accusers in order to defend himself. It's too bad Juan Williams wasn't given the same opportunity to defend himself, so why wasn't he given the opportunity was he becoming too uppity and is curious why fire him for the remarks he made?
Posted by: treason1948 | October 24, 2010 11:03 PM
------------------------------------------
Yes, you're right on all counts. I guess the boy, just got too uppity, and strayed too far off the plantation.
He pulled a "kunta Kinte." They either had to let him go, or Horsewhip him.
I thought the main Principles of the Democrat/Liberal Ideology, was tolerance, Love, and understanding. Wha Happened?? Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | October 25, 2010 1:09 AM

treason1948:

Well thought out remarks, and I'll answer honestly.

Paraphrasing, you are asking why everyone thinks the entire Democratic party is liberal.

Let's look at the four signature bills of the Obama presidency.

1. TARP. The entire country was against this being passed, regardless of it's merits. If you remember correctly 100% of the GOP and over 100 members of the DEMs voted against it's initial passage in the House of Representatives.
Both Pelosi and Reid stated publicly that they were not going to press their caucuses to vote for a bill that was so hated by the public without Republican buy-in... so it went into round 2 where they pulled 2 GOP members of the Senate for cloture saying the Senate vote was bipartisan. (would you seriously call it bipartisan?)

In the House they bought a small handful of GOP members and Pelosi really hammered her caucus hard for the remaining votes.

2. Stimulus Package went the exact same route. Public was against it, Pelosi got 217 + herself out of her caucus to pass it allowing the Democrats in normally GOP districts to vote against it.

3. Cap and Trade... Again the same route. She pounded the Democrats that were against it for enough votes to pass it, again allowing those conservative Dems to vote against it so they could use the vote in the elections happening right now.

4. Health Care. OMG! Surely you know the story there. The bill was considered dead by all members of the house and senate along with every single pundit in Washington in the spring of 2009 because the public was wildly against it. But no, Pelosi threatened her constituents (blue dog democrats) again making them walk a plank they didn't want to walk, obviously because they heard directly from their own constituents very loudly in the town hall meetings of 2009.

Reid bought off Nebraska, Louisiana, Florida and two others I can't think of at this moment to get to cloture, but on a form of the bill that had modifications to it forcing it into a House-Senate reconciliation that would require the House to vote on it again. This second vote in the house wasn't going to pass due to Bart Stupak and his gang of blue dogs.

Again, Pelosi threatened the Stupak gang to drop their amendments and accept the Senate version because Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieux and someone else in the Senate said they would vote no on the final bill.

Basically, once Pelosi (liberal as they come) forced a vote winning by only one vote, it didn't have to return to the Senate.

This was all ramrodded by the liberal wing of the Democrat Party with the conservative/moderate Democrats being railroaded. Hence, the country views the entire party as liberal and not moderate as the moderate Democrats across the country see the GOP being closer to their viewpoint than the Democrat Party.

+++

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | October 25, 2010 1:06 AM

"their public comments could harm the company's brand, or inhibit them from truly doing what they were hired to do, they may be shown the door."

To one that read the full transcript, Juan stated a probable common public fear of concern seeing Muslim garbed people on a plane ( see here http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/01/02/family.grounded/), which is also a risk factor ( legalized profiling) for Homeland Security.

The fact that he simply said he could identify with that fear is a fireable offense is laughable. Any good news analyst would reach the same conclusion. Clearly it was stated in the Jesse Jackson sense of "I hate to admit it, but I have reached a stage in my life that if I am walking down a dark street late at night and I see that the person behind me is white, I subconsciously feel relieved." I dont recall CNN firing him or anyone that was offended at the statement. It was simply a widely held belief at the time that Rev. Jackson was identifying with.

According to her "Apology", Ms. Viv wanted to fire the Jaun for a while, she just didn't have the cause to fire a black man. until this statement, which, without reading the whole transcript, sounds bigotardly. However, it was exactly the opposite in context.

NPR accepts a very narrow viewpoint of the world. I love their programming, but this is just stupid. Michel Martin on "Tell me more" shows much more bigotry on a nightly basis.

Posted by: smallwonders1 | October 25, 2010 12:32 AM

To those who say that NPR is nothing but a liberal stronghold and should be defunded as such, please name for me NPR's top 3 loudmouthed, liberal/socialist, opinionator personalities. You know, the Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly of NPR. And if the above request makes you think for more than 10 seconds, then you know (or just learned) why Williams was fired.
Posted by: lectricbass | October 24, 2010 11:41 PM
-------------------------------------------
Sorry, I responded to you, a few minutes ago. I got so carried away, that I forgot to respond to your main point.
The big difference is, The Government dosen't give our Tax money to Rush Sean, Glenn, and O'Reilly.
They work, at a profit, and they pay Millions in taxes.
If they fail to make a profit, they'll go the way of RadioAmerica. They'll go out of business, as it should be.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | October 25, 2010 12:32 AM

I have only one question for those who feel so offended by NPR's actions. Would you feel the same way about the Williams controversy if Williams had said he feels uncomfortable sitting next to a white northern European person on a plane because of the centuries of black oppression by whites? Oh, yea, that's different, because we white folks are Christians and we only kill and suppress those who deserve it.

Posted by: lounkaren | October 25, 2010 12:09 AM

+++

Let the record show that it wasn’t Fox News that severed its relationship with Williams because he said unacceptably liberal things, and it wasn’t Fox News viewers who agitated to have him dumped over his appearances on NPR. It’s the self-consciously 'tolerant' people who behaved illiberally, not for the first time, and certainly not for the last.

Rich Lowry: National Review Online

++

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | October 25, 2010 12:27 AM

To those who say that NPR is nothing but a liberal stronghold and should be defunded as such, please name for me NPR's top 3 loudmouthed, liberal/socialist, opinionator personalities. You know, the Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly of NPR. And if the above request makes you think for more than 10 seconds, then you know (or just learned) why Williams was fired.
Posted by: lectricbass | October 24, 2010 11:41 PM
-------------------------------------------
That does it,for me.
I never expect to listen to NPR, again. I've listened to, and recorded their programs, for more than 25 years. I'll "not" contribute to them, ever, again. I've taken them out of autodial, of four radios.
I'll miss the music, especially Celtic. I'll miss Fiona Ritchie, Garrison Keillor, Liberals, all. I'll miss the humor,
I only watch Juan Williams on Fox News.
I agree with about 10 percent of his ideas, or comments. I do respect him, as a Liberal Journalist, however. I don't recall ever reading anything that he's written
He likes, and admires O'bama. He's never going to call an Illegal Alien, an "Illegal Alien."
You've never known, or suspected an Illegal Hispanic Alien of blowing up a plane.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | October 25, 2010 12:18 AM

I have only one question for those who feel so offended by NPR's actions. Would you feel the same way about the Williams controversy if Williams had said he feels uncomfortable sitting next to a white northern European person on a plane because of the centuries of black oppression by whites? Oh, yea, that's different, because we white folks are Christians and we only kill and suppress those who deserve it.

Posted by: lounkaren | October 25, 2010 12:09 AM

To those who say that NPR is nothing but a liberal stronghold and should be defunded as such, please name for me NPR's top 3 loudmouthed, liberal/socialist, opinionator personalities. You know, the Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly of NPR. And if the above request makes you think for more than 10 seconds, then you know (or just learned) why Williams was fired.

Posted by: lectricbass | October 24, 2010 11:41 PM

Know the First Amendment doesn't affect your job that is a fact that's one thing we can agree on. For what it does protect is the freedom of speech freedom of the prepress, and to be fired because he was given his own opinion about a situation when asked his shameful to everyone who is associated with NPR. Now the one who should have been fired is the lady who came out and said Juan Williams should seek his psychiatrist that was degrading along with him being fired and it's shameful and what makes it even worse is that we the people are giving money to this organization to deny individuals the right to speak or to make an opinion. At no time did this man be meaner his company or anyone else.

Posted by: treason1948 | October 24, 2010 11:07 PM

In the Bill of Rights the First Amendment freedom of speech freedom of the press what you fail to understand nowhere is in the Constitution does it say censorship. But I'm curious about his contract if a company could write him to a person's contract limiting him or her on what they can say or cannot say. what is sad is that in our judicial system be accused has the right to face his accusers in order to defend himself. It's too bad Juan Williams wasn't given the same opportunity to defend himself, so why wasn't he given the opportunity was he becoming too uppity and is curious why fire him for the remarks he made?

Posted by: treason1948 | October 24, 2010 11:03 PM

I'm curious we have Republicans who are conservatives we have Democrats who are liberals and not what I want to talk about here why do they call Democrats liberal, I don't see the open-mindedness, I don't see the tolerance, or the freethinking that please anyone step in and let me know when I'm getting close. It seems as though if you belong to the Democratic Party and you don't think the same way as some clones may then you're classified as a bigot or a nutcase. So please explain to me how Democrats could classify themselves as liberals because every time I listen to the news and you don't agree with their theology concerning anything then you're either a bigot our nutcase. I like to think myself as neither but now this talk about the facts the Constitution may not protect Juan Williams from being fired from NPR but I am sure some lawyers will challenge the law not the Constitution. I just don't see just cause to fire Mr. Williams for what he had said on Fox news. Just like the woman who was on television representing NPR and said he did see his psychiatrist or whatever there was no call for that type of behavior. Yes public funding should stop and also an investigation into the company to find out if his civil rights were violated. Those of you who had tipped to side with the company is the reason why most of America is upset with what's going on in this country, along with the economy, an award that doesn't look like it's getting any better. The only thing I leaders can agree on is that corruption in Afghanistan is out of control. Our military can do nothing about that. Same thing happened in the amount the our military did their job, but the government was so corrupt along with many other politicians in United States. That is why John Fitzgerald Kennedy said that he would never commit troops in Vietnam but he would provide advisers only. But there's such a mess now in the Middle East it looks as though we're here for the long run. But I don't know the whole story only our military leaders the president and hopefully the Congress knows the hope complete picture so I'll leave it up to them. But all funding to this organization known as NPR should stop immediately.

Posted by: treason1948 | October 24, 2010 10:52 PM

I'm curious we have Republicans who are conservatives we have Democrats who are liberals and not what I want to talk about here why do they call Democrats liberal, I don't see the open-mindedness, I don't see the tolerance, or the freethinking that please anyone step in and let me know when I'm getting close. It seems as though if you belong to the Democratic Party and you don't think the same way as some clones may then you're classified as a bigot or a nutcase. So please explain to me how Democrats could classify themselves as liberals because every time I listen to the news and you don't agree with their theology concerning anything then you're either a bigot our nutcase. I like to think myself as neither but now this talk about the facts the Constitution may not protect Juan Williams from being fired from NPR but I am sure some lawyers will challenge the law not the Constitution. I just don't see just cause to fire Mr. Williams for what he had said on Fox news. Just like the woman who was on television representing NPR and said he did see his psychiatrist or whatever there was no call for that type of behavior. Yes public funding should stop and also an investigation into the company to find out if his civil rights were violated. Those of you who had tipped to side with the company is the reason why most of America is upset with what's going on in this country, along with the economy, an award that doesn't look like it's getting any better. The only thing I leaders can agree on is that corruption in Afghanistan is out of control. Our military can do nothing about that. Same thing happened in the amount the our military did their job, but the government was so corrupt along with many other politicians in United States. That is why John Fitzgerald Kennedy said that he would never commit troops in Vietnam but he would provide advisers only. But there's such a mess now in the Middle East it looks as though we're here for the long run. But I don't know the whole story only our military leaders the president and hopefully the Congress knows the hope complete picture so I'll leave it up to them. But all funding to this organization known as NPR should stop immediately.

Posted by: treason1948 | October 24, 2010 10:51 PM

THE REST OF AMERICA IS SICK OF STUPID LOUDMOUTHS WHO TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

THE TEA PARTY PEAKED A YEAR TOO EARLY, AND THAT GAVE EVERYONE TIME TO GET SICK OF YOUR FAT HEADED RIGHT WING GIBBERISH, YOUR ASININE CORPORATE SPONSORED FOCUS GROUPED PROPOGANDA, AND YOUR GENERAL IGNORANCE OF CIVICS, HISTORY, SCIENCE, AND ESPECIALLY RELIGION.

THANK YOU.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | October 24, 2010 10:31 PM

Well, there is a way for the First Amendment to apply to his case. Journalists have special rights to free speech. Mr Williams has stated that his contract with NPR allowed him to express opinion on Fox, write books, and give speeches, a contract different from other NPR employees. Ms Schiller has stated that an NPR news analyst must abide by a code of ethics and not render opinions on Fox. These positions could be argued before a court of law with a jury, with the contract considered (as with Wade Churchill). This would be preferable to have the employer terminate an employee in a phone call without allowing discussion or a hearing, and then not making explicit just what the offense was in that code. In the case of a dentist or lawyer, there is a professional organization of peers that enforces a code and license, and journalists pretend there is a uniform code of ethics, but in reality it varies with the media and publisher. NPR seems to feel the code is like that of a college, quite different from a cable TV network. Should not NPR employees be concerned about their contracts?

Posted by: joeshuren1 | October 24, 2010 10:22 PM

The only reason the first amendment comes in here is that NPR is sufficiently government funded that it is a quasi-government organization.
BUT AS A JOURNALISTIC ORGANIZATION, NPR was wrong.
Juan Williams has long since passed into the realm of being a Commentator, not a hard-core reporter. The standards of neutrality are different here.

ON the issue of being nervous when he sees someone dressed in "Muslim garb":
One of the reasons that race, religion and prejudice are so hard to deal with is that we are afraid to discuss the problem openly. How can we address prejudice when an admission of feeling prejudiced gets you fired?


We have to be able to address how an honest person can feel this way, and at the same time believe, as he said, that he is not a bigot.

Williams has to understand, though, that the fury of some Muslims at him is as much a necessary part of this conversation as his statements.

It's not easy. The talk will be distorted by demagogues. But it needs to be done, and NPR's act of firing Williams makes it harder to talk in the way that needs to be done.

Posted by: keng | October 24, 2010 10:03 PM

You have a set of morons in this country that believe the !st amendment protects them from the consequences of their big mouths. They are usually from the wingnut sector and they never want to take responsibility for their actions - they just want to spout off their bigoted views and be given a gold star for it. Sorry, charlie, but that is not what this is - Juan Williams had plenty of warning, went on a show run by a mouthy bigot, said irresponsible things - all the whining and wailing and this uncle tom clown will be at Faux News full-time...whaaaaa....

Posted by: LABC | October 24, 2010 9:47 PM

I want someone that will give an honest opinion of how they feel but within the limits of reason. Journalism with censorship is not journalism. Also, there is no such thing as an opinion that is not bias that is why it is called an opinion. Liberals and conservatives have been equally guilty for making distasteful statements. We need to keep it real and stop fooling ourselves. I don't think he should had been fired.

Posted by: 4xsample | October 24, 2010 9:26 PM

If Williams had stereotyped a different group, like if he had said, "I'm always worried when driving through the south because of racist lynching parties," or "I worry when I do business with Jews because they are so crooked," or "Those NRA types make me nervous because they might go on a shooting rampage," I'm guessing a lot of the "free speech advocates" for Williams would have a different view.

Posted by: fingersfly | October 24, 2010 9:14 PM

I am sure my tax dollars are supporting plenty that I don't agree with, such as going to war in Iraq. And I am pretty sure the one posting the negative comments here about NPR were for the Iraq war. So please shut up about cutting the funds for NPR and get a life.

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 24, 2010 8:57 PM

I think Williams has been O'Reilly'd like Ward Churchill...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 24, 2010 8:47 PM

I think Juan was O'Reillyed like Ward Churchill

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 24, 2010 8:45 PM

It seems, Jena, that Freedom of Speech is an intellectual exercise for you. It gives me no great pleasure to bust your bubble, but I must point out that when any business, much less a government-subsidized one, fires one of its most visible employees for revealing a very private feeling that he, or she, gets under a very specific circumstance, that business has also fired a warning shot to other, and prospective, employees of that business. They have said: "we do not respect your right to speak about your personal feelings and will terminate you should you do so." Furthermore, when the CEO of that business subsequently intimates that the fired employee has psychiatric problems, that business has slandered the now-terminated employee. That employee - Juan Williams in this case - has a right to sue the employer for denying him his constitutional rights, and for slander. They may still fire him; but they open themselves up to a very nasty situation, which I earnestly hope is the intention of Juan Williams.

Posted by: Larryw21 | October 24, 2010 8:37 PM

Truth is, he was fired because he sucks ... which also explains why Fox wanted him.

Posted by: upland_bill | October 24, 2010 8:32 PM

Sure, Juan Williams doesn't have a constitutional right to work for NPR. But that's not the question, but: is it right or wise for a publicly-funded media company to try very hard to ensure that their listeners are not exposed to ideas and points-of-view which don't fit in with the liberal worldview-- or in this case, views which don't accord with what we call the "politically correct" viewpoint?

Posted by: pjk1 | October 24, 2010 8:28 PM

Juan Williams was fired for appearing on FOX News. Somehow this threatens NPR. How else do you explain that Nina Totenberg and Cokie Roberts were not fired when they expressed strong opinion about matters on which they report?

And for those who comment that the outcry is from conservatives please note that the outrage comes from people of all political areas. It has been a rare circumstance which has united people. NPR should be ashamed but lack the moral center to have shame.

Posted by: AlG1 | October 24, 2010 8:19 PM

I think the real issue with Juan Williams firing has nothing to do with First Amendment rights. It has everything to do with governance issues at NPR.

If Vivian Schiller has the authority to fire (and implicitly hire since the two go together) contractors and journalists at NPR, then that proud organization is her fiefdom. And as has been noted in coverage after the debacle, the reporters and analysts there have every right to be looking over their shoulder. Look at some of the expressions of those who fall under the same job descriptions of Juan Williams, and you will see some statements that are considerably more beyond the standards Schiller has cited - and they haven't been fired. So, what was a firing offense for Juan Williams, is not a firing offense for others.

The governance problem is rooted in standard practice of supervisors performing hiring and firing. In a $170 million business, there should be some standards and methodologies clearly explaining when employees can be fired. Contracts should explicitly spell out grounds for termination, and there should be some range of consistency.

Schiller has cited "ethics" as the basis for her decision, but no where in NPR's published ethics - that I saw anyway - is it clearly stated that contractors are covered by NPR's ethics code.

This is not a small problem because an analyst should be bringing their opinion into their work. That's what they get paid for, their special insights, which to one degree or another include opinion. NPR journalist/reporters - at least when I was listening - regularly sought Williams' opinions. I don't think Schiller's explanation holds up.

It is in Schiller's interest to have in place governance guidelines to buffer her from being involved in hiring/firing those who face the NPR public. Based on her presentation in Atlanta, where she urged Williams to see a psychiatrist, it seems clear her people skills could benefit from some coaching. Financial statements indicate she's doing an excellent job in developing business. But it seems her people skills are more than a little weak, especially for someone who is roaming the halls at NPR firing people.

This is not a Juan Williams issue. This is an NPR governance and Vivian Schiller issue.

Posted by: MartinZook | October 24, 2010 8:14 PM

The writer of this gives away THEIR BIAS with "And he may have expressed a view that, unfortunately, many Americans share. "

What IDIOT wouldn't think a muslim in America represent a potential threat. I suspect the Lying writer would claim they wouldn't be nervous with black gang members(since they could be nice) walking toward them in harlem. Obvious a secret member of the PC police. I am not saying that I don't have friends and really like muslims and black and won't hire a good applicant...I am saying "Normal" risk management of life raises your aware with certain people. According to the writer I should be equal nervous with 20 black thugs and 20 angry muslims men and 20 preppies on a plane. LYING LYING LYING

Posted by: venturen | October 24, 2010 8:04 PM

The writer of this gives away THEIR BIAS with "And he may have expressed a view that, unfortunately, many Americans share. "

What IDIOT wouldn't think a muslim in America represent a potential threat. I suspect the Lying writer would claim they wouldn't be nervous with black gang members(since they could be nice) walking toward them in harlem. Obvious a secret member of the PC police. I am not saying that I don't have friends and really like muslims and black and won't hire a good applicant...I am saying "Normal" risk management of life raises your aware with certain people. According to the writer I should be equal nervous with 20 black thugs and 20 angry muslims men and 20 preppies on a plane. LYING LYING LYING

Posted by: venturen | October 24, 2010 8:03 PM

You read this thread and you know how the Republicans and Democrats stay in place, as this is what fuels their agenda. Williams is a victim/Williams deserves what he got/NPR is just doing its job/NPR is the servant of the evil Liberals/the Right is wrong/the left is clueless.

Hmmm, maybe, just maybe, the system is so screwed up that we need to step back, take a few deep breaths, and then remind ourselves that this is the best we've got on this planet as a free and tolerant society. So, does your leadership sell this message, or, maybe something else.

Intolerance and overtolerance have the same endpoint: alienation, aggravation, and hostility. Anyone care to offer a moderate viewpoint?

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | October 24, 2010 8:03 PM

Does the First Amendment give NPR the right to not have its Congressional funding pulled and voided? No, it does not. And that funding will be pulled after the election.

Posted by: shred11 | October 24, 2010 7:59 PM

I am sure my tax dollars are supporting plenty that I don't agree with, such as going to war in Iraq. I am pretty sure the negative comments here about NPR were for the Iraq war. So shut up about cutting the funds for NPR and get a life.

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 24, 2010 7:48 PM

THE LEFTISTS WANT JUAN ON BOARD, BUT ONLY IN THE BACK OF THE BUS.

Posted by: tripferguson1 | October 24, 2010 7:46 PM

If Ms. McGregor is really interested in telling the whole story, perhaps this space would have been better used to print the examples of the other on-air, full time NPR "personalities" who have said everything from wishing that Sen. Helms would contract AIDS to wishing a disaster on an entire political party. But that's okay. Those folks are liberal and as we know, NPR, like most liberals news outlets, are tolerant...that is, tolerant with those employees who spout the company line. With or without Juan, NPR and its stations should have to stand on its own. Without federal funding we might actually see just what this free speech thing is all about.

Posted by: wantingbalance | October 24, 2010 7:45 PM

When someone says something like "I'm not X, BUT...." that's a dead giveaway. You can't use "BUT" because that negates your previous statement!!! So, I guess Juan Williams is a bigot when it comes to Muslims.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | October 24, 2010 7:42 PM

The bru-ha-ha is first, the demonstration of NPR's intolerance for a true personal statement and NPR's not so thinly cloaked bias.
Once upon a time, NPR may have been the most "neutral" game in town, but NPR has evolved to be a reliable left liberal view--in contrast to a "classical" liberal view. The old NPR would not have objected to Williams comment or the real underlying issue with Williams, his part time appearances on FOX NEWS.

I found the CEO to be the most revealing in her attack on Williams character as a psychologically imbalanced or troubled person, perhaps with a narcissism affliction. NOW THAT IS GROUNDS for LEGAL ACTION.

NPR is just the Santa Claus for may of NPRs listeners. NPR's supposed neutrality feeds the ego's of many of its listeners who "believe in the myth of "unbiased NPR" and therefore believe they are also in fact "morally superior because of their unassailably rational and liberal world view."

Posted by: SchoolBoardLady | October 24, 2010 7:32 PM

Does Juan Williams have the right to say whatever he wants? Absolutely. Can NPR fire him? Perhaps.

Can I, as a listener, choose to tune out because I am unhappy with that decision? Absolutely.

Decisions have consequences.

Posted by: lisabudzynski | October 24, 2010 7:31 PM

It's a question of semantics. He said "when I see Muslim people on a plane, I get nervous," which was his personal opinion. Now if he had said "Some/many people get nervous when they see Muslim people on a plane" that would have been a professional opinion as a news analyst and still made the same point. Seems to me it's not a matter of freedom of speech, but of professional standards of conduct. And yes, there are liberal pundits who get paid to give their opinion, but he was a news analyst so he was held to a different standard, which he had violated in the past and been warned about.

Posted by: duhneese | October 24, 2010 7:26 PM

Didn't see anyone at WaPo write this when the dixie chicks were vilified & boycotted.

Pretty clear double standard:

A - NPR attacked? defend your leftist fellow 5-th columnists!

B - liberal entertainers offend their audience and their audience rejects them? those intolerant rednecks! how dare they?!?

Posted by: John1 | October 24, 2010 7:12 PM

....."NPR MAKES ME NERVOUS AND SO DOES GEORGE SOROS WHO WORKED FOR THE NAZIS IN BUDAPEST IN 1944."....
.....Um, you do know Soros was 13 at the time. And anyone that didn't cooperate with the Nazis during occupation was usually shot.....

What Mel Gibson is saying is that Soros is a Jew, and that Jews control the media and everything else. Obsession with Jews is just one more form of racial hysteria bubbling to the surface of the GOP this year.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | October 24, 2010 7:05 PM

NPR had a right to fire Williams just as we as the Federal Government, private organizations, and individuals have the right to stop contributing funds to NPR. With the way the Williams firing was handled, NPR can no longer claim without its fingers crossed behind its back to be a fair and balanced media outlet. Their fund raising this year will I imagine included a reduction in conservative funding.

Posted by: geezer64 | October 24, 2010 6:55 PM

I did not realize that Daniel Schorr had resurrected to spout his liberal bile again. Mr. Schorr prior to July of this year always struck me as most balanced.

Posted by: mendonsa | October 24, 2010 6:27 PM

"NPR MAKES ME NERVOUS AND SO DOES GEORGE SOROS WHO WORKED FOR THE NAZIS IN BUDAPEST IN 1944."

Um, you do know Soros was 13 at the time. And anyone that didn't cooperate with the Nazis during occupation was usually shot.

It's not exactly like he was a willing adult collaborator.

Posted by: TheHillman | October 24, 2010 6:21 PM

"I don't think that the issue is that firing him is not legal because his job is constitutionally-protected. The issue is that his right to speak his opinion *IS* constitutionally protected. So to fire him FOR speaking his opinion -just as you are speaking yours now- is a violation of his civil rights. "


Actually, no. NPR, like all major networks, has language in every contract that basically says you can't embarrass them with unprofessional public conduct.

Generally speaking the 'unprofessional' part is very vague, and can be called at will.

Like it or not Williams embarrassed them, with an incendiary statement.

They had every right to fire him.

I'm not saying his statement didn't ring true for many, but the primary problem was he made the comment about ALL Muslims, and as such it was inartful and embarrassing.

Plus, frankly, it was stunningly stupid.

Posted by: TheHillman | October 24, 2010 6:14 PM

Let's be blunt. This is a particularly stupid column because it misstates the question. Of course, NPR has a right to fire Williams if he does not conform to its line.

But isn't NPR supposed to be about free speech and "diversity"? Doesn't its public funding, which comes from all of us who pay taxes, assume a wide range of opinion? The liberal hypocrisy on this score is mind-boggling.

The odd part is that in his Fox appearances Williams almost always assumes the role of liberal-oriented dissenter.

No tears for Don Juan, who is coming out of this with probably a nice net profit. But why does a network with such strict standards of orthodoxy deserve public support?

And how do we explain the fact that the alleged right-wing crazies at Fox seem to be more "fair and balanced"?

Posted by: hambya | October 24, 2010 5:44 PM

i think it's funny that juan williams is afraid of muslims in muslim dress, given the 911 bombers were wearing western suits.

BUt then Juan has never been that bright

Posted by: newagent99 | October 24, 2010 5:39 PM

At the risk of repetition, why are you silent on why NPR doesn't also FIRE Nina Totenberg, Daniel Schorr and other liberal opinionators? How can you possibly explain it? Apparently you can't - that's why you've chosen to ignore the hypocrisy and focus on an non-issue.

Posted by: dickensonjaz | October 24, 2010 5:37 PM

I guess NPR didn't notice the Muslims groups around the world who were celebrating the terrorists acts, firing their guns in the air and cheering?
Irrational fears? Only to an irrational brain dead PC liberal...

NPR doesn't like fair and balanced.
They like left and more left...

Yes, 1.8 million from the radical leftist and American hater George Soros. No surprise there.

Posted by: dforce | October 24, 2010 4:57 PM

Well "mckenna7" in my lowly "liberal" opinion, your comments are outrageous. There are by far more hateful comments made by the "conservative right" on this matter than comments made by "liberals". I think that I have conservative points of view on certain matters.

That we differ on somethings is why we are called different things. It doesn't make either of us a negative.

Some conservatives believe less government in our lives is the way to go. Some liberals believe the same thing. It is that the issues that we want government involved in that make our opinions polarized. For example, some liberals want abortion legal and some conservatives do not. Some conservatives want gun ownership to be a right of passage. Some liberals would not argue that point.

Let's not label everyone as one way or the other. There may be a lot we can agree on as well as disagree on. That's why we want the Congress to work together and not believe it's my way or the highway.

I could say that Fox is the opposite of MSNBC. There isn't anything wrong is knowing how different groups think and realize that there may be a bias in the reporting. I could say some very negative things about the reporting on Fox news. I could say that the conservatives love it because they are so full of hate they eat it up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.If they could make slavery legal again they would in a heart beat. Just because they think they are better than any others. But I won't because it is just the kind of stuff that fuels the fire of hate and nothing is accomplished.

The fact that people disagree about where the Mosque should or should not be built is just that ... a disagreement. We have had many in our history.

Bottom line is that NPR had given fair warning to its employee about his on the air statements and the employee chose to ignore the employer's warnings. And it is only fair that Juan Williams is now working for a station that will allow him to give his "liberal" views on their very "conservative" news station. Let's see how that plays out or is Juan Williams just making a job change and using this kind of publicity to get Fox to make an offer. Hmmmm.

Posted by: Buffalo23 | October 24, 2010 4:54 PM

Hey NPR, why do the airlines do naked body scans after 9/11? They must be a little nervous too and in your book, anti-Muslim.
NPR, just another source of leftist PC crap...

Posted by: dforce | October 24, 2010 4:53 PM

Juan Williams said exactly what I would have said under the same circumstances. Now I know what would have happened to me if I had said the same thing which is exactly the way that I truly feel about being terrified to be on an airplane and see someone who even has the racial caracteristics of an arab. It seems to me to be wise to know how to react when you sense possible danger. Isn't that what we tell our children to do about predators?
Here is another thought:
"Democracy is not the rule of the majority, but the protection of the minority." Albert Camus

Posted by: allset707 | October 24, 2010 4:48 PM

Even the liberal Democrat Juan Williams is not liberal enough for the radical leftist American hater, George Soros who recently donated 1.8 Million to the leftist NPR.
NPR, the source for leftist propaganda.
NO news outlet needs any tax payer financing, pull the plug on all of it...

CF

Posted by: dforce | October 24, 2010 4:36 PM

if colmes, who worked with hannity had been treated the same way...
you libs would be screaming...
npr should not be supported by the goverment in any way or form...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 24, 2010 4:19 PM

BURFORDHOLLY - Are you seriou? You are the most complete idiot that write here. Juan has his contract with Fox (1997) before he get his contract with NPR (2000), so they(NPR) know before sign the contract that he talk on Fox and they keep him in their payroll for 10 years, the facts talk for itself. Document yourself.

Posted by: josetuero | October 24, 2010 4:18 PM

Jena McGregor has posed a "false" question. While I agree that Freedom-of-Speech does not protect your job, she clearly misses what this is about. This a about censorship.

The "left" claims to be about freedom, especially free speech. However, over the years I have witnessed event after event where a person who fails to espouse politically correct ideals is shouted down and prevented from speaking. Not only that but they are then subjected to humiliating character assassination.

I can only surmise that Ms. McGregor, by purposely ignoring the "left's" continued attacks on free speech, is attempting to whitewash NPR's abominable decision.

Posted by: SteveR1 | October 24, 2010 4:17 PM

Clearly this all hypocrite. They not want Juan Williams because it talk on Fox News, that it the main reason, and also clarify that his ideas and opinions are liberals but it talk on Fox and all this people want to destroy Fox and after that they not have any network in the right just in the extreme left and the left. America wake up this is the beginning when the time past you realized that you can comment anything negative to any on the left, just against people on the right.

Posted by: josetuero | October 24, 2010 4:13 PM

Williams was blatantly perpetuating fear and hate against a specific group - Muslims. The fact that this is encouraged and carried out by any self-proclaimed "news outlet" is the real issue. And that a segment of the populace embraces and defends hate and fear speech as ok is even more problematic.

Constitutional Freedom of Speech has nothing to do with NPR's actions. Palin shows her ignorance, again, by invoking it incorrectly.

And anyone who thinks corporations aren't benefitting from our taxes more than NPR is either naive, or too biased against NPR to care about reality.

Posted by: www-tryveg-com | October 24, 2010 4:10 PM

I'm okay with firing Williams - it has 4 beneficial effects:

(1) it will be good for Williams, in the long run

(2) it highlights how odd it is that taxpayers fund a blatantly partisan network

(3) it is a great fundraiser for that blatantly partisan network.

(4) it brings us this much closer to political correctness coming to a head. May it pop soon.

Posted by: skir | October 24, 2010 3:53 PM

Yes Jena, you learned well. While being fired as an act of ideological censorship is against all principles of journalism and freedom, it is NOT against the law.

The law and Jena win. Freedom loses.

Carry on.

Posted by: jimhill1 | October 24, 2010 3:47 PM

The Washington Post is sacrificing its reputation for credibility with this article.

NPR is clearly putting out a sham reason for firing Juan. It has plenty of employees (all of who are similarly situated and caucasion) who fail the test they are now claiming to have for employee retention.

Furthermore, where did they get this president? NPR's board and lawyers must be having coniptions.

Posted by: comparativedataqueen | October 24, 2010 3:30 PM

Whether some people like it or not, Williams spoke the truth. Many of us will never forget the events of 9/11 and many smaller events that have followed. These demonstrated a willingness of Muslim extremists (but obviously not all Muslims) to fight a war on American soil. Blowing up passenger aircraft is a favorite method of putting fear into the hearts of Americans. So who in a moment of candid admission would not admit to a sense of fear and caution when we see people dressed in Muslim garb at an airport? Is that bigotry or just common sense?
Now should a company whose culture and charter demands neutrality on all issues (it would be comforting if NPR were to always follow their mandate) be allowed to terminate people who in management's opinion disregards the corporate mandate? I suggest that it is OK for the company to fire the person, but that appropriate compensation be paid to the individual for disregarding rights guaranteed by the Constitution

Posted by: bobinthewest | October 24, 2010 3:09 PM

I saw Williams' comments, and he expressed no hate, merely anxiety when boarding a plane with muslims in "muslim garb". The hysteria which followed this comment, then his firing by malicious Ellen Weiss demonstrated more bigotry than anything he did. Two things need to happen. Public funding for this incestuous cocoon-like NPR needs to end. Investigation about NPR's Nina Totenberg (sp)comments wishing the disease of AIDS on Jessie Helms'grandchildren needs to be examined.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | October 24, 2010 2:24 PM

Juan got what he was asking for, fired so he could go to that bigotted channel called Fox News, and spew his non-sense there, and get a pay raise to boot.

Posted by: dgnunruh | October 24, 2010 2:20 PM

I never understood why Juan wasn't fired the first time he took moeny from Fox.

How would your boss react if you told everyone you had a second job over at the COMPETITOR'S business?

Why wouldn't Juan have quit on his own years ago?

Posted by: BurfordHolly | October 24, 2010 2:18 PM

patmatthews says: " To express the opinion of your employer without their permission and review of what you are going to say, is normal due process for the corporate workforce."

Sorry but Juan Williams never said that he was expressing the opinion of his employer (and one could ask, which employer?)

And is NPR nothing more than a "corporation"? Don't they call themselves NATIONAL PUBLIC radio?

Most of us can see that for liberals it is OK to express liberal opinions which disagree with your employer, but it is not OK to express a non-liberal one. And that IS a double standard.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 1:46 PM

If liberals are so smart, why did they not anticipate that Rauf's mosque so close to Ground Zero would cause anti-Muslim prejudice to INCREASE? They confined themselves to preaching to the majority rather than speaking quietly to Rauf, "Look, why don't you build it in another spot?"

Indeed, two Democrats, Patterson and Reid, who did show some commonsense, and suggested building the mosque elsewhere, were attacked by liberals for "caving in to prejudice."

To be fair, Obama did have the sense to say that he was not judging on the wisdom of the mosque. But he lacked the courage to say, "Actually it is unwise and I personally, not as president, but as an American, oppose it."

Just like Obama, I too went to Harvard, but I do not remember being taught that commonsense was irrelevant.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 1:41 PM

You should only say what your boss wants you to say. Keep discourse vanilla and phony if you want to stay employed as a corporate commentator.

Free speech is only protected when speaking privately. Speaking the truth often requires anonymity to avoid retribution from those who profit from sustaining fraudulent discourse.

Posted by: thoughts | October 24, 2010 1:35 PM

First Amendment Rights has nothing to do with Juan Williams firing. If Juan Williams did not work for NPR no one would care about his opinion. To express the opinion of your employer without their permission and review of what you are going to say, is normal due process for the corporate workforce. To expect otherwise would be silly. Ask Coke, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Heniz Foods, etc their policy of political and personal speech regarding their employees ability to speak out while being identified as one of their employees.

Just like the previous GOP upset about a non-GOP controlled entity, the GOP wants the entity unfunded and defiled and their reputation ruined. It is called the GOP agenda.

Posted by: patmatthews | October 24, 2010 12:51 PM

Juan should be the last one to talk. Claiming he is afraid of Muslim. Wow, look at the prisons in the US, it is full of BLACKS like him. He is trying to act WHITE, he is nothing but a peice of garbage

Posted by: simonbm | October 24, 2010 8:05 AM
----

Ah! The famed liberal "tolerance". you m ust believe everything I believe or you are worthles! You sound like quite the racist yourself. He's garbage for not sharing your racist views? LOOK AT THE INSANE LIBERAL!

Posted by: scoran | October 24, 2010 12:42 PM

The Miranda Warning issued by the Political Left: "Anything you say may be held against you."

That's "Thought Police" talk, folks.
The LEFT is HERE to POLICE YOU in YOUR WORK PLACE.

Watch out ESPECIALLY if--like Rick Sanchez at CNN-- an Hispanic, non-conforming political male-- or like Juan Williams on NPR--a Black, non-conforming poltical male---you challenge the Left's "Political Miranda" Warning by standing up to their national media "Thought Police."

BTW-- Who's going to be the non-conforming white media female the Left will bash and fire in the next week before Nov. 2?

Posted by: tonopaw1 | October 24, 2010 12:19 PM

Another point I don't think I've heard from anyone. Juan's comment was his "fear" about Muslim's when flying. In all honesty shouldn't we all be? What has the whole TSA been established for? It certainly wasn't for trying to catch little old grey-haired grandmothers, or African-American journalists, or little infants, or people of any stripe that wear tennis shoes,etc.,
The ONLY purpose of the airport security since 9/11 is because MUSLIMS are trying to blow our _sses up. If the Libby/Dimmies were true to their "values" and I use that term very tongue in cheek, they would be rioting to have the entire TSA and all security disbanded, because come-on we have nothing to worry about with Muslims and why on earth are they being so unfairly "profiled" by instituing such systems.

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | October 24, 2010 12:15 PM

Until NPR corrects the correct employee, their phones will not ring as much. It is time Americans call a spade a spade instead of being afraid of their own shadow.

Posted by: usapdx | October 24, 2010 12:09 PM

These are the same people that want to impose the "Fairness Doctrine" on the news media and especially talk radio. They can't stand anyone who disagrees with them. All dissent must be silenced. They know best for us. They will be kind to us as long as we accept their power and don't ask too many questions. Freedom is slavery. All people are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Posted by: get_it_right | October 24, 2010 12:09 PM

I am an American and nothing else, so why can't they be Americans and nothing else? We all know the answer to that one, it is called Government control through welfare. The sad part of this all is that the non-working class is starting to out number the workiong class so the Country is headed for Bankruptcy.
Posted by: viejo70
---------------------------
veijo70 sounds like an angry white man. Now I am neither white nor angry but I do understand how he feels.

I think liberals do not understand that Americans are by and large good hearted and generous people. Americans don't really have trouble with accepting minorities. People do have rights in America whether they are black or Muslim or gay or whatever.

But liberals are constantly raising the bar on what you must do if you don't want them to call you a bigot. So if you believe that gays have an equal right to housing and jobs but are uneasy about gay marriage then you are a bigot. If you feel that Muslims have a right to worship, but not a mosque right near Ground Zero, then again you are a bigot.

If you like Latinos, but object to illegal immigration, again you are a bigot.

People get fed up with this, and the liberal campaign is actually CAUSING trouble between the majority and minority communities.

There is much more hostility to Muslims now than there was before Imam Rauf proposed his mosque - with Bloomberg's unwise endorsement and liberals lining up on his side.

Liberals do not understand the notion of "good enough". They want all of us to live in a sterilized world like a hospital ward.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 12:02 PM

You left-wing dingbats are such hypocrites!!! During the Bush years you were always whining about your "Right to free speech" whenever anyone so much as criticized you. Now that you have political power, you have decided that it's OK to fire people who disagree with you, even just a little bit. Does NPR have the right to fire Juan Williams? Of course they do. Does NPR have the right to my tax money, hell no they don't.

Posted by: get_it_right | October 24, 2010 12:02 PM

Pure Libby/Dimmy doublestandard. Williams is "Fox Frindly", that and that alone was his "fireable offense". Look at the lunatic comments from Nina, Cokie, etc. that made Williams' comments look lame and tame at best. Nina wishing some totally innocent grandchild no less, Aids is beyond dispecable. NPR's stance: We second that (e)motion!!! As a taxpayer, I don't want one dime going to this left-wing nut-job outfit. Defund it now, let Soros pick-up the tab or let it go the way of that other great journalistic success story: Air America. Isn't it funny how ALL the Libby/Dimmy media sources can't stand up under the weight of free-market forces. For all their ranting and raving of Rush/Fox etc., why aren't these lefty loon medias overwhelming successes? As was evidenced by the NYTimes attempts to get viewers to pay for internet access to their superstar nut-jobs: Dowd,Rich,Krugman etc., when libby/dimmies have to open their own wallets to support their "own" it's no dice. My message to NPR: NO DONATIONS FOR YOU! NEXT!!!!

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | October 24, 2010 11:59 AM

First there isn't any such thing a neutral news media. The news media play to the public right along with the politicians. The targets of the media are: Christians, Republicans, Right Wing, Gun Owners and so on. Why is this media and our so called Government so afraid of the Muslim?? We all know that Obama was raised and is a Muslim; however, the news and and the media try to hide it. He told Turkey that we are not a Christian Nation and then went on to praise the Muslims, he canceled the day of prayer; however, he held the Muslim day of prayer. So if I don't like or want to associate with Muslims this is my right and I don't have to answer to anybody, and that goes both ways. What I don't like is that all of the so called minorities have specail rights that isn't extended to the majority. How many White Colleges do we have? How many White clubs do we have? How many White Chamber of Cpmmerences do we have? How many White Caucauses do we have? We will never be what we claim to be until there aren't any more special interest groups in this Country. I am an American and nothing else, so why can't they be Americans and nothing else? We all know the answer to that one, it is called Government control through welfare. The sad part of this all is that the non-working class is starting to out number the workiong class so the Country is headed for Bankruptcy.

Posted by: viejo70 | October 24, 2010 11:49 AM

I think liberals do not understand that they are not always right. They were wrong about the mosque at Ground Zero and they are wrong about the Juan Williams case. And they are very wrong about illegal immigration.

Now I personally like Muslims and have travelled by Qatar Airlines and Kuwait Air. I do not feel afraid at all. Their service is excellent. Of course I also travel by Delta or KLM or American Airlines. The service is OK but not as good.

So Juan Williams' fear is unrealistic. But having an unrealistic fear does not mean you should lose your job. He needs to talk to some nice Muslims - of which there are plenty.

But liberals do have to stop being so snotty and arrogant. They think they know the best way in everything, and they would like to be everyone's teachers in the "right, liberal" way.

They do not understand that they are trying to create a cultural imperialism where everyone must eventually become liberal.

In their ideal world, one third of Afghan pregnancies would be aborted, 10% of Afghans would be gay or lesbian and Afghan women would refuse to sleep with or cook for their husbands. When Afhganistan passed a law that a wife should have sex with her husband every fourth day (unless she was sick) Obama called it "marital rape." But why marry a guy if you do not want to have sex with him?

Similarly in the ideal liberal world, no one would go to Church, or would at least be embarrassed if they did. And again, it is an absolute no no for a woman to cook! She must be a CEO, have abortions, and never cook!

Liberals do not understand that many of us find their world a little dreary.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 11:42 AM

NPR is a bastion of “NPR Think.” This is a close and exclusive world of chummy and particularistic cronies who espouse liberal and progressive views and mutually reinforce each other and corroborate each other’s liberal proclivities. Their smooth and soothing delivery of the “news” has a calming and tranquilizing effect upon their audience who is then relieved of any obligation to think at all. Providing only one side of any issue, albeit, the true and correct side of it, is a suitable mind numbing experience that satisfies their audience and G. Soros too.


If there is any standard discernible at NPR (and it isn’t apparently written in other than vague and manipulative words), it is the standard long set by Nina Totenberg and Daniel Schorr, and everyone know what that standard is. Juan Williams was an annoying liberal, that he ventured onto Fox to give the opposing view was just too much for his colleagues at NPR, none of which have been so adventuresome as to come to his defense. “Chilling” isn’t the word; these people at NPR are “Frozen” into their ideological straitjackets.


This is not at all about what Juan said or had the temerity to think, this is really about a underlying war to discredit and silence FOX News, it being an unnecessary source of intellectual dissonance and dissention from the liberal orthodoxy, and there being no fair and valid grounds for disputing the liberal dogma.


Liberals need NPR to give them the warm comfortable feeling they all need in this uncertain and chaotic world. G. Soros is working hard with NPR to relieve liberal of their anxiety or any alternative opinions. Vivian Schiller being a Russian scholar in the day of the old Soviet Union is well schooled in just what she is about.

Posted by: droberts57 | October 24, 2010 11:23 AM

Juan should be the last one to talk. Claiming he is afraid of Muslim. Wow, look at the prisons in the US, it is full of BLACKS like him. He is trying to act WHITE, he is nothing but a peice of garbage
Posted by: simonbm
------------------------------
Itis not Juan who is complaining - he has a nice cushy job at Fox. It is we, the average Americans who are complaining that we do not actually have a "national" radio, but a liberal radio pretending to be a national radio.

Moreover, when you talk about " look at the prisons in the US, it is full of BLACKS like him" do you mean that the US prisons are full of black TV commentators, or merely full of blacks?

Note that if you made the comment on NPR which you just made here, you too would be fired. Political correctness means that you are not allowed to criticize blacks, muslims, gays or women. But you ARE allowed to criticize Christians, Republicans and white men.

Some of us find this absurd.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 11:16 AM

Ms. McGregor's article clearly reveals her liberal bias which comports well with the Post's own philosophy. Her phrasing that, "...Williams' made a bigoted statement that would impair his ability to be an objective news analyst for NPR, and therefore should be fired" perfectly supports her bias. True, Mr. Williams doesn't have a right to a job; but neither does anyone else. But no one, no human, is "objective," especially news analysts. And news other than economics and science doesn't lend itself to real analysis, rather to assessments and interpretations based on personal values resulting from each individual's unique background and experiences. Journalists like Mr. Williams are clearly valued not for merely organizing and relating facts, but for imparting their own interpretation of those facts, and no one should expect "objective" interpretation. Mr. Williams' contributions to NPR were valued only so long as they supported NPR's own biases, which for anyone whose listened for any length of time is clearly liberal. Ironically, NPR has recently been conducting fundraising activities, and touting its "balanced" news reporting. What a joke.

Posted by: MadJack1 | October 24, 2010 11:05 AM

Folks

While I would disagree with you about how far left NPR tilts, regardless of it's direction, bigotry is bigotry. None of the "lefties" at NPR are bigots. They generally don't mane stupid off the cuff comments as Juan did.

You may not agree with other commentators comments, and you may not agree with the tone of the news at NPR, but there's a big difference between disagreeing and being a bigot.

Posted by: jltnol | October 24, 2010 10:50 AM

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT PEOPLE "According to the 2009 financial statement, about 40% of NPR revenues come from the fees it charges member stations to receive programming. Typically, NPR member stations raise funds through on-air pledge drives, corporate underwriting, and grants from state governments, universities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from local funding and 10% of their revenue from the federal funding in the form of CPB grants.[14][15] NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government.[16] About 1.5% of NPR's revenues come from Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants."
Posted by: kimL1
---------------------------
So why don't we suggest that NPR change its name to NLR - national liberal radio, and rely entirely on non-public funds? From what you suggest they do not really need the public funds and a lot of the public feels that NPR does not represent them.

I think it would be useful to have a radio station which one can rely on to be more neutral (by which I do not mean Republican, just neutral). And it seems that NPR is not that station.

Liberals have a certain point of view and I do not say that it is not legitimate. But NPR should not exclusively project the liberal point of view.

I will repeat something which liberals used to be fond of saying - a bird cannot fly with just one wing. The left and the right have to be equal (and friendly) partners in rebuilding America.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 10:47 AM

I got the feeling that much of the problem was O'Reilly.

Juan Williams did express his (understandable) feelings but was then trying to explain them and qualify his remarks by saying that bigotry against Muslims was not justified. But O'Reilly interrupted him so much that this part of the message did not come through as clearly - although it did if you were watching with care.

Was NPR justified in firing him? Not in this kind of a hurry. They should have interviewed Williams first. As it is, NPR has lost out, they will lose many supporters, and Williams has a cushy job at Fox.

Moreover, the presence of Williams at Fox is bound to undermine even more the Democrats' constant refrain that the Republicans are racist.

If Republicans support Thomas (whether they are wrong in this or not) and they hire Williams, and they have Steele as chair, the Democratic charges of racism against Republicans seem ludicrous to most of us independents.

Obama is hinting that Lincoln would have been a Democrat. How does he know? And Democrats who love to quote Jefferson, tend to leave out the fact that he was a states' rights person.

I still think that the Democrats are the better party, but their behavior in recent months has been rather, well, slimy. They clearly do not want this election to be a fair one.

Posted by: rjpal | October 24, 2010 10:34 AM

Extremism is defined by rigidity and inflexibility in accepting any words or deeds that vary from the usual narrow and limited agenda of the cause. Both Conservatives and Liberals equally spew these traits oh so cruelly and insensitively. What the educated and invested voters need to decide is what is representation, and what is just resentment by these alleged leaders in Congress, Republican or Democrat.

For me, incumbents in office for more than 12 years will not have me as a supporter for now. Maybe that makes me guilty of being rigid and inflexible, but, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

It seems as a system to work its best, and best is a generalization here, believe me, we have a balanced representation in the branches of government. Not that I enjoyed the last 5 years of the 1990's, but it sure beat the last 10 years!

And, is there a metaphor in what 9/11 brought on by the event? Extremists just brought out the equal extremism of this country? Maybe bin Laden, while a true scum bag and evil person by advocating for reckless slaughter he abhored by what he alleges this country has done to his people, figured out how to push the right buttons. And Williams' comments are being taken truly out of context by many commenters here. He does not want to villify a group just due to their extemist minority, but, in a PTSD type context, one would be reactive to situations that resemble the original trauma.

The silver lining to this incident is this, for me: people will reveal their true colors when pushed, it is a question of what the onlookers see and hear that decides if the colors are to be validated, or rejected.

Hey, Ms Schiller, discuss that with your psychiatrist or publicist next time you see them. A bit of a Freudian slip on your part!?

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | October 24, 2010 10:18 AM

Just to put Williams request in perspective I have watched the entire video. He still comes out as a bigot who is also a lost soul. He has betrayed the cause against which Blacks have been fighting in this country. I have an advise for him. Do not go in Black neighborhoods after dark ( SE ) in D.C., if he wants to come back alive

Posted by: acpress | October 24, 2010 10:04 AM

Legally fire? Doubtful, when one considers the leftward pinnings of other broadcasters at NPR. But because Juan went right (and the perceived darkside by his employers)he is therefore held to a different standard...hmmm sounds like he has a pretty good case to me...oh the hypocracy!!!

Posted by: jessica22 | October 24, 2010 10:00 AM

Typical WaPo extremist left view point. Telling us that the issue breaks down only to whether or not Juan's 1st amendment rights were violated and that major corporations do this all the time.

Of course that's far from the truth, and as always the far left WaPo leaves out the most important elements including the fact that taxpayers are paying for NPR's extreme left wing viewpoint to be spouted freely on behalf of all, when probably better than 70 percent of taxpayers do not agree with NPR’s far left views.

Then there is that little inconvenient truth that George Soros earlier that in the week had committed almost two millions dollars to NPR, obviously to pay the corporation to slant even more left if that's possible. Less than a week after that payoff Juan Williams is fired for no reason.

It's funny that other NPR analysts who have far left views and share them openly don't seem to be held to the same standard as Juan.

And finally there's the Fox News angle where NPR clearly wants to silence open and honest debate, sending a chilling message to its staff warning them to not deal with or talk to the most honest news organization in the country, Fox News.

On the plus side, Americans are on to the game the far left is playing, and we're not going to let the far left influence or affect our decisions or actions. Real change is coming to this country starting in November. That is in spite of the dishonest actions of the lame stream media, which everyone knows is nothing more than the communication arm of the progressive socialists who have infested our government, learning institutions and media outlets.

Posted by: SayWhat5 | October 24, 2010 9:51 AM

We are so gun shy, after the experience of the civil right movement, we are afraid to say almost anything, about anyone. We are, right or wrong, fighting and killing Muslims everyday. When I board a plane, I too am observant. When a whole bunch of Muslims gather at a Mosque, I give pause to the fact, one or two, may be extremist waiting, for their handler, to give them there orders to kill us.

Posted by: dangreen3 | October 24, 2010 9:50 AM

We have been NPR listeners for many years but no more.
Their brand of selective poitical correctness is just too hypocritical.
And in response to the column,most companies WOULD NOT fire an employee for expressing an opinion such as the one MR. Williams express (on his own time no less).
Continuing to apologise for Muslims is only polarising this issue. If there is nothing to apologise for, why is anyone taking offense? This phony "taking offense" and desperately trying to accomodate the latest demands of African Americans as to what they want to be called is another instance of politcal correctness that has worn real thin. If the muslims as a group did not participate in terrorist acts or do not condone them, why do they think they are owed an apology?

Posted by: rudy6 | October 24, 2010 9:40 AM

Does NPR have the right to fire Mr. Williams? Yes. It also has the right to take the consequences for it's obviously left slanted ways.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 24, 2010 9:36 AM

I am going to ask people one more time to actually watch the ENTIRE segment before they condemn Juan Williams as a "bigot".

Williams was speaking about his OWN emotional reaction to a superficial visual cue. He at NO POINT and IN NO WAY said that those feelings were rational, good or that they should be emulated. In fact, Williams later in the VERY SAME SEGMENT illustrated WHY those feelings are irrational and CANNOT be used as a basis for rational decision-making when he demonstrated the irrationality of applying the same standard to Christians and Christian terrorists:

"Hold on, because if you said Timothy McVeigh, the Atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality at military funerals—very obnoxious—you don’t say first and foremost, “We got a problem with Christians.” That’s crazy…."

(http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2010/10/nprs-bad-divorce.html)

EVERYTHING is about context. People who are waxing eloquent about "journalist integrity" should AT LEAST take the time to watch the ENTIRE THING and hear Williams in context before they condemn a good man.

People cannot always control their visceral emotional reaction things and these reactions are OFTEN irrational. People SHOULD NOT be nervous around Muslims on airplanes: if nothing else, no terrorist is EVER going to where "traditional Muslim garb" if they're trying to sneak weapons onto an airplane. Mr. Williams NEVER SAID that his feelings were rational or right; again, he even demonstrated IN THE SAME SEGMENT WHY those feelings ARE irrational. We can't always control the emotions but we CAN recognize them as irrational and banish them from our reasoning and logical processess BEFORE they can cloud our judgement.

Juan Williams is one of the few people with the COURAGE to engage in this sort of metacognitive exploration and self-criticism. He deserved to be imitated and lauded for his willingness and ability to recognize emotional errors in his OWN thinking and to compensate for them, not pilloried as a "bigot" and "insane" because of it!

Juan Williams is one of the most polite, most civil and most gentlemanly people in national politics. He is open-minded, even-handed and often has a view-point somewhat unique from the tired talking-points and ossifed ideologies of EITHER the right OR left. Regardless of what one thinks of his politics, his BEHAVIOR is something I wish ALL public figures would try a little harder to emulate.

NPR SHOULD be ashamed of themselves. WE should be ashamed of THEM.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | October 24, 2010 9:25 AM

Juan should be the last one to talk. Claiming he is afraid of Muslim. Wow, look at the prisons in the US, it is full of BLACKS like him. He is trying to act WHITE, he is nothing but a peice of garbage

Posted by: simonbm

=======================

Oxymorons:

A Fine Mess
A little big
A new classic
A black Muslim

Why is a black Muslim an oxymoron?

The Arabic word for black and slave is the same, ''Abed.

Posted by: johnnyboston | October 24, 2010 9:22 AM

Ironically, this is probably going to result in NPR asking for MORE public money. They're going to need it.

Anyone who actually thinks that what NPR did was right almost certainly gives money to NPR. A lot of people who are disgusted with NPR did also give NPR money.

Or they did until now. I personally know three people, including myself, who've called PBS and told them that they'd not be donating anymore money BECAUSE of the smear campaign against Mr. Williams.

This is going to cost them A LOT of money and they'll show up on Capitol Hill with a hat in their hand.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | October 24, 2010 9:09 AM

I'd wager heavily that if Mr. Williams commented upon seeing a Catholic Priest on a plane that he feared for all the teen-age boys on the flight, that it would have gone un-noticed.

Posted by: markinva1 | October 24, 2010 9:08 AM

NPR should lose all public funding !!!!!!

Posted by: cmt138 | October 24, 2010 8:57 AM

NPR was right to fire Juan Williams.

http://new-possibilities.blogspot.com/2010/10/npr-was-right-to-fire-juan-williams.html

Posted by: ansonasaka1 | October 24, 2010 8:56 AM

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT PEOPLE "According to the 2009 financial statement, about 40% of NPR revenues come from the fees it charges member stations to receive programming. Typically, NPR member stations raise funds through on-air pledge drives, corporate underwriting, and grants from state governments, universities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from local funding and 10% of their revenue from the federal funding in the form of CPB grants.[14][15] NPR receives no direct funding from the federal government.[16] About 1.5% of NPR's revenues come from Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants."

Posted by: kimL1 | October 24, 2010 8:43 AM

Hopefully Juan Williams will read the comments here so he can finally see what the left is all about. Hate.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | October 24, 2010 8:31 AM

It's painfully apparent this little piece of elephant excrement set this up all along. Publicly denegrate your employer and then start knocking on the door of their "competitor" to extort an exponentially larger salary. Although I flatter Faux News with that description since they are little more than a pathetic collection of terminally greedy, ehtically bankrupt, intellectually arthritic liars. And THAT'S being charitable. If I pulled what he pulled I be sacked in ten seconds, bounced out the door by Security and threatened with a lawsuit if I ever opened my mouth again. He'll do well with Faux (at least for as long as they can use him) since they're both about the money and neither one gives a crap about the United States of America.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | October 24, 2010 8:06 AM

Juan should be the last one to talk. Claiming he is afraid of Muslim. Wow, look at the prisons in the US, it is full of BLACKS like him. He is trying to act WHITE, he is nothing but a peice of garbage

Posted by: simonbm | October 24, 2010 8:05 AM

"But I do listen to NPR to get the "liberal perspective" on issues and sometimes I even agree."

===========

Proof positive that "NPR" and "neutrality" are mutually exclusive terms.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | October 24, 2010 8:04 AM

I scanned the current comments and see that quite a few of us are taking the opportunity presented by the Juan Williams removal to focus on the real dishonesty perpetrated by NPR and its progressive liberal supporters-
NPR does not deserve to have that title they are no more a National PUBLIC station-implying an OBJECTIVITY they no longer have than any of the FOX brethren- yes I was an earlier supporter but somewhere around the Clinton years NPR lost its way and did so forever and without recourse - they should be honest turn in the PUBLIC word return the public funds(I know the arguments about them not receiving much if any direct public funds but get real and you know what the argument is about ) and startusing their real name NATIONAL LIBERAL RADIO

Posted by: 27anon72 | October 24, 2010 8:04 AM

Jennifer555, I fear, is herself guilty of the "ignorance of the law" charge she levels against Jena McGregor. Ms. McGregor is absolutely correct in concluding that no First Amendment freedom of speech issues are involved in the firing of Juan Williams. The first amendment is very explicit. It stipulates restrictions on the U.S. Congress. It does not positively grant individual Americans squat. (State legislatures, of course, are also liable to the same restrictions, by virtue of a Supreme Court ruling). As long as a law is not involved, first amendment rights do not apply.

Employers cannot fire someone for expressing their political views in routine office conversations, but they can and have fired people for using the work space to aggressively proselytize on behalf of their political or religious beliefs.

Specific contractual obligations are an entirely different matter. Since I do not know what Mr. Williams' contract specifies, I cannot comment on that. But those provisions have nothing to do with first amendment rights.

NPR is guilty of appallingly bad judgment for firing Williams because he expressed his honest feelings, not of violating his Constitutional rights.

Posted by: tbarksdl | October 24, 2010 7:51 AM

What's with the straw man argument that his rights were violated? I didn't hear that, even from him. Of course this isn't about free speech.

It is all about making sure that you toe whatever line is necessary and avoid controversy that makes life difficult for your boss. It exists everywhere in our society but is more prevalent in areas where people don't actually make anything except trouble, i.e. the government and news media.

Posted by: magellan1 | October 24, 2010 7:38 AM

This is so incredibly disingenuous. No one would have a big problem with Juan William's being fired by NPR EXCEPT that National PUBLIC Radio recieves ALOT of tax-payer money and a lot of tax-payers, myself included, don't want to subsidize a SMEAR CAMPAIGN against a good man like Juan Williams.

People aren't nearly as stupid as you think we are. We know the difference between legal and illegal, we know the difference between public and private. I know you don't believe that now but maybe you'll believe it on November 3rd.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | October 24, 2010 7:34 AM

By the number of comments this remains a 'hot' subject...and rightly so.

My time in Cuba was instructional on how the far left would impose its 'correctness' of thought and word on everyone else. There, it is the threat of being labeled 'counter-revolutionary' that is so feared. Anyone so slandered suffers great loss. Neighborhood committees ensure they heavy price is paid, to even include loss of government stipends of basic foodstuffs.

This episode exemplifies that both the extremes of left and right pose great danger to individual liberties. The CEO of NPR exposed in a Freudian way her extremism (and petulant pettiness) when she declared Mr. Williams in need of a psychiatrist.

Me thinks such a comment would have been more appropriate with looking glass in her hand. The extreme liberal bias at NPR should be evident to any with ears to hear.

Posted by: johnrbomar | October 24, 2010 6:54 AM

Jennifer555 seems to be the "legally illiterate" one. In most states, employment is "at-will", absent an employment contract or collective bargaining. This means "the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work." There are exceptions by statute (e.g. race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, age, disability), but free speech is not one of them.

Posted by: ibaya | October 24, 2010 6:48 AM

Let's rename this paper and NPR:

National People's Radio

Washington Pravda

Let us hope glorious leader Chairman Obama and Premier Pelosi approve, comrades.

Posted by: RedStater3 | October 24, 2010 6:00 AM

NPR uses public airwaves so it can't claim to be an entirely private enterprise like a print medium.

Posted by: politbureau | October 24, 2010 5:55 AM

These comments are amazing. Yes NPR has the right to fire anybody they wish! Yes, NPR gets some of its funding from the public! (My big complaint is that they spend a great deal of air time to get public support and it is heavy handed.) Yes Juan Williams has 1st Amendment rights! The discussion has now become a tirade either against Fox or Soros/NPR. Personally I only listen to Fox/Special Report and the Sunday newsprogram. Occasionally I like Stossell. But I do listen to NPR to get the "liberal perspective" on issues and sometimes I even agree. What I do not agree with is the influence of folks like Soros on what was supposed to be a "public asset". Perhaps none of this discussion would be happening if NPR would simply admit they no longer are "National Public Radio"!

Posted by: fcrucian | October 24, 2010 5:50 AM

Jena, I can tell by your photo that you're very young. Unfortunately, perhaps because of your age, you are also "legally illiterate".

In most states an employer cannot fire an employee because of his/her political beliefs, whether they are stated at work or outside the workplace.

Your broad brush comments about there being 'No First Amendment Rights in the Workplace' are basically, legally wrong.

Mr. Williams may have waived those rights in his contract with NPR, agreeing to be "fair and balanced" in his commentary, or some such nonsense. However, you don't know what was in his contract, nor do I. As a result, your column above is simply airheaded jibberish.

As a result, I suggest in the future you not pontificate about things you know little about.

Note to Washington Post: Please send your reporters and columnists to at least one basic class on "American Law" so they can brush up on what they should have learned in high school or in their college political science or government classes. Reporters and writers at major newspapers ARE expected to know basic principles of America's state and Federal legal systems. The Post is more and more becoming the "Blathering White Whale" in terms of the obviously poor educational background of its writers and columnists.

Posted by: Jennifer555 | October 24, 2010 5:06 AM

Clearly Juan Williams was spending too much time on Fox as a Fox Regular and it corrupted his brain. He had every right to say what he did. But he isn't willing to recognize that his statement showed had badly he has veered off from where he used to be - if someone had said that about him walking down a dark street he'd be screaming about prejudices and racism against black men in America.

He's not willing to recognize that the change in his political thinking meant that he no longer belonged on NPR and that he'd have no credibility on NPR - he is clearly a Fox person now - and that's not a compliment.

Posted by: kec132 | October 24, 2010 3:59 AM

The problem here is that the NPR etc and Diane Rehm, Diane Rehm, Diane Rehm, etc are agents of the government and are acting like NAZIS.
There ought to be some standard of decency by Diane Rehm and the government sponsored public broadcasting industry. This is not the USSR.
Personally, I always thought Williams was employed by Fox to have a liberal on the show and now NPR is acting like Fox.
And finally since NPR is a government agency just like Fannie and Freddie why in the Obama area have two blacks been punished so severly...Juan and Shirley. Fired without delay. Fired to send a message to Blacks...dont fool with us brother or sister.

Posted by: fd09102 | October 24, 2010 3:00 AM

Amazing. Shirley Sherod gets saint like treatment from the press and libs alike. Williams is taken out of context and even though he is generally left of center, he is continually basted by the majority of the press and libs (or at least not defended). Why? Because he appears on FNC and/or because he does not toe the parry line on every issue. The double standard is pathetic and transparent.

Some brilliant poster even claims the whole issue is a Fox setup. Yes, they scripted Williams to talk about his feelings and discuss how those feelings were inappropriate somehow knowing that his comments would be taken out of context (2nd half omitted). That would cause nor to fire him and the issue to explode. Well, wait, given the journalistic standards and partisan hacks that fuel these issues, maybe they did script it knowing full well what would happen. LOL.

Posted by: sagedutch | October 24, 2010 2:18 AM

As an outside observer I have to make the following comments;

1) The bile and vitriol that is posted on this forum is mainly from the left. Some right wing bloggers do go ott but most of the naked hatred is from the left.
2) The double standard in the USA is incredible. The left wing media rage over inoccuos conservative comments made to prove a point but vehemently support outrageous comments made by their own. My understanding is that this was the norm during the 70s and 80s but is now successfully and overwhelmingly countered by Fox News and Talk radio.

3) The unadulterated hatred of Fox News and its commentators (Palin, Hannity, Beck, O'Reilly )is beyond belief. Fox News is the highest rated cable news service by a long way (more than the rest added together). I feel that the left would be better served by taking the conservative approach to left wing commentators such as Olbermann, Maddow, Behar, Matthews etc. That is to say to look on them fondly as comedic parodies of what real journalism should be.

Posted by: mckenna7 | October 24, 2010 2:18 AM

As the adage goes, things are seldom what they seem. Williams was removed as host of Talk of the Nation on NPR after a brief tenure. His role diminished. He became a 'sideline commentator'. And, somehow, he ended up on Fox.
And who cares; but, as a LONG-time listener/supporter of NPR and public broadcasting, I cannot comprehend how someone can go from that assiduously journalistic, professional NPR environment to the corrosive, partisan, GOP-propaganda culture of Fox. They are mutually exclusive. Fox isn't about journalism, it's about greed. Murdoch. Money. A tool of wealth and power. NPR is about getting the story straight, the facts right, the news and what's behind it. It's an invaluable resource for ordinary folk. Like me.
Adios, Juan.

Posted by: ctenwith | October 24, 2010 1:53 AM

I'm going to drill this home until someone gets it. When you open your mouth, you do not, repeat, do not have to say everything that you are affraid of or have a biased against. It's called courtesy, common sense, propriety, manners. If you can't control yourself it's called touretts syndrome and usually followed by other inappropriate words you cannot control.

If a journalist can't control him or her self why the hell are they allowed to speak on television? Oh...yes I forgot there's a format for that it's call Fox news.

Posted by: spamizham | October 24, 2010 1:44 AM

This is about a federally funded news outlet that has become so politicized by its far left keepers, that it couldn't stomach being represented by a mere moderate liberal on Fox News.

(Ironically, I always thought Juan Williams and Mara Liasson were sent to Fox by NPR as some kind of outreach - to appease conservatives. And I thought it kind of worked. Boy was I wrong!)

And Juan Williams is the farthest thing from a bigot. His quote has been widely chopped up and misrepresented by leftists trying to cover for his political purging by NPR.

They were just looking for an excuse to take him down because he's not a good little George Soros leftist.

NPR is publicly funded and does NOT belong to the loony left.

NPR is in deep trouble.

NPR either remakes its news division completely or looses public funding. Period.

It's "National" Public Radio - not "George Soros Public Radio."

Posted by: Parker1227 | October 24, 2010 1:38 AM

Liberals eating their own.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 24, 2010 12:14 AM

Ironic this occurs a couple weeks before the liberals will get slaughtered in the elections. The insanity of the left couldn't contemplate how things like this make them look like out of touch lunatics. Someone had improper thoughts and had to be elimiated! The in the defense, the NPR CEO hinted that Williams was insane for having improper thoughts. Why should tax payers fund liberal insanity? I can't wait to see the liberal temper tantrums on November 3.

Posted by: scoran | October 24, 2010 12:03 AM

If he had (gasp!) criticized Israel, not even Fox would have hired him.

Williams gets rehired, so should Helen Thomas.

Funny how no one on the right defended Helen Thomas.

------------


Typical liberal antisemite. If you recall, Helen Thomas called for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel back to countries some of their ancestors were immigrants to that have a history of persecuting and murdering Jews. But of course to a liberal antisemite, that's equivalent to saying that muslims make you nervous.

Posted by: scoran | October 23, 2010 11:55 PM

This isn't about the first amendment; it's about a narrow minded news organization receiving money from the USG. Time to defund NPR.

Posted by: malafry | October 23, 2010 11:33 PM

How can you possibly be an objective news analyst if you don't present both sides? Williams said that, on one hand, he can understand how people are nervous when they see Muslims on planes, but on the other, we all should guard against painting all Muslims with a broad stroke. How, on Earth, could he have possibly been more objective than that? And I am a card-carrying Democrat.
Posted by: cedmo | October 22, 2010 11:29 AM
=====================================
Amen, brother! That's the point, the whole point and nothing but the point, so help me God.

Posted by: bobilly2 | October 23, 2010 10:28 PM

This is great..

Juan Williams paid the price of Freedom of speach
much like his reatived did before the Civils Rights era..

Except Civil Rights was about eliminating Bigotry

Juan Williams advocated it and got fired.

GOOD.

Going to increase our funding to NPR.


ISA

Posted by: vettesport | October 23, 2010 10:16 PM

Jenna you have to be ignorant giving that argument or must not watch any TV. You have Nina Totenberg on with Gordon Peterson giving her liberal opinion every week. By firing Williams NPR is admitting that they are way more liberaL THAN jUAN wILLIAMS. bUT YOU KNOW WHAT? npr IS FUNDED BY THE TAXPAYERS MANY OF WHOM DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR BIASED REPORTING. nEXT ON THE LIST IS THE UNIONS WHO SUPPORT THE LIBERALS WITH THE UNION DUES WHEN 40% OF THE DUES PAYING MEMBERSW VOTE rEPUBLICAN.

Posted by: bobilly2 | October 23, 2010 10:02 PM

JADE wrote:

"FOX News is not news, but an acting gig."

I don't think any rational person considers a propaganda channel that donates $2 million to a political party "news". Only today's radical right wingers swallow the garbage that gets spewed on that entertainment network. Self respecting Americans steer clear of it.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 23, 2010 9:07 PM

To be sure, it's never a free speech issue when leftist bigotry is involved. Liberals and leftist, in these forums, regularly post some of the vilest anti-Semitic comments imaginable, call Tea Party members Nazi's, spew poisonous anti-woman bile at Palin or any woman who doesn't toe their line, NAACP types refer to whites in the bigoted terms that we usually associate with the KKK, and it's all perfectly okay. The left is overpopulated with Hypocrites and bigots.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 23, 2010 8:56 PM

It's unfortunate that people can not speak their minds anymore. It's also unfortunate that people pretend that they don't think one way, when in fact they do. There isn't one person in America who doesn't think of the word terrorist or 9/11 when they see a person dressed in traditional Muslim garb. All of the images of Osama Bin Laden and Khalid Sheik Mohamad are permanently ingrained in every American's mind thanks to the media. I am not saying it was wrong of the media to show American's those images because I am very happy it was done, but now to see the media react this way is just absurd. What did you think was going to happen?

Posted by: Jsuf | October 23, 2010 8:43 PM

So I read that a relative of Diane Rehm is on the NPR payroll? Sounds like a racket to me.
I remember in 2008 when Diane Rehm squealed on air when someone said Obama was winning. I guess she was like that other neutral commentator Chris Mathews she felt a tickle up her leg.
Shiller should be fired. Who appointed her anyway President Obama or Diane Rehm?
I have listed to NPR for many years and always thought that it brought a even hand to the news where one could hear honest talk about serious matters...not like Fox or MSNBC. But more and more I think we need to let the Corporation for Public Broadcasting go its own way. The world has changed and the internet has really changed the news sources, reporting and fact checking.
I am writing 1,000 friends on the internet telling them that I am writing all the congressmen in Virginia say defund CPB now/and save $500 million of tax payer (oops borrowed from China) wasted.
I am asking each of those 1,000 to write their congressmen/women and demand defunding. And I am asking each of the 1,000 to write all their friends and ask them to write their congressment asking for defunding for CPB now and forever.
Shiller did not have the common decency to ask Williams to come in and talk before this or after. She was looking to fire someone to show she is a ceo (without caps as illustration.)
Bye bye Shiller hope to never see you again.
(Hope the Washington (or is it the Prince George) Post lets this go. But we will see.

Posted by: fd09102 | October 23, 2010 8:40 PM

The first amendment is not the issue, and NPR has the ability to hire and fire at will. However, you mentioned NPR's neutrality standards. Have you listened to Diane Rehm? If her positions can be regarded as neutral, then please explain how Williams' are not. Yes, I've seen the tape. What did Williams say that was wrong? He was not attacking Muslims or Islam, and his argument was critical of those, such as O"Reilly, who do. Freedom of speech is not the issue, political correctness is. As a regular listener to NPR, I am quite disappointed.

Posted by: lrbwiner | October 23, 2010 8:28 PM

Ms. McGregor:

I have yet to see anyone (except yourself and the usual blogosphere riff-raff) address this in 1st Amendment terms, which are clearly inapplicable here (for the record, I am a working lawyer (UCLA Law), but with no pretentions of being a Constitutional scholar). What is applicable is that NPR seems to be the spiritual heir of Uncle Joe Stalin's Thought Police.

Posted by: El_Kabong | October 23, 2010 8:24 PM

For those right wingers who are so outraged by Williams firing: Were you outraged when Rupurt Murdoch bought FOX and fired all journalists who refused to go right wing? No, you weren't. You thought it understandable. You thought it was freedom. If the government had brought charges of abuse of civil rights, you would have screamed "Socialism!" or "Communism!" But when things don't go your way you go 180 degrees hypocrite, become cynically outraged and demand that the government step in and refuse funding of a station that is the intelligent anti-dote to right wing narrow minded thinking of FOX news.

This is how reasonable people know you for what you are. This is why the Republican party lost the last election by such a large majority.

Posted by: thestoryplease | October 23, 2010 8:06 PM

I guess NPR is only for free speech if it's for liberal causes or anti-american causes.

Posted by: postfan1 | October 23, 2010 8:01 PM

There is a third way to look at this: FOX News is not news, but an acting gig. Juan just signed up for a bigger role with more speaking lines than his previous "cameo" appearances.

NPR should have released Williams a long time ago. Likewise, Williams should have made a decision about his personal brand a long time ago as well.

Before there was the cable channel with all of its mendacity, there was a little Sunday show that at least offered the pretense of being the answer to "Meet the Press." Even at that time, there was a conflict between the kind of "reporting" and "analysis" done on that show and what Mr. Williams was supposed to provide on NPR.

If Mr. Williams was concerned about "journalist integrity" as he claimed after his firing late last week, he would have seen the conflict between NPR and FOX, which routinely (and as a matter of pride) violates every single standard of journalism on a daily basis.

Just like a cast of FOX sitcom characters -- Chris Wallace, Bernard Kalb, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Paula Zahn, Geraldo Rivera, and more -- Fox has a history of hiring once "objective" journalists for the sole purpose of them assuming highly partisan roles on the network.

This will turn out to be one giant publicity stunt for FOX, they will be trumpeting that one more "leftist" has seen the light -- not to mention the "(t)error" of his ways -- and has crossed over to the dark side.

Williams, a gifted wordsmith, knew exactly what he was saying when he used coded language like "Muslim garb" or "present themselves as Muslims first..." Would he say the same about a Catholic monk, friar or nun in full robes or habit?

Those who defend Williams have been had. This was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for NPR. With its broadcasts supported not by government donations but contributions from listeners, Williams was a costly liability. They were right to cut him loose, and frankly should have done it years ago.

So Juan, take your paltry (by FOX standards) $2 million for 3 years and crawl down into that sewer that is FOX. I hope you can keep your head above the wastewater. With one hand holding your nose and the other trying to keep your Rupert bucks dry, you better darn good at treading water... or whatever is that muck you've landed in.

Posted by: jade_7243 | October 23, 2010 7:47 PM

The freedom of speech does not mean a thing if a person is fired for exercising it. If a person is fired, it means that there was no FREEDOM. Your premise of the question is wrong. Juan Willaims was fired because his views did not match those of NPR (may be Soros as well).

Posted by: philly3 | October 23, 2010 7:28 PM

Another example of someone who has drunk the Kool Aid.

All Mr. Williams said was that when he sees someone with Muslim garb on the plane he is on it makes him feel nervous. He talked about his emotional reaction. Surely he owns that. NPR, Fox, nor anyone else owns that. Only Mr. Williams does.

He also followed it up with statements that Muslims shouldn't be discriminated against. From my standpoint, he didn't do ANYTHING wrong.

Some might say you shouldn't judge someone by how they dress. Perhaps you should try and go to a KKK rally and test that theory. Or perhaps the Neo-Nazis, or the Skinheads. How about a biker gang, like the H311's Angels? Could you honestly say that you wouldn't judge them by their appearance? Or how about the Crips or the Bloods? Let's see if you approach those groups and declare that you shouldn't judge them by what they wear.

Something that is very important, with the jihadists and all the groups mentioned above, is that they dress differently to set themselves apart, and have committed terrible acts of violence.

And going back to Mr. Williams' comments, he expressed his emotional response that quite frankly shows that he has a healthy sense of self-preservation.

As for the PC Kooks at NPR, they are out in some la-la land that is away from the real world. Mr. Williams is too much of a gentleman to do it, but I believe that he would be well within his rights to tell NPR the same thing that VP Cheney told the Senator from Vermont.

Posted by: wapocensorsbite | October 23, 2010 7:01 PM


DeFund NPR?

ANd where would those of use not happy about the Jewish owned and operated 'media' in this country go for news?

Tho the board of NPR is in danger of being compromised by the rich 'buyers' of things.

Posted by: whistling | October 23, 2010 6:17 PM

On the one hand, as a middle-aged black man, Williams easy stereotyping of Muslims is nothing less than mind boggling. On the other, the temptation to castigate, at long last, a new societal scapecoat can be construed as almost irresistable.

Posted by: zephyr99 | October 23, 2010 6:14 PM


THe big problem is Williams is stricktly third class.
Always has been, always will be. And NPR is not.

He's perfect Fox News. Not a compliment.

Posted by: whistling | October 23, 2010 6:13 PM

Juan was paid for his liberal(he is by his own admission one) opinions at both networks. He was fired after ten years of work at PBS over the phone by a creep that publically opined in an ad hominen attack that Williams' basically needs a psychiatric. Who's the creep and hypocrit?

The more America sees the essential fascism of the left in this country out front and in their faces like this episode the better. Juan wandered off of the pc addled censored lefty plantation. End of story. They were too stupid this time to just aqueeze him for a public mea culpa performance.

And, to all lefty hypocrits out there if you are on a plane with your kids you're lying as usual if you tell us that burqa covered bodies in spaces like that don't make you anxious. In the context of Muslim terrorism in the last decade it would be stupid NOT to feel anxious.

Posted by: onecent100 | October 23, 2010 6:10 PM

Has anyone noticed that the president of NPR stated that Mr. Williams had previously been warned about making comments on Fox that compromised NPR's ethical standards? And that, therefore, the story might not simply be a First Amendment issue, but rather whether Mr. Williams was willing to follow the rules to remain employed--just like Ms. McGregor, me, and everyone else who works for a living?

Posted by: TruthtoPower4 | October 23, 2010 6:10 PM

It is obvious that most of the people who posted here have not seen the video or read the transcript of the entire conversation. The American tendency to immediately assume the accustomed political side in any discussion is alarming. We are a nation of the uniformed making decisions based on lack of knowledge. Now wonder we have a Congress which votes on laws they have never read.

Posted by: Hairless | October 23, 2010 5:54 PM

Since this is a "focus on leadership blog," I don't see that NPR's decision "tends to chill the public discourse." First of all, it has been 9 years since 9/11. Public personalities, such as Juan Williams, have a responsibility not to promote false fears in the public marketplace. Juan's comments shows that he is a coward, which not only indicates a lack of personal pride, but also shows a tremendous lack of confidence in airport security, law enforcement at all levels of government, and the military that is managing this issue 24/7.

Posted by: dozas | October 23, 2010 5:43 PM

I'm happy enough when ANYTHING takes media clout (and especially money) away from a clown like Juan Williams...but the argument that somehow NPR and other (corporate) entities have a right to fire someone for expressing some opinion that (someone in authority within same) feels is "inappropriate" is both ugly and wrong.

Jena McGregor should immediately make any number of public pronouncements that her employer(s) don't approve of, this for the sake of her very soul.

Posted by: terrybakee1 | October 23, 2010 5:39 PM

Not that he cares, but Juan Williams has a good case for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Any decent lawyer could subpoena the necessary personnel documents of JW and compare them to other NPR employees such as Nina Totenberg.

Any disparate treatment or discrimination would be uncovered.

Posted by: Polemical | October 23, 2010 5:35 PM

Let's face it. If Juan had made that statement on NBC, msnbc or ABC, there would not have been any backlash. This is the result of the ongoing liberal attack on Fox. He was a contributor on Fox before he was hired by NPR. His views are liberal and I don't agree with him on many occasions, but I respect him. Unfortunately, the liberals at NPR have become unnerved by the growing popularity of Fox, something that they did not anticipate when they hired him. It was strictly liberal politics aimed at Fox News and Juan was caught in the crossfire.

Posted by: bethg1841 | October 23, 2010 5:32 PM

I have three words for Mr. Williams: Driving While Black. Now add Flying While Muslim to the lexicon.

And what in the world does he mean by "Muslim garb"? Does a hijab worn with Western clothes make him more or less nervous than a burka?

As for the First Amendment, the government has passed no law impinging on JW's freedom of expression. However, JW cannot exercise that freedom in just any way and expect to keep a job for which the use of critical judgment is a key qualification.

Granted, JW is not the only offender at NPR. While they're at it, I wish management would turn its attention to Nina Totenberg and Cokie Roberts, both of whom opinionate and insinuate in a manner worthy of the New York Times.

Sigh.

Posted by: megh1 | October 23, 2010 5:29 PM

Jena,

You are maiking a 'False' argument. Nobody is invoking the First Amendment as the main defense for Mr. Williams (save for no-nothing Sarah Palin).

JW is not even invoking the First Amendment defense, either. It's about political correctness. Also, NPR had an underlying plan or need to rid themselves of JW because of his Fox affiliation.

NPR's hasty firing indeed has a chilling effect on many other media figures. Sadly, Mr. Williams was a scapegoat. NPR should NOT have extended JW's contract if they did not like his journalistic approach.
Likewise, CAIR - Center for American-Islamic Relations is a group that doesn't represent mainstream Muslims in America. Furthermore, CAIR condones poor/unequal treatment of women and is anti-gay. Surely, the two aforementioned positions run contrary to NPR's Code of Ethics and Fairness.

Posted by: Polemical | October 23, 2010 5:22 PM

Like Jew-on and his islamic fears, I always cross the street when I see a black man coming, especially if he seems vaguely Hispanic and resembles Clarence Thomas without the glasses

Posted by: lambcannon | October 23, 2010 4:54 PM

If he had (gasp!) criticized Israel, not even Fox would have hired him.

Williams gets rehired, so should Helen Thomas.

Funny how no one on the right defended Helen Thomas.

Posted by: Garak | October 23, 2010 4:49 PM

I would like to express my right to free speech by declaring just how asinine this analysis is of the Juan Williams situation. No one is guaranteed a job (unless you are tied to a union or the federal government) but to fire a dude for expressing his thoughts is a little overboard. NPR sucks anyway.

Posted by: jaredware | October 23, 2010 4:40 PM

I know *I* get nervous - and I'm sure everyone around the world would agree with me if they weren't trying to be politically correct and polite - when I see Americans walking into a voting booth. It seems like just about every time they do, a large number of people somewhere else in the world lose their lives as a result. A million people in Iraq, 2-3 million in southeast asia in the late 60s and 70s, tens of thousands in Central America in the 80s, and others in areas around the globe in smaller and less reported incidents.

I mean, I'm not a bigot or anything, but when I see Americans headed to a voting place, I get this... "instinctual reaction". It's not that ALL Americans are cold-blooded murderers, but... well, history does kind of speak for itself, doesn't it.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 23, 2010 4:27 PM

Juan Williams reminds me of a child that keeps picking at people. Then when he gets his "behind kicked", he runs and says they are picking on him. As an African American, I am so glad that NPR got rid of Juan Williams. In my opinion, he is a disgrace not only to the African American community, he is a disgrace to human kind. He and the other flunkies of foreigner Rupert Murdock's NEWS CORP.,should treat people like they want to be treated. If not, be prepared for the consequence of your actions.

Posted by: auntminnie | October 23, 2010 4:19 PM

The First Amendment does not protect Juan Williams’ job with NPR but the contract he signed with NPR does protect his job. The reason given by Vivian Schiller for firing Juan Williams’ was invalid relative to his job contract. He said on Fox News the way he feels when certain things happen and that is not an opinion.

This incident of NPR’s personnel action and news reporting is bias, harmful and shows an arrogant disrespect for audiences of public radio. Fire Ms. Schiller and disclose all funding sources of NPR and their influence on news analyst.

Do not misrepresent facts when terrorist attackers are Muslim jihad of the Islam religion and say they are not Muslims. NPR distorts the news and suppresses facts and covers up the identity of the terrorist who attacked the U.S. killing thousand of innocent civilians.

Posted by: klausdmk | October 23, 2010 4:03 PM

A much larger question is should government money in the form of subsidies ever go to organizations that would levy punitive sanctions against individuals exercising free speech? That being the case then NPR needs to become National Private Radio.

Posted by: slim21 | October 23, 2010 4:02 PM

Liberals always confuse freedom of speech with freedom of consequences.

Posted by: thelaw1 | October 23, 2010 3:52 PM

Does the radical liberal left have a right to their 1st amendment propaganidizing on NPR?

Yes.

Do the radical liberal propaganda pundits on NPR have a right to our tax dollars?

No!

Posted by: Patriot12 | October 23, 2010 3:38 PM

Williams never had an original idea, nor did he ever interview with more than softball questions. He parroted the talking points of his last interview, and could always be counted on to reiterate the conventional wisdom. Some journalist.

Posted by: debrawalt | October 23, 2010 3:26 PM

I would like to make one more comment to our liberal friends. You guys always like to snicker about the narrow mindedness of right wing religious people. You know those who have only their guns, religion and antipathy to foreigners? You guys in your politically correct world are becoming as narrow minded as those you like to criticize. Your religion is political correctness with a little environmental bs thrown in. Your thoughts are so constricted as to render you idiots.

Posted by: RedStater3 | October 23, 2010 2:55 PM

Juan is more intelligent than to make bigoted statements so openly, particularly since he is a minority in a majority profession. I believe he is gaming the system for his pecuniary advancement.

Posted by: fasm7700 | October 23, 2010 2:54 PM

No, this is not about first amendment rights, it is about being inappropriately fired for speaking your opinion and it not fitting the employers' agenda, which is the real issue at hand. So, I don't get this column, is this a covert way of supporting NPR in firing a man who just spoke his mind, which was not hostile or threatening, yet others at that same organization have overtly trashed non liberal people and stay and are embraced?

You know, the Post is just as guilty of this garbage, but by having a token commentary of alleged different viewpoints, it hides behind a florid liberal agenda and just furthers the cause! Well, at least you don't get taxpayer funds to support your publication, so you have your liberty to say what you want. All NPR has to do to show some guts and just spontaneously say, "we don't need public funding any more, so get lost, dissenters!"

Hmmm, should we hold our breath waiting for that statement!?

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | October 23, 2010 2:50 PM

OK Liberals--it is ironic to be defending Wiliiams, but it isn't just a matter of a company firing someone. NPR gets taxpayer money--if it were completely private and run by your skanky boy Soros, then you are right--fire him. But as a quasi govt outfit, the First Amendment has greater weight. Also consider--he is a columnist and commentator. That job is in the public realm. What if that evil Bush wanted a reporter fired? Guess what--that would be wrong too. If you silence reporter and commentators and shove your damn political correctness nonsense down everyone's throat you don't have a free society anymore. If you don't like an idea, explain why it is is misguided...sort of like everything that comes out of Obama/Pelosi/Reid's mouth. But making sure that someone loses their job is not "correct."

Posted by: RedStater3 | October 23, 2010 2:45 PM

I really do not think that Juan Williams wants to work for NPR anymore. Remember that old Johnny Paycheck song. "Take this job and shove it" is Juan's mantra now. You made him a national hero as well as a millionaire and made yourselves look stupid. Remember " Stupid is as stupid does." you have gotten that part right NPR.

Posted by: nychap44 | October 23, 2010 2:34 PM

"But there's another way to look at this issue. If you stop and think about it, countless other companies would do the same thing, which means invoking the First Amendment rationale here simply makes no sense."

There are always "other ways to look at issues".

Doesn't make them logical :)

A first-amendment right is a government-limitation. What sense does it make to say that the *government* can't penalize you for doing something but that your employer can?

Buy a firearm? The government can't throw you in jail for that in and of itself, you have a right to keep and bear arms. What if your employer doesn't like it, is it right for them to fire you? They can always claim, legitimately, that security concerns justify firing you for owning weapons.

Is the fact that many companies would fire someone for doing something an excuse for any one of them to actually do it?

We do not say that NPR violated the law by firing him as a result of what he said. We say that they infringed on his rights in doing so. There's a big difference. It wouldn't matter in a criminal case because it will never come up in a criminal case. But you can bet that it will come up in a civil suit.

The law is not a defense for an infringement on personal freedom. Merely a legal excuse.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 23, 2010 2:31 PM

What if I found Juan walking behind me on a dark and lonely street and became real uncomfortable and said so on national TV as an 'analyst'? Would I have any remaining credibility as an unbiased commentator? The man should stay off the airwaves. Muslims in general had as much to do with 9/11 as the average Buddhist had to do with Pearl Harbor. So ban building any Buddhist temples in Hawaii as well? Those terrorists were committing an abominable political atrocity, not expressing their faith or attacking any religion, they did not attack the Vatican! This religious motivation theory is bunk.

Posted by: kfk79 | October 23, 2010 2:07 PM

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
- Abraham Lincoln

FOXNEWS are masters of preying on people's prejudice. Take the highly rated O'Reilly preying on white fear of blacks (Maddow videos) and Muslims, Beck on social programs makes you Stalin/Chavez, health care Hitler, Obama has a deep seated hatred of white people. Black Panther's without one plantiff stepping forward, with Hannity even worse than most on "welfare". Your have the fair and balanced Bret Baier of I could choke you fame and interrupting Megyn Kelly to keep you informed. Other than Sheppard Smith you are watching the media arm of the GOP and Tea Party. Juan fits right in preying on Muslim prejudice.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 23, 2010 2:02 PM

What if I found Juan walking behind me on a dark and lonely street and became real comfortable and said so on national TV as an 'analyst'? Would I have any remaining credibility as an unbiased commentator? The man should stay off the airwaves. Muslims in general had as much to do with 9/11 as the average Buddhist had to do with Pearl Harbor. So ban building any Buddhist temples in Hawaii as well?

Posted by: kfk79 | October 23, 2010 2:00 PM

The Grand Mufti of Egypt would not make one nervous while Allawi would which is something that Juan should be able to distinguish. No one will get away with hijacking a plane since death is probable anyway for all the passengers. FOXNEWS supports the epople that had no faith in America after 911 when the stock market reopened and the sold soiling their pants while a million NYers took the subway to work on 9/12 and thereafter. Our country united on 9/12 has drifted apart with both sides pointing a finger at each other when it should be in front of a mirror.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 23, 2010 1:52 PM

Maybe Juan Williams should put on "muslim garb" and get on a plane. See who's nervous about him. What a bigot.

Posted by: dudh | October 23, 2010 1:04 PM

America is an employment-at-will country. Minus a contract, the employee can quit a job at any time for no reason.

The employer can fire an employee at any time for no reason, or any reason, but the reason can not be based in discrimination based on race, age, national origin, gender, etc. It is known as the protected classes.

Mr. Williams is in at least two of the seven protected classes. He is black, and he is over 40.

I think NPR is racist and practices ageism.

Posted by: cpameetingbook | October 23, 2010 12:24 PM

The issue isn't First Amendment or anything the Williams said. It's the now crystal clarity that NPR is a left wing organization funded by the federal government. There is no balance or objectivity in this news source. That's not a problem if it's a private organization, but NPR is clearly a leftist cabal and any public support needs to be withdrawn.

Posted by: rogerGG | October 23, 2010 12:23 PM

I can sympathize with Juan Williams.

Because when I get on the plane, if I see some guy who can't tell a loofah from a falafel, and I recognize him as an employee of FoxNews, I get worried.

Posted by: HughBriss | October 23, 2010 12:19 PM


Meanwhile, can we focus and get back to the Clarence Thomas story? It is
where leadership and investigative issues significant to the future of our country reside.

The Juan Williams story is a personal soap opera for the little people!

Posted by: bizlearn | October 23, 2010 11:50 AM

Here, Here, spoken like a true company man. "Countless employees have been fired..." This is even more chilling or as chilling as "tends to chill the public discourse." Perceived injustice and inequity in the workplace and in the "public discourse" seems to make people resistant to attempts to quash dissidence. for this reason, the hammer was invented. Are we becoming the new "China"?

Posted by: annf68 | October 23, 2010 11:47 AM

"I'll say upfront that I'm a little mixed on NPR's decision to fire Williams."
-- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well Jena - why didn't you wait until you had an opinion?!?!?!?!?
But you refer to Shiller (CEO of NPR) as a leader??!?!?!?!
Clearly you are too young and immature for this job!
Why didn't you refer to the several times prior that Williams made similar comments and was not chastized by NPR???
You do realize don't you that legally that constitutes a waiver on the part of NPR and that now shiller has no legs to stand on!
All of this in election week and NPR's start-up for donations!!! :-)
Quite a leader :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626 | October 23, 2010 11:47 AM

Please remind me of Sarah Palin Tweet about the firing of Rick Sanchez, Where was Fox, the Tea Party, the Republicans ie all? Oh that is right, they did not say a peep, but since a serious and truly News Organization, could not stand for such outrageous bigoted remarks, they took issue with them, Shame on you Juan Williams and Shame to all the Fake outraged conservatives , again, why not the same outraged as with RICK SANCHEZ and CNN? Is that crickets that I hear???

Posted by: corintonic | October 23, 2010 11:47 AM

Williams was always mediocre. He will do well at Fox.

Posted by: kknutton | October 23, 2010 11:46 AM

You are correct...but the issue is the inconsistent application of NPR (see Totenberg and more). So not only are they intolerant but also stupid. I hope Juan cleans them out.

Posted by: Matthew617 | October 23, 2010 11:45 AM

POSTED BY: SEMANTIC1: "Private businesses possess the right to hire and fire whomever they like for whatever they like so long as it is not based in discrimination via equal rights."
-------------------------------------------
ROFLMAO

Spoken like a true lib; utterly ignorant of the law. NPR admitted on TV that they waved their rights to enforcing that clause in his employment contract and then, tried to enforce it by using the clause to fire him.

NPR is so TOAST. The lawsuit is going to make Juan RICH.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 23, 2010 11:34 AM

Fox News is partially owned by a guy who wears Arabic garb. Why he doesn't make William nervous too? Is it that money works as a tranquilizer?

Posted by: rappahanock

It's not just any guy that wears Arabic garb. It's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king. Who was the same Prince Alwaleed bin Talal that offered NYC 10 million bucksaroos after 9/11. Here's what Glenn Beck had to say about the Prince ...

"On his television program this afternoon, Glenn Beck declared that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest stockholder of Fox News outside of the Rupert Murdoch family, “flew … the plane into the trade centers.” Beck started his rant as a defense of Israel’s actions against the aid flotilla to Gaza, but eventually began hypothesizing about if a similar flotilla was sent to Manhattan by Saudi Arabia. Beck said this had already happened essentially, when Prince Alwaleed offered $10 million dollars to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. "

Though he did forget to mention the part about the Prince being a shareholder of Fox and a good buddy of Rupert Murdoch. Or maybe that was too hard to find and he didn't see all the photos of Rupert and the Prince hanging together.

Posted by: James10 | October 23, 2010 11:33 AM

You deleted my last comment or never posted it in the first place; why?

Posted by: mbrachman

==============

Can we make guesses? My guess is she doesn't like you as a human being.

Posted by: James10 | October 23, 2010 11:22 AM

This issue has been couched in these terms repeatedly over the last few days. Of course the Constitution doesn't grant Williams a job. NPR should've done that. Why do all of the commentators on NPR need to speak in lockstep? What did Williams say that was so offensive?

Posted by: FredAlbert | October 23, 2010 11:13 AM

Juan supported Clarence Thomas because he was a qualified justice. The Left could not argue effectively against him because of his record so they used a radical leftist who lied about supposed pubic hairs on coke cans. Anita, that was sad, pathetic, disgusting and less than imaginative. She was rewarded with a tenured position at Brandeis Law School. The Left do care of their own.

Agreed, employees must answer to their employers. We the public who see this as a chilling of free speech will pressure our legislators to stop the funding for NPR

Posted by: michaelkphillips | October 23, 2010 11:08 AM

The question you should be asking is, "Does anything in the Constitution authorize NPR to steal money from me to spew its political views?"

Posted by: Bearbank

========================

If it's authorized it's not stealing. If it's not authorized than it might be, but probably not.

Part I: Is it authorized in the Constitution?

Actually, yes.

See Article I and specifically Section. 7.

"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States ..."

Congress has been passing that legislation and numerous Presidents have signed it into law. Therefore, it is authorized under the Constitution.

Part II. The don't "take" the money, it's given to them. Like the check you got from this Administration for $250 as a one time tax cut of sorts. You didn't steal it, Congress appropriated it and Obama signed it into law and you got the money. About the only way you didn't get the money is if you were in a high income or didn't file tax returns. I suppose we could play more semantics on the point but it was properly authorized under the Constitution.

You should read it sometime. It's interestin and if might have the added benefit of you not having to bother people by asking them to look it up for you.

Posted by: James10 | October 23, 2010 11:01 AM

Fox News is partially owned by a guy who wears Arabic garb. Why he doesn't make William nervous too? Is it that money works as a tranquilizer?

Posted by: rappahanock | October 23, 2010 10:58 AM

If Juan had simply used the words "some people" instead of "I" than he would probably still have his job with NPR today. A good reporter would know that.

Posted by: kimL1 | October 22, 2010 5:37 PM
===================================
Yes, but then NPR would have as much Entertainment Value as Fox has News Value.

"I" is the Royal We of the News business, it means an Editor has had a say. Juan Williams was selling his credibility and celebrity as a (informed) News Reporter. When was the last time Bill O'Reilly had a Librarian or a Plumber on the show ? Aren't they "some people" ?

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Posted by: youyu57 | October 23, 2010 10:52 AM

I, for one, am glad Juan Williams NPR's 'token black' has left that liberal radio cesspool and seriously joined Foxnews with its growing audience.

I have followed Juan's voice, give and take on Fox's daily roundtable discussions on current issues for over a year. I find that he always speaks his independent and well- informed mind without looking over his shoulder at politically correct minders as he obviously had to do under NPR.

His opinions rarely mirror the views of any of the others, more outspokenly conservatives. He gives Fox 'balance' and moderation that I rarely hear on NPR.

Posted by: dave19 | October 23, 2010 10:48 AM

News corporation that owns Fox News were Juan works is co owned by a Arab that wears Arabic garb. Why he doesn't make Williams nervous too>

Posted by: rappahanock | October 23, 2010 10:46 AM

Folks defending Williams are placing Fox Noise as the "standard bearer" of credible news. ha!
Fox - where ANYONE can say ANYTHING as long as it's against Democrats and Muslims.

NPR is one of the FEW credible news organizations without a political agenda.
Fox is a propaganda machine for the Republican Party.

Just made another donation to NPR.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 23, 2010 10:33 AM


What kind of "neutrality standards" did Juan violate? Did NPR fire him because he failed to state that Christians should be vaporized for the good of the country? Now that's a neutral statement if I ever heard one.

Posted by: quiensabe | October 23, 2010 10:28 AM

I don't think that any longer the question is "Did NPR have the right to fire Juan Williams?" Sure they had the right. The question now is "Does NPR have the right to any tax payer funding?" I think the answer to that is an obvious No. Let the defunding begin. Congress should start by defunding NPR member stations and work their way up to NPR. NPR member stations pay NPR programming fees partially with taxpayer dollars. If they have such quality reporting and programming as they purport to have they should be able to survive by their own efforts with donations.

Posted by: tmonahan54 | October 23, 2010 10:24 AM

It sounds like Freepost and many others here are paid bloggers. What sane person would remember what Nina T. said in 1995 on NPR? Fox is an opinion game show format managed by one of Nixon's henchmen.
In 1950 every newspaper in Montana but one was owned by the Anaconda copper company. Fox, Clear Channel are just history repeating itself. Big business HATES competition for your money. Read, that will upset everyone.

Posted by: citizen625 | October 23, 2010 10:07 AM

NPR must have been dying to find an excuse for dumping Williams. They thought they had a Rick Sanchez moment and went for it. Unfortunately for them his statements were more complex and nuanced then Rick Sanchez and it was not apples to apples. The animosity is obvious by the NPR president joyously asking him to see his psychiatrist and relishing the moment on video .
This also shows what an emotion cauldron there must be at NPR. Anyone in any occupation relizes that when you fire somebody,you make no comment and do not dig a hole for yourself. I question the competency of NPR leadership which is what this is about ,no longer about Juan Williams.

Posted by: hoover2 | October 23, 2010 9:58 AM

Nothing Sarah Palin says makes sense or is connected to reality. It's time we stopped paying attention to her tweets and Facebook drivel.

And it's past time to have some civics 101 taught in schools, if so many Americans are ignorantly thinking that the 1st amendment protects against criticism of speech, or employers having standards about how employees act.

Posted by: hitpoints | October 23, 2010 9:54 AM

In 1995, NPR correspondant, Nina Totenberg suggested justice would be served if Jesse Helms and his grandchildren contracted AIDS. So, perhaps between 1995 and 2010, NPR cracked down and developed journalistic standards? On October 10, Totenberg compared the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the prominent campaign finance case, to Watergate. If we are using the "Juan Williams" standards, then Totenberg should have been fired years ago.

In another high profile case,
Sarah Spitz, a producer for NPR affiliate KCRW for the show Left, Right & Center which is broadcast on 32 NPR stations wrote in a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.

In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.” I'm still waiting for NPR to sanction Spitz.

These are but two of dozens of cases of extreme behavior exhibited by NPR "reporters". The bottom line is this, NPR is a tax payer funded enterprise that is broadcasting far left opinions. As such they have absolutely no right to tax payer dollars whatsoever. In contrast Fox News, like MSNBC or any of the other networks are privately held and are for-profit enterprises. They are, unlike NPR entitled to broadcast opinions as they see fit. It's time to defund NPR and now.

Posted by: freepost | October 23, 2010 9:54 AM

You deleted my last comment or never posted it in the first place; why?

Posted by: mbrachman | October 23, 2010 9:51 AM

Schiller handled that so badly. Like a tyrant. Overbearing. Intolerant.

Fine, fire Williams. He doesn't have a 'right' to the job. He'll survive.

But take away NPR funding too. They don't have 'rights' on public money.

That kind of thing cuts both ways, Ms. McGregor.

Posted by: toshiro1 | October 23, 2010 9:51 AM


This is a big picture moment you are missing- see Obama numbers. Of course it's legal to fire him, but that's not the point! It is not good marketing/PR and it's close minded. So yes, its legally ok, but feels gross. Obama's problem in a nutshell.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | October 23, 2010 9:48 AM

It troubles me that the WP On Leadership post displays none here... this topic is about Censorship.

Seems to me that Juan Williams lost his NPR employment in a blatant attempt to censor him. Sad state of affairs from an organization and broadcasting system that is very much funded by the US Gov't.

Posted by: oberstm | October 23, 2010 9:48 AM

I wonder how many of you would expect to keep your jobs if you violated your boss's orders and mouthed off to the paying customers.

If you think that this is a First Amendment issue then you are just ignoring hundreds of years of contract law, which explicitly allows your rights to be contracted away.

For example you have the right to be secure in your belongings and self, but you can contract away that right in exchange for a trip on an airplane, and that is why they are allowed to search you at the airport.

For another example, you give away the same right when you drive your car, because you MUST allow the police to investigate whether or not you have intoxicating substances within your body.

If you think the freedoms in the Constitution are "absolute" in any sense you are mistaken. We give up our rights all the time every day so that we can ride in cars and airplanes and do our jobs.

Posted by: frantaylor | October 23, 2010 9:40 AM

Let's see, NPR "reporters" routinely bash Christianity, attack Israel, lambash Bush and Cheney, but when one of it's own says something that doesn't resonate with the uber-left agenda, he's dumped on his head. I could care less about NPR's extreme left agenda but when it suckling on the teat of taxpayers, it better answer to the taxpayers. I say defund these Soros sucka's.

Posted by: freepost | October 23, 2010 9:33 AM

I suppose NPR can do whatever it wants but not with tax dollars (and they will be cut off) or government grants (and they'll be cut off too) or with tax exempt donations from the private sector (and boy will their donors be surprised eh! Welcome to the world of Bob Jones university ~ they get to do and say what they want of course)

So, yeah, for $2 million from the 20th Century Residual Nazi front organization NPR just gave up the ghost.

This is something they simply could not afford to get involved in when they have a gazillion competitors.

And that Schiller gal? Did they bother vetting her background before hiring her ~ she seems very strange ~ not at all a CEO type.

Posted by: muawiyah | October 23, 2010 9:17 AM

Juan Williams was a paid contributor to FOX NEWS and he has been eyeing for a million dollar deal with FOX. Yes, his comments about Muslims at airports were insensitive and dumb. His attempts to justify it seemed lame.
Yes, NPR had every right to fire him and he should thank NPR for the big reward he received (a 2 million dollar contract with FOX) because NPR fired him. Overall, Williams was the beneficiary of this episode and he can keep on mouthing about Muslims on FOX.

Posted by: smithjohnson748 | October 23, 2010 8:53 AM

Juan Williams was a paid contributor to FOX NEWS and he has been eyeing for a million dollar deal with FOX. Yes, his comments about Muslims at airports were insensitive and dumb. His attempts to justify it seemed lame.
Yes, NPR had every right to fire him and he should thank NPR for the big reward he received (a 2 million dollar contract with FOX) because NPR fired him. Overall, Williams was the beneficiary of this episode and he can keep on mouthing about Muslims on FOX.

Posted by: smithjohnson748 | October 23, 2010 8:51 AM


This issue is not about rights. Why does everyone think that they can wave the first ten at any issue? Juan Williams was employed as an analyst and publicly analyzed in a way contrary to NPR management opinion and he was fired. No rights issues. The question is one of propriety for an entity that gets public funding holding being so intolerant of different opinions being expressed by employees whose job is to offer opinions.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 23, 2010 8:31 AM

Some of the comments are so off the wall and off topic e.g. Nazis in Budapest, and so vile "Uncle Tom for the Empire" that one wonders why the Post continues to solicit comments.

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | October 23, 2010 8:21 AM

Two points:
1)The First Amendment principles protect one's job if one is a teacher or professor who exercises freedom of speech in the classroom. This is the underpinning of granting tenure.
2) All female journalists should keep this in mind: When walking down a dark alley alone and approached by a group of men who look unsavory, make sure that you do not express what was going through your mind at that moment through a media outlet-it could get you fired! Denying the existence of a basic human instinct to protect oneself is absurd and irresponsible.

Posted by: marco6 | October 23, 2010 8:14 AM

Alas, the First Amendment only pertains to our dealings with the government, and NPR has the option to fire Juan Williams. However, NPR does have the obligation to enforce its rules fairly among its employees:

"Nina Totenberg said 15 years ago that if there is "retributive justice," former Republican North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms or one of his grandchildren will get AIDS from a transfusion. " Washington Post

The simple truth is that NPR wanted Ms. Totenberg to remain an employee because of her views, and they wanted Juan Williams gone because of his association with FOX.

Posted by: RickyBabaloo | October 23, 2010 7:09 AM

The question you should be asking is, "Does anything in the Constitution authorize NPR to steal money from me to spew its political views?"

Posted by: Bearbank | October 23, 2010 7:02 AM

This story about Mr. Williams has brought healthy debate in every city. It just goes to show how influential Fox News is nationally.

It seems the new silent majority is not going to debate political correctness anymore. They are spear-heading a blitzkrieg against it.

You decide who the "silent majority" are. Are we Republicans or Democrats? It could be both. Maybe they are Tea-Party Members and not crazy people as liberals like to call them. Mr. Williams was label as such. Think about that. The liberal media fuels that organization’s formation.

I am a registered republican that voted for the President. I watch the O’Reilly Factor at night then wake up to the Washington Post on the net. If I am able to filter all the BAFOOOONERY (bull…) from both ends of the political spectrum, then hopefully I can come up with a middle of the road opinion. If you believe that one or the other organization’s news reporting is always correct, then you’re not willing to listen and are part of the problem.

The national agenda did change to a new direction when the President won the election. We no longer are governed by the WWII or Vietnam generation. This November’s election is going to be part of the maturation process for the next 60 years.


Posted by: Budpratt1 | October 23, 2010 6:49 AM

Juan Williams was fired because he violated the liberal orthodoxy of NPR. Nothing more and nothing less.

Posted by: Oracle3 | October 23, 2010 6:13 AM

Liberals are all about Free Speech until you say something that they don't like. As long as Free Speech is full of hate fort the US, that is ok or perhaps directed at white people... with their guns, religion and antipathy to others... Imagine if the author of this quote had attempted to explain Latino behavior... Well you would of course said that it was a serious attempt at analyzing race relations. Oh what a brilliant individual. And when you don't like what someone says liberals? You attack their livelihood. No more job for them. You guys are lousy hypocrites.

Posted by: RedStater3 | October 23, 2010 6:11 AM


But a WaPo hack has to actually issue vile death threats against a conservative before WaPo will fire said hack. Remember Dave Weigel?

Hilarious WaPo hacks

Posted by: screwjob22 | October 23, 2010 5:41 AM


"The First Amendment only protects progressive speech."

- NPR& every leftist

Posted by: screwjob22 | October 23, 2010 5:29 AM

Conservatives love talking about the constitution, but it's usually in such a dogmatic, fundamentalist way. I grew up in a southern Baptist church where the bible was talked about in exactly the same terms.

We have a real lack of critical thinking skills in this country and we are ill-served by those conservative leaders who promote such unsophisticated analyses and drag the unthinking masses with them to further their own personal causes.

Posted by: cheesegypsy | October 23, 2010 3:08 AM

I am of two minds about this one. On the one hand, NPR handled the situation badly, with thickskulled, corporate obtuseness.

On the other hand, Williams in my view is far from being a sympathetic personality.

When I have heard him on various clips from Fox, his comments have struck me as syncophantic and opportunistic -- the guy from the erstwhile left validating the positions of the right and far right, so that he might obtain personal advantage. An unsavory character, in my view....sorry you blew this one, NPR. He needed a reprimand and perhaps a suspension, that would have made the point sufficiently.

Posted by: trobador | October 23, 2010 2:59 AM

Sure, NPR may (and I only say may because we don't know the exact terms of the contract Mr. Williams said he had with NPR) have the right to fire Mr. Williams. But Congress has just as much right to reduce or eliminate public funding of public broadcasting, a right they'll likely exercise after November 2. Having the right to do something does not protect you from the negative consequences of your decisions, something Ms. Schiller has an excellent chance to learn if she is thrown under the bus to try to appease the Congressional gods.

Posted by: ecs1 | October 23, 2010 2:44 AM

If you take Williams' comments and substitute plane for a bus, and Muslim garb with Hip hop garb, terrorist with muggers you get this:

"Look, Guys, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of posts I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the bus, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in hip-hop garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as muggers, I get worried. I get nervous."

Posted by: mirhaque | October 23, 2010 2:03 AM

Hopey-Changey, that's the way,

To see another sunny day.

How sad to see that some don't reel

Or faint for this, The Old New Deal.

Some people think it kind of sucks,

Just living off of borrowed bucks.

BHO knows better than that.

'Cause credit cards are where it's at.

Live for now, pay whenever,

With anything, anyhow, whatsoever.

We all know that that's the plan,

For funding Project Yes We Can.

Two raging wars, both still not won,

Isn't Hopey-Changey fun???

Do not give in, do not despair.

Do not befoul your underwear.

Into these wounds do not rub salt,

Remember, please, it's Bush's fault.

Change takes time, and so does hope.

So just sit back, and smoke some dope.

Posted by: GregMaragos | October 23, 2010 1:44 AM

Let me get this straight...the commenting conservatives, contrarians, take back this country people out there are saying that NPR, and employer, doesn't have a legal right to fire one of its employees? Are you kidding me? The guy expressed a personal view that clearly illustrated his personal bias against muslims. Before saying that on the Fox program, he agreed with O'Reilly that muslim jihad is the most dangerous threat that Americans face today. I don't know if these are REALLY his views. People say things on Fox telecasts because these things excite the emotions of Fox viewers, because Fox is an entertainment network....and Fox News is not journalism. For all we now, Williams was just doing what he and other Fox personalities are paid to do.

If there are wingnuts out there who think there's some sort of Left Wing conspiracy going on at NPR...or in this country for that matter...you really need to get off your Fox-watching couch and examine the world around you. This damn country is now completely run by corporations who don't give a damn about you. Rupert Murdoch's corporation, which owns the Fox Network , the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets, is just one of them.
Why do you people thing that giving tax relief to people earning more than a quarter of a million dollars a year is in your interests? Why do you feel that affordable, universal health care is not a right of every American citizen? Do countries like Singapore, Japan, England, France, Canada and Germany all have it wrong? Is that what "Liberty" means to you? .. a health care system that's crippling our economy?
Wake up people and think for yourselves, and vote for political candidates who want to protect your rights to health care, education, and those silly things like clean air and water.

Posted by: ljslotnick | October 23, 2010 1:34 AM

All those who disagree with Williams please raise their hands. Liars!

Posted by: dolph924 | October 23, 2010 1:07 AM

I wonder how people like Williams and Sanchez likes it when the politically incorrect shoe is on the other foot for a change.
If this had happened to a white person there wouldn't have been half the out pouring of anger that we're seeing now that it's minorities that's getting the axe for simply telling the truth!

Posted by: jameshallman | October 23, 2010 12:51 AM

Good-bye, Juan, and good riddance.

Posted by: gsross | October 23, 2010 12:30 AM

The whole Juan Williams issue reeks of a set up by fox to demean NPR. How could he have a 2 million contract so quickly unless it was orchestrated. Statements by Public Radio stations that callers seemed to be reading from a script, Williams repeated appearances on the O'Reilly Factor for which he is now the designated substitute host and much more are quite suspicious.

All the folks who have been most outspoken about this matter are on the FOX payroll in some fashion. Over the years, FOX has proven itself anything but the guardian of truth taking every opportunity to undermine the integrity of honest people, spread rumors, and dismantle progress.

FOX news is all about entertainment suggesting that they have no need to be concerned about journalistic standards. FOX is merely a propaganda machine to open up the divide between unscrupulous power mongers and the rest of us. FOX shares in the responsibility for the decay of the United States, our diminished image throughout the rest of the world, and the collapse of the economic base of millions of Americans.

Turn the channel. Do not buy products advertised on FOX News. These guys are not on anybody's side but their own and although they make a nice focus for anger, this country does not need anymore anger, it needs to pull together. Juan Williams' comments violated journalistic code which he had the right to do as long as he was prepared for the consequences of his actions. He is disingenuous about having been violated, he is the violator.

Posted by: passonbuck | October 22, 2010 11:28 PM

Juan has always been a critic with his own mind and thoughts..liked it even when I did not agree..it was his opinion and respected that and liked it..say what was on his mind as well as what others thought that could not or would not say . Juan>google>taxes we pay

Posted by: rw62827 | October 22, 2010 10:13 PM

Liberal trash! Democratic trash! We're retaking this country!

Posted by: georges2 | October 22, 2010 9:54 PM

Williams' crime was being too uppity and disobeying the party line. This is also revenge for his appearing on Fox News.

Free speech is disappearing in our nation. Obama's faux tolerance for American muslims is a mask to coverup the fact he is waging war against muslim nations in Central Asia.

Anti-muslim hysteria is whipped up by the media and the Obama Administration everytime we have an incident like the underwear bomber or the Fort Hood shooting. Then Williams gets punished for commenting on this hysteria.

Posted by: alance | October 22, 2010 9:50 PM

Yes, Jena, "They can say all they want once they're on the other side." Which is why I am surprised that my former employer fired me for posting a few innocuous jokes told in a meeting on my personal blog. Because now that I'm gone, I can say what was REALLY going on in that office.

See video clips at http://BudgetJustified.com

Posted by: LisaSchaefer | October 22, 2010 9:41 PM

CAIR and Hammas and Soros made their decision to fire Williams so just pay your taxes that fund NPR and accept it.

Posted by: RTJ1 | October 22, 2010 9:14 PM

And there in is the rub:

Fox is promoting and fomenting hatred against Muslims... its a steady theme among their talking heads these days, with everyone supposed to get their licks in... Williams included... and as a Fox talking head, its ok...no one believes anyone there is a serious journalist anyway.

But Williams cannot destroy his own creds as an analyst just to kowtow to fox's hate mill.

Right and proper that he lose his job as unbiased analyst...he was no longer that.

Posted by: dutchess2 | October 22, 2010 8:52 PM

George Bush did a lot to ward off this Muslim hate that feeds terrorist propaganda and recruiting. Is it only White Republicans who are valid in standing against the hate comments?

NPR may have saved a few American soldier's lives in Afghanistan by taking the microphone away from Williams. The more FOX feeds its ratings with anti-Muslim speech the more at risk our soldiers are.

And face it, if you substitute "Jew" or "fat person" or "gay person" you have a slur because you're generically denigrating whole classes of people.

NPR may have handled it poorly, but why politicize it and allow FOX to further shred the first amendment?

If FOX was around during World War II, the "Japs" would still be in detention camps, wouldn't they?

Posted by: somerseten | October 22, 2010 8:33 PM

Destroy his career? Pshaw. He just signed a bigger deal with Fox, and will likely make millions off of whatever vehicles he chooses to milk this incident. The "politically incorrect" crowd of today just loves to throw money at folks like Williams. Why I have no idea. It is a free country, though.

Posted by: baldinho | October 22, 2010 8:33 PM

Jena,
Now most likely a perfect individual such as yourself has nothing to worry about. But maybe, just maybe, you will make the mistake of actually saying or writing what you are really thinking without passing it through the political correctness filter of the day. And maybe just maybe someone with a bone to pick will take that opportunity to rake you over the coals and destroy your career.

It is no longer possible for us to have candid discussions about certain issues because people are genuinely afraid of losing their jobs for breaking some PC taboo.

Posted by: afpre42 | October 22, 2010 8:12 PM

Why on earth do people think there was a rush to judgment? He should have been fired years ago.
1. Sexual harassment
2. Conflict of interest
3. Finally - he didn't add anything to the NPR broadcasts. If I wanted to hear political viewpoints from FOX NEWS - I would turn on FOX NEWS. Millions of dollars are spent to provide the megaphone for those views. They don't need a taxpayer funded venue.

Posted by: novgorodva | October 22, 2010 8:06 PM

Facts:

NPR has public funding.

NPR has a clear political agenda that is easily evidenced in allowing some reporters to make completely outrageous statements (Totenberg hoping that a conservative politician's grandchildren all die of AIDS) or blatantly antireligious remarks (extensive favorable coverage of anticatholic and antichristian radical atheists). Their political agenda is also made clear in brooking no "off-message" remarks such as those of Juan Williams.

The whole thrust of NPR over the years has been to give their listeners the false impression that the only ideas worth considering come from progressives.

And yes, NPR does have a First Amendment right to make that claim. As far as I know, however, there is no parallel obligation of the American taxpayer to pay for NPR's right.

I don't question George Soros' right to fund Media Matters and to buy journalists outright. Nor do I question the right of other lobbying groups to out Soros for what he really is. But for him to make huge donations to what is in part a PUBLIC news outlet galls me.

It is time for NPR to s or get off the pot. Are they a public organization taking public money and providing unbiased news coverage which takes into account the full range of political opinion in this country, including that 80 per cent of Americans who express center-right viewpoints, or do they get bought by Soros and keep their message somewhere between that of the Democratic Socialists of America and CPUSA?

Posted by: conservative20815 | October 22, 2010 8:04 PM

Hmm, let’s see. Suppose I were a Muslim terrorist hell-bent to blow up an airport. What should I wear? Hmm, how about a Sikh turban? A Christian Arafat headscarf? Maybe a niqab with full khimar? TSA would never pay attention to me dressed like that, would they? Any of those would be the perfect disguise to not draw attention to myself. Brilliant!

Posted by: mmfleming1 | October 22, 2010 7:54 PM

My son is a first officer on a major airline.
He states he still feels a bit nevis when he sees a group of male Muslims board his plane.
Thats why they keep the cockpit door locked these days.

Posted by: travisg2 | October 22, 2010 7:45 PM

Mr. Williams was already in trouble at NPR. At Fox he can have his own plane and not be troubled by others "garb." Not to worry.NPR could use a fresh face and voice!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | October 22, 2010 7:10 PM

The issue is NPR believes in the Stanley Fish style of cultural relativism. When she says , "Mr. Williams is too conservative for my tastes. The fact that he cavorts with nutcases like Bill O'Reilly and especially Sean Hannity does not speak well of his taste or his judgement." she makes the same kind of value judgement that was grounds for dismissal for Juan Williams. But we don't call for her dismissal because we want our journalist to be people who have an opinion and the ability to think for themselves. If we do otherwise we might as well have machines read the news. Oh, I forgot on NPR machines do read the news.

Posted by: werowe1 | October 22, 2010 6:50 PM

Here's my thought... Juan Williams has made a lot of money being an articulate guy who could straddle a number of cultural divides at once. The fact that he finally dropped one of the checkbooks he routinely juggles doesn't surprise me all that much.

Substitute "black man" for "muslim" in his remarks and maybe that will help you get it.

Were he not making his living by skating across the culture divide (the guy who can get a paycheck from both Fox and NPR), this wouldn't matter. If NPR says "we no longer want to be associated with this guy" then in my vision of what America means, they're fully and completely entitled to say that.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | October 22, 2010 6:49 PM

That's right. The First Amendment is not a protection for Juan's job. NPR can fire whomever they want.

The problem is that NPR is grossly inconsistent. Nina Totenberg (a correspondent, not a commentator) has said horrific things, yet she appears untouchable. As a result, NPR has lost what little credibility it had.

The leadership at NPR is not only hypocritical, but it also appears to be bought and paid for by some of the most radical leftists in America. Shouldn't be a problem if public funding is yanked from theml; surely George Soros will write another check.

Posted by: Darlene_Jr | October 22, 2010 6:47 PM

Interesting that this story took the Virginia Thomas story off the top of the list. Connection?

Posted by: Xlnt | October 22, 2010 6:40 PM

Ms McGregor,

Oh at least you're safe.

Wonder Bread columns about NPR -advocating journalists as either objective gawdheads or eunuchs.

No rabbit will enter your garden with fear.

Posted by: thealaskan | October 22, 2010 6:14 PM

P.S. I agree with Ms. McGregor on the subject of the applicability of the First Amendment in this circumstance, even though NPR does receive some federal funding. All of the Tea Party types who are claiming NPR violated Williams' First Amendment rights, and who "want to get back to the Constitution", need to spend some time studying it, particularly Article III, and the cases decided by the courts it creates. From what I've read and heard, they want to read the Constitution literally, except they want to read Article III out of it! Literally!

Posted by: edgewalker | October 22, 2010 6:08 PM

I think it is interesting to see NPR types feeling the need to start to demonize Juan Williams.

What did he actually saw? He did not express an ideology or opinion he only expressed an honest fear which many people now claim of course they would never have.
And he did not even attempt to defend that fear as rational in fact he argued against it. Like Ms. Sherrod a few weeks ago, he is being falsy accused of making the opposite point he was trying to make.

If Juan Williams has no right to his job at NPR, NPR also has no right to public funding.

End federal support of NPR now!

Posted by: AnotherContrarian | October 22, 2010 6:08 PM

If Williams's overall thrust was anti-prejudice, why at his age has he not been able to free his own mind from such stereotypes?

See Muslim on plane. Get worried. Stereotype. Is the guy Pavlovian in his reactions?

Sorry but those are Juan's own loose-cannon words on Fox, and in fact are not consistent with any standards at NPR nor any other free-minded American.

Why. Because terrorism is not a "Muslim" province nor a "Muslim" issue. It is an extremists & thugs province and issue. All stripe, all ethnicities.

A frothing RWNJ in California was recently busted and pled guilty to threatening Nancy Pelosi and her family repeatedly after she got in the trenches to extend the right to health care services to all Americans. Another one in CA, just busted on his way to shoot up the offices of the ACLU and Tides Foundation in San Francisco.

These extremists, these terrorist thugs, are not Muslim.

Juan is an idiot for linking the two even for an unhinged moment, and is a known lackey for the media corp that incites terrorist lunatics I've mentioned. He is a joke at this point.

- new; Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | October 22, 2010 5:57 PM

While I believe NPR firing Juan Williams was wrong (mainly because the comments were not made on NPR but a cable entertainment show), my greater concern is the knee-jerk reaction by FOX News pundits to immediately call for the defunding of NPR as a consequence. Talk about media intimidation! Say or do the wrong thing, and we will pull the plug on you. On the one hand, they defend freedom of speech, while on the other, demand free speech be denied by defunding NPR. It is no different than an advertiser pulling their advertising from the WaP because they didn't agree with a particular columnist's point of view. You would think by now, I would no longer be surprised by their hypocricy.

Posted by: alfalfabill | October 22, 2010 5:42 PM

First Amendment protects us only from government censorship of speech.

Contractual considerations aside, the rest of us including employers have the freedom to disassociate ourselves from anyone, for almost any non criminal reason, including disaffection with their views, public or private.


Posted by: samscram | October 22, 2010 5:41 PM

If Juan had simply used the words "some people" instead of "I" than he would probably still have his job with NPR today. A good reporter would know that.

Posted by: kimL1 | October 22, 2010 5:37 PM

juan williams belongs over at foz noise. He is perfectly at home with those crazies over there. He will be well paid too. He is no liberal. Good bye juan. Good luck with your lunatic friends there.

Posted by: letemhaveit | October 22, 2010 5:31 PM

First I must answer Hazmat77's question (1:46PM). The people who watch NPR's programs aren't getting much out of them.

I can understand Williams' awkwardly expressed sentiment. It's a natural self-preservation mechanism for those who recognize that insane Islamists are at war with us, want to kill us, and are not bad at it, either.

Those who suggest that awareness, caution and, yes, even a little nervousness, when in a cloistered environment with people who fit within the broad, yes, profile of those who are at war with us, is bigotry, don't know what bigotry means.

If a cabal of insane, radical Jews were at war with us, were willing to kill us and themselves without hesitation in the name of their religion, I would be cautious and a little bit nervous in a closed environment with Jews I did not know. And I'm Jewish! One thing I can say with certainty about my example, though, is that the rest of Jewry would loudly, insistently, and consistently denounce the insane, murderous animals acting out in their name. The sad truth is that the same cannot be confidently said of the rest of the Muslim world.

Ms. McGregor says that it is unfortunate that others hold an attitude similar to that expressed by Williams. I say that that attitude is neither unnatural nor unreasonable.

Mr. Williams is too conservative for my tastes. The fact that he cavorts with nutcases like Bill O'Reilly and especially Sean Hannity does not speak well of his taste or his judgement. But, other than that, those who suggest that anyone to the right of Keith Olbermann should not be on NPR's air, purportedly "liberals", are not liberals at all. I'm a liberal. They're leftists. Doctrinaire, illiberal leftists. NPR treated Williams unfairly, even if they were determined to fire him. C'mon, on the phone, without a meeting, without confirmation "that he would not have expressed the same opinion on their air"? NPR's action is a lesson in how to make a powerful enemy. NPR probably should have "elevated" him to "commentator" so he'd be free to express his opinion, and deny him the status of "analyst" subject to its ethics rules. They'd have someone right of center, which they need, and he'd be free to speak his mind.

I do have one lingering question. What if Williams had said that he doesn't get cautious or nervous around religious Muslims at airports. Would that expression of opinion have been a firing offense, too?

Posted by: edgewalker | October 22, 2010 5:20 PM

You indicate in your article that NPR requires its employees to be neutral. Surely you jest!!

Posted by: AnAmerican5 | October 22, 2010 5:17 PM

I get scared when I think of the possibility of Angle, Ms. Witch, , Paul and Paladino being elected as a senator or a governor. I am also afraid of lightning, pit bulls, bees, wasps, hornets and semis. I'm not worried about intoxicated or overworked pilots, old planes, planes that are not maintained properly. I'm only worried that a very obese person will sit next to me on a plane and I won't be able to move. I am also upset that I will have to pay to pee.

Posted by: Impudicus | October 22, 2010 5:13 PM

On NPR's web site Schiller basically states that the O'Reilly Factor comment was merely an excuse to fire Williams.

As for NPR's "neutrality," to which the writer refers, I suspect she's never listened to it. It is very far from Neutral on almost everything. Moreover, Williams was not acting as a reporter on O'Reilly.

His comments, in context, are very, very far from those of Helen Thomas or Rick Sanchez.

Do some of them make me uncomfortable? Yes.
However, I've heard worse. From others. On NPR.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri2 | October 22, 2010 5:07 PM

Absolutely correct. A company has the right to fire anyone they feel is shining an unfavorable light on their company. Williams was a "respresentative of NPR", and he was also a representative of Fox. he chose Fox and won. he should stop whining and just say thank you to NPR for getting him a real contract and better money. Free speech is afforded to all, but saying what you want will come at a price if you don't use wisdom. Willaims should have know better.

Posted by: eps0609 | October 22, 2010 5:03 PM

Legally speaking, NPR is not a government agency, thus there is no state actor infringing Williams' rights.

Constitutional protection only applies to government vs. joe public. Private business can do whatever it likes to its employees. That why you can legally sign contracts, etc with a public business that would otherwise be unconstitutional.

Private businesses possess the right to hire and fire whomever they like for whatever they like so long as it is not based in discrimination via equal rights. Williams' case definitely does not trigger an equal rights issue. I'm surprised that conservatives out there are so enraged by a very basic tenant of U.S. business.

Posted by: semantic1 | October 22, 2010 5:03 PM

Williams was stupid beyond belief to make such a comment, even if that's what he rally thinks. I'm glad that NPR fired him because of all of his history of making sexist degrading comments about women.So long Williams- don't let the door hit you on your way to making big $$$ at Faux news!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 22, 2010 4:58 PM

Juan is going to work full-time at faux news where he rightfully belongs. He never should have been part of such a reputable news organization in the first place. Now he is free to go join the reality show circuit over at faux.

Posted by: luvleep | October 22, 2010 4:50 PM

oh please spare me the stank of old fish wrapped in this electronic newspaper.

NPR wet their pants with glee when nina totenberg, in a comment that in other places has been charactarized as hate speech, pleaded for Jesse Helms to get aids.

WHERE WAS HER PINK SLIP; oh, I forgot, her views coincided with those of NPR management, therefore PC.

The senator from south carolina should also petition for a name change of NPR because nothing could be further from the truth.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/will-npr-fire-nina-totenberg-for-wishing-jesse-helms-would-get-aids-105441948.html

Posted by: jbarrettiii | October 22, 2010 4:42 PM

Were Mr Williams comments made by a white man about a black man, or by a Catholic referring to a Jew, there would be predictable outrage. We should all be outraged at statements tending to tarnish the whole for a fraction---especially when they are expressed by a journalist.

NPR has always held itself to a higher standard than commercial outlets, and thus had every right and a very good reason for letting Mr. Williams go; however NPR could have been more tactful.

Posted by: raymcp9991 | October 22, 2010 4:39 PM

Williams violated his contract with NPR, and the rules governing his employment. He deserved to be fired.

NPR is the best news source left in the USA. There are hardly any reliable sources left, and Fox News is certainly one of the least reliable sources. There is no real news on Fox, only opinions, biased towards the extreme right.

NPR should be supported by all Americans. We should be ashamed of what passes for news on the commercial channels. Other countries have far better and more reliable news sources available for their citizens. Thanks to media corporations for Fox, we are losing our democracy.

Posted by: Chagasman | October 22, 2010 4:23 PM

Mr. Williams is now claiming that NPR was looking for a reason to fire him. So let me get this right:

Knowing this, and understanding NPR's rules, Mr. Williams made the statements on Fox anyway?

Seems Mr. Williams was looking for a way to get himself fired and earn more money at Fox.

Posted by: dastubbs | October 22, 2010 4:23 PM

What a WASTE of white space. Your column points out that companies can separate employees, and that the "freedom of speech" doesn't extend to those who damage the company they work for. AS IF nobody understands that.

But Mr.Williams had a contractual relationship with his employer. The firing is a legal, contractual issue. Nothing else.

Don't waste space on issues that have no bearing on the story.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 22, 2010 4:20 PM

He should be fired for being stupid: what exactly constitutes "Muslim garb?" Can he tell a Palistinan Christian from a Muslim by thier "garb?" For that matter, can he tell an Indian Sikh from a Muslim? As for your clothes declaring what you are first -- man, your clothes are your clothes. I am sure Juan is not the most bigoted person around, but the alarmingly inept generalization of what people look like and why they look like that is just plain stupid.

Posted by: lobotommy | October 22, 2010 4:17 PM

I hope he sues their butts and gets a big payout. They are nothing but sniveling, sanctimonious, snots.

Posted by: stinkingtuna | October 22, 2010 4:12 PM

Clearly it doesn't give the right to a job. But certainly we, the ones who pay his salary and his bosses (well, except for the money Soros put in) have a right to complain that he gets sacked while other infractions are ignored.
If NPR wants no input from their real bosses (us) then they should be happy to forfeit the salaries we give them or depend only on fundraising.

Posted by: Lynne5 | October 22, 2010 3:48 PM

This country already has a National News Media, the Voice of America which broadcasts on radio, online and publishes world news to the rest of the world, and in which the USA government controls the editorial content. Why do we need a quasi-government funded National Public Radio doing the same job domestically since VOA isn't allowed to broadcast or disseminate its report in the USA? I mean, what's the difference between the reports and news analyses on the VOA and NPR except who manages them and that VOA is directly all government funded and NPR is indirectly partially government funded and allowed to claim non-profit status for private sources of funds, such as from financier George Soros? At the least NPR ought to change its name. It's not a national public anything. It's a non-profit corporation of journalists who work for it located at NPR Offices, 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001. So in my mind its name ought to be Capitol Non-profit Corporation Radio, Washington, DC. Change the name to reflect the true private interests benefiting from the so-called National Public Radio. Tell the truth about NPR. It's not public anything. It's for private individuals on big salaries who manage it and share its annual end-of-year revenue in large bonuses after operating expenses just like any Wall Street Banker.

Posted by: thedefendantX | October 22, 2010 3:34 PM

Who cares why the company decided to fire him. Unlike most people who lose their jobs, he was immediately hired by Faux Entertainment for a substantial salary increase. He needs to take his marbles, which he obviously lost, go to the bank with the new cheese, and finally come out of the closet and show his true Conservative colors.

Posted by: clyben | October 22, 2010 3:30 PM

Wow!! The left sure is in defensive mode!! Hiding behind the Constitution they want to trash!!

Posted by: jjcrocket14 | October 22, 2010 3:30 PM

Of course he doesn't have a "right" to a job. However, he DOES have a right to suit for breach of contract. This WILL be FUN!

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 22, 2010 3:26 PM

Your column ignores the fact that the Muslim community in the US as well as in other western European countries has not seen fit to take a strong stand against the radical element many of which are generated within our midst. For this reason, my wife and I share the same feelings as Juan when we get on airplanes or other forms of public transportation.. Until I feel safe from radicals in the Muslim community, local as well as foreign, I will always be wary when I see them. The Sharia law and the face coverings and Burquas in Europe don't help the Muslim community in assimilation either.

Posted by: dunkp | October 22, 2010 3:21 PM

Perhaps the knee jerk management style of NPR will serve us well, but not how NPR envisioned.

For way too long, too many ‘NOT TOO BRIGHT BERTHA BETTER THAN YOUs’ have been serving as self appointed police of what one could say; where one could say it; when one could say it; and even who could say it.

In the majority of circles, these restrictions from self appointed ‘Better Than Yous’ is nothing more than INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY. To the ‘Berthas’, it is their self appointed duty to DICTATE to others how they believe, or their personal cowardice to face factual issues.

QUESTION: WHAT HAS THAT GAINED US?

Maybe the disastrous action by the NPR CEO will now cause us to be more willing to ‘tell it like it is’; QUIT the knee jerk reaction of perpetuating self induced sensitivities; and start putting on Big Boy and Big Girl pants and start dealing with issues, vice acting like a bunch of SPOILED LITTLE BRATS, WHO ARE JEALOUS THEY WERE NOT ASKED TO THE DANCE! THANK YOU FOR WAKING US UP MS. SCHILLER!

THE FIRST STEP IS TO DEFUND NPR, AND ALLOW THEM TO SINK OR SWIM ON THEIR OWN MERITS -- BUT NO LONGER ON THE TAXPAYER'S DIME!! MS. SCHILLER SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR SURFACING SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS WE CAN SAVE!

Posted by: wheeljc | October 22, 2010 3:12 PM

Sure, rehire Juan Williams...as soon as AP rehires Helen Thomas AND she gets back her no. 1 seat at Presidential news conferences.

Posted by: Garak | October 22, 2010 3:05 PM

Mr. Williams sees fellow airline passengers in "muslim garb" and fears that they may be terrorists on a mission. One of two things would seem to be true here: Either those other passengers are terrorists on a mission and are dumb enough to dress in Muslim garb and thereby call all sorts of attention to themselves or they are not terrorists and Mr. Williams is dumb enough to think that terrorists on a mission would dress that way. Your choice.

Posted by: TheOLeary | October 22, 2010 2:57 PM

Juan Williams is proving himself to be slime ball. That is somewhat natural given that he has to fit the mold of other slime balls at FOX. Yes, he is entitled to free-speech but does it mean he is entitled to a job where his views bring into question his credibility on a range of topics. Suppose he said that he is not comfortable white people. The same right wing slime balls would be calling for his head.

Posted by: kevin1231 | October 22, 2010 2:44 PM

Williams had been warned by NPR. In fact because of previous comments NPR told Williams to tell Fox to stop using "NPR News Political Analyst" under his picture.

From NPR in 2009 - http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2009/02/juan_williams_npr_and_fox_news_1.html.

He was a contract employee and if you don't adhere to your employers wishes you can be fired.

Posted by: rlj1 | October 22, 2010 2:34 PM

All the comments about NPR's legal rights to fire Williams are as diverting and misdirected as the nonsense about his first amendment rights. No serious person can argue that they have an absolute right to fire him. The question is whether or not they should. I hate to be labeled but I suppose if I have to append a political label on myself it would be liberal. So, I don't offer these comments from the right-wing perspective. But, how can we have a dialogue about these issues if we put a chill on public discourse by firing someone that offers up an opinion that is perhaps viewed as contrarian to the thinking of most of the people in NPR.

While we may believe that Williams is being overly-cautious by being afraid of "people in Muslim-garb" at airports, there is nothing inherently bigoted about his comments. He seemed to be saying that he knew that it was wrong to be concerned but it is sometimes part of human nature to do so. Are we so afraid of perhaps politically incorrect comments that we can's say to him, "Juan, I understand what you're saying but I disagree, and let's talk about why you feel that way and how we can all overcome these feelings." He was not espousing or lauding his feelings about this; he was simply explaining them.

Let's all try to be a little more tolerant - of people in "Muslim-like garb" and on those people who admit being a little afraid of them.

Posted by: dfm1231 | October 22, 2010 2:24 PM

NPR does not have a leg to stand on. They will now get what they deserve. Nothing!

Posted by: simple809 | October 22, 2010 2:23 PM

Another straw man argument by a liberal. Most people know this isn't a First Amendment issue because the First Amendment is directed to state actions. It is about the intolerance of the left and the left's attack on the free speech rights of people with whom they disagree. Some of us remember the Free Speech days when liberals aggressively championed the right of free, unfettered speech in the public arena. Now the liberals spend an enormous amount of time and energy preventing conservatives from speaking in public. Campus Speech codes, disruption of lectures, political correctness, and the bizarre, pathological obsession with Fox News have resulted from the liberals' attempts to deprive others of the right to speak. How sad to see such a wholesale sell out of values by a movement. Mario Savio would be disgusted. The reason liberals try to prevent conservatives from speaking is that they can't win the debate on the merits. They don't have a convincing philosophy and most people in the country are not liberals. So the liberals need to shut up people who espouse different ideas because they think that is the only way they can control the debate. What a bunch of pathetic losers. NPR is a perfect example of these ignorant lefties.

Posted by: beachbum09 | October 22, 2010 2:12 PM

The issue is that his right to speak his opinion *IS* constitutionally protected. So to fire him FOR speaking his opinion -just as you are speaking yours now- is a violation of his civil rights.

***********************************
Wrong - it is illegal for the government to restrict free speech. Your employer can pretty much do anything they want, as long as you can prove you were fired for the wrong reason.

If I walked into my place of employment and told a customer that "In my opinion, you are a jerk" - that I can't be fired?

What have you been smoking?

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | October 22, 2010 2:09 PM

Much ado about nothing by the lunatic right. Didn't Rick Sanchez get fired by CNN recently for making remarks about Jewish control of the media. Where was the lunatic right? Juan Williams makes ludicrous and bigoted statements about Muslims and the lunatic right predictably defends him.

As though Islamic terrorists would try to board a plane in traditional Arabic garments and speaking Arabic. All those who blew up planes and those who tried were dressed in western garments and speaking English. For that reason alone Juan Williams deserved to be fired...for being stupid.

Posted by: renegade2 | October 22, 2010 2:03 PM

Basically even if you don't have an employment contract, your employer cannot just fire you at will for any reason they feel like.

I don't think that the issue is that firing him is not legal because his job is constitutionally-protected. The issue is that his right to speak his opinion *IS* constitutionally protected. So to fire him FOR speaking his opinion -just as you are speaking yours now- is a violation of his civil rights.
-----------
Actually, in some states, like Maryland, they can. It's called employment at will. As long as it isn't discriminatory, yes, they can. Employment at will also gives the employee the right to walk out without two weeks notice, which I have done twice at jobs that sucked.

Chucklebuck, the two paragraphs of yours above make me think you don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about. You're just blowing smoke.

Posted by: bucinka8 | October 22, 2010 2:01 PM

Basically even if you don't have an employment contract, your employer cannot just fire you at will for any reason they feel like.

Posted by: chucklebuck
*******************************
What universe do you work on?

at will employment means that employees may generally quit their jobs at anytime and for any, no or even unfair reasons.

By the same token, employers may generally fire or layoff employees at anytime and for any, no or even unfair reasons. (That's the inference of the saying, "I serve at the pleasure of the board of directors.") However, employers are limited by exceptions, several of which are noted on the next page.

At will employment also means that employers may decline to hire job candidates for any, no or even unfair reasons, except for those noted on the next page.

Additionally, employment at will means that employers generally may change the terms or conditions of employment at anytime and for any reason; for example, an employer may change an at will employee's job description, work location, shift, salary or hourly pay, as long as the change is not unlawful retaliatory punishment or otherwise in violation of employment, labor or discrimination laws.

All states enforce at will employment to some degree. To ensure at will employees know that their employment is voluntary and indefinite, and to help avoid employee lawsuits, employers may legitimately ask employees to sign contracts or agreements that document and enforce the terms of at will employment.

Alternately or additionally, employers may document the terms of at will employment in policy manuals or similar documents, and then ask employees to sign contracts or agreements acknowledging that they've received, read, understand and will adhere to the terms. Many states consider policy manuals and similar documents to be enforceable implied contracts between employers and employees.

Employers and employees may legitimately waive certain at will employment rights through contracts and agreements. For example, union-employer collective bargaining agreements might stipulate the terms and conditions under which employers may and may not discharge union-protected employees under the Doctrine.


There are exceptions, but generally, unless you're being discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap status. Other reasons an employer may not use to fire an at-will employee are:

*for refusing to commit illegal acts
*for taking family or medical leave under FMLA.
*for not following own termination procedures as stated in company policy.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | October 22, 2010 2:00 PM

It's about time to demand political correctness from the Left. Some of them still defend mass killers like Lenin and Stalin.

Posted by: ravitchn | October 22, 2010 1:57 PM

The more I think about it, just who is watching NPR's news shows?

You'd have thought that most people would have the ability by now to realize that from NPR they only get the Left's version of issues. Even people on the left like to hear directly what the opposition has to say without the filter of talking heads distorting the facts.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | October 22, 2010 1:46 PM

Jane ... this is NOT a 1st Amendment case ... NPR is NOT the government so there is no Consitutional issue here. You should know this, it's basic Free Speech info that all journalists should be aware of.

As for being fired, depending on his contract he may have recourse. And there may be a good case for Slander Per Se thanks to the dumbness of NPR's President.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | October 22, 2010 1:42 PM

Partisan opinions have always been allowed on NPR....as long as they are left-wing. Conservative viewpoints have long been a very rare beast on public radio and public television programs. Isn't it time for a real change at NPR/PBS? After all this is a center-RIGHT nation, not a liberal majority one.

Posted by: honorswar26 | October 22, 2010 1:40 PM

Partisan opinions have always been allowed on NPR....as long as they are left-wing. Conservative viewpoints have long been a very rare beast on public radio and public television programs. Isn't it time for a real change at NPR/PBS? After all this is a center-RIGHT nation, not a liberal majority one.

Posted by: honorswar26 | October 22, 2010 1:39 PM

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said a news organization would not tolerate such commentary from a journalist about other racial, ethnic or religious minority groups.

That's incorrect - negative statements are made about the catholic church all the time and are tolerated.

People don't understand Islam - it has some hidden secrets that you only access if you read Arabic.

The prophet Mohammad was a spiritual wreck, lived a life more degraded than you can possibly imagine and forced upon his followers a dictatorial mindset that requires them to act viciously to non-muslims.

Now as people get more exposure to Islam they start to discover these basic facts.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't love muslims or pray for them or show them compassion but if they get to be 51% in your area watch out.

If they think they can take over they will try to ram down your throats the horrid mess called Islam.

Now do I think Juam Williams knows what I just aid - no - he doesn't read Arabic nor know anyone who does - but ask an Arab catholic what the Quaran actually says and you won't need to go to any halloween parties or get your hair frizzed.

Posted by: agapn9 | October 22, 2010 1:34 PM

Insightful and well-argued opinion; however, I take issue with the idea that any educated conservative really believes this is a violation of the first amendment. I think most of us are simply disgusted with the wave of political correctness sweeping the nation and the world.

That the individual is capable of developing an informed opinion about a controversial issue despite a variety of dissenting and often offensive opinions is the conservative ideology. The liberal need to 'protect' the public from frightening or controversial opinions and ideas may not violate the first amendment, but it unquestionably narrows the free exchange of ideas in society. I see little value to hiding one's feelings or feigning tolerance out of fear of offending the overly sensitive.

It's a shame a talented and intelligent analyst was fired for expressing a personal opinion that was in no way representative of NPR's official (politically correct and overtly liberal) stance.

Posted by: DrLove82 | October 22, 2010 1:29 PM

This reminds me of the Marion Barry days, when he knew they were watching him, but yet he continued to do what he did.

With Juan, he knew they were looking for an excuse to fire him, so, why not jump ship before it happened.

Now Juan, your image is knocked down a percentage, because honestly, with all that wisdom in your brain, to say something so stupid.

You deserve what you got, and so did your ego.

Posted by: weaverf | October 22, 2010 1:24 PM

Same thing here as with Helen Thomas. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I did see Juan Williams on Fox News yesterday (in my client's company cafeteria, yet--yup, they pipe Fox News in at work) and he certainly was given a broad berth to exercise his First Amendment rights there.

Oh, and by the way, KCUF NPR.

Posted by: bucinka8 | October 22, 2010 1:23 PM

There are more deserving unemployed people I prefer to worry about. And Williams isn't even unemployed. Fox will always be a safe haven for people who get nervous around other people who are different. Unless they happen to be white and wave guns around.

Posted by: SarahBB | October 22, 2010 1:23 PM

Did NPR Fire Williams Preemptively?
As none of the 9-11 terrorists who hijacked the airplanes dressed in "Muslim garb," isn’t being “nervous” or “worried” about people dressed in Arab-clothing on planes just as irrational as being concerned about seeing Catholic priests in their garb standing near or alone with little boys? Or did NPR fire Juan Williams preemptively before he mentioned his fear of seeing priests with little boys?

Posted by: ljpipes | October 22, 2010 1:21 PM

Riiiight....if Juan said he gets nervous when he gets on a plane and sees a bunch of Tea party folks,,,he would have gotten a raise and an invite to Soros tax haven in Curacao...

Posted by: mjandrews8 | October 22, 2010 1:16 PM

Hey, Juan, the terrorists' who attacked us on 9/11 were not wearing "Muslim Garbs" neither were those who have tried since than.....Now what?

Posted by: october30 | October 22, 2010 1:14 PM

Many of the arguments in favor of sacking Williams are based on straw-man arguments. Williams, for example, didn't say that Muslims were evil or anything like that.He said that Muslims in full regalia made him nervous. That is probably more of a commentary on Williams than Muslims -- why shouldn't Williams reveal his own weakness?

Now, NPR says that this reveals that he is biased. Which is better -- revealing that you are biased or concealing that you are biased? Presumably NPR is perfectly happy if a commentator is biased, as long as he doesn't admit it. But the first step toward curing yourself of a weakness is to admit it, and NPR doesn't want any of its commentators to cure themselves.

I was previously a fan of NPR and not a fan of Williams. Now I am not a fan of either, but I think that Williams got a raw deal. NPR abandoned the chance of having a "teachable moment" by discussing the issue with Williams rather than firing him. This was a disservice to Muslims as well as to listeners who liked Williams. It was a disservice to Muslims because it will only fan the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment, as unjustified as it is.

Posted by: geneven | October 22, 2010 1:12 PM

I think this is a very good piece. I saw nothing particularly offensive about Williams' remarks and to characterize them as racist is quite a reach. I have heard similar comments about other groups of people, including my own, routinely in the media, and I do not recall any collective outrage about them. The real issue here is whether Williams can expect to be regarded as a legitimate journalist and also work for FOX News, which is merely a propaganda vehicle. Would you trust your internist if he worked on the weekend as a witch doctor?

Posted by: lkiff | October 22, 2010 1:11 PM

I LIKE JUAN. HE WAS THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT AT FOX. NO...HE ISN'T ENTITLED TO ANYTHING EXCEPT EQUAL TREATMENT. NINA TOKENBIRD GETS AWAY WITH CHEAP SHOTS. WHAT KEEPS HER ON THE JOB? THE PRESIDENT OF NPR SHOULD BE ON PROBATION BY THE TIME MY COMMENTS IS POSTED. NO? WHY NOT?

Posted by: DANSHANTEAL1 | October 22, 2010 1:11 PM

Why doesn’t Juan Williams just admit that he is willingly being groomed for a position as an Uncle Tom for the empire?

Posted by: since1492 | October 22, 2010 1:03 PM

It is certainly true that an employer has the right to restrict employee statements that directly apply to his or her job. But it is also very important to protect a right of an employee to make public statements that differ from the political opinions of their employer. My former employer had a book that defined the situations where an employee was expected to constrain their behavior because of the demands of the company's business practices. Employees were required to periodically review this book. It is also true that there is a reasonable concern about the use of language that has a history of provoking racial or ethnic division and that there is a particular concern about people whose job is presenting media content. But there is also a real concern about a demand for political correctness from the publically funded media. I can believe that if I understood exactly what Williams said and the context he said it in, I might conclude that he had stepped over the acceptable line. But NPR would be in a much better position if they had clearly documented standards and some kind of formal procedure that established that Williams had violated them. It also seems likely that this case would have been better served by a discussion with Williams to determine if there was a real difference between his attitudes and NPR policy. If the problem was just some careless talk, it seems like it could have been resolved by a clarification by Williams of what his attitudes actually are and by NPR of what standards they expect from their employees.

Posted by: dnjake | October 22, 2010 12:57 PM

Another Bigot joins Fox Commentary!

Posted by: beachbum1938 | October 22, 2010 12:57 PM

Look, I believe Negroes are shiftless and lazy. I'm sorry but its a feeling I have. Its just an "opinion" of mine. I also believe Hispanics are looking to steal everything I own. Its my "feeling". I'm clearly not bigotted. Right??

Posted by: rwjackson | October 22, 2010 12:54 PM

I beleive that Juan Williams is an intelligent and educated man who should have learned well the lessons of the last fifty years, but did not. Since the late sixties I and most others have KNOWN what would follow when a sentence begins "I am not a bigot, but...". The sentence will conclude with proof that the speaker harbors bigoted preconceptions that he has not acknowledged, even to himself, has not thought through, and has not dealt with.

In this case, what the hell does Juan Williams think "Muslim Dress" is? Is it the Yasser Arafat Arab headress and robes? Is it the khakis, short sleeved shirt, and loose turban of a pakistani laborer? Is it the floor length robe and small round fez/cap of the West African Mahgreb? Is it the Burka of an Iranian woman, or the modest dress and headcovering shawl the Reverend Farrakhan has his ladies wear? These forms of dress do not proclaim an individual as Muslim any more than Mr Williams suit and tie proclaim him a Christian.

A thoughtful educated man has no business thinking, even for a moment, that a traditional form of dress makes someone a dangerous criminal. When he makes such a gaffe in a public forum he should withdraw in embarassment and get his act together.

Posted by: angusgoodson | October 22, 2010 12:53 PM

Good for NPR .. we can't have conservative opinions being shared .. especially on the FOX network. I think all the computers of all NPR employees should be analyzed and any Fox or O'Reilly web visits should also result in termination. And if anyone purchased or was given books written by Juan... the books should be burned and the employees terminated. This is a good 1st step.

Posted by: sarno | October 22, 2010 12:50 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the First Amendment protects me from the government limiting my speech. If I have a private economic relationship with someone, however, they can limit my speech to any extent they please as terms of that relationship, can they not? NPR is quite simply allowed to do this, whether it was because the episode devalued his objectivity (I'll buy that, by the way. Juan's journalistic stock has been going down for years, I think) or simply because the statement wasn't liberal enough for them (preposterous). When someone says the phrase "First Amendment" during one of these episodes it strikes me as, I'm afraid, rather ignorant.

Posted by: sonoratheatrewrx | October 22, 2010 12:48 PM

Agree absolutely on both counts, Mr. William's free speech, and NPR's right to fire him over said speech. I would like to add, however, that NPR has no inherent right to taxpayer funding. State funded "journalism" is simply propaganda.

Posted by: cwejohnson | October 22, 2010 12:44 PM

Ok, I get that. But how can an organization that receives public funding fire a guy for saying how he feels when he's not "clocked in"?

NPR needs to lose public funding - you can't have it both ways.

Posted by: appaino | October 22, 2010 12:40 PM

Ms. McGregor,

While I agree that Mr. Williams should not be guaranteed a job (nor should you or I, for that matter), NPR's rationale for his termination is utterly preposterous.

Particularly given NPR's toleration of others on its staff (Ms. Totenberg, in particular) whose on-air, documented pontificating has been well beyond controversial and moved into the territory of defamation.

NPR's ghastly mishandling of the matter only lends credence to those who would have us believe the public's radio network is a political partisan preaching a rigid line of dogma while attempting to masquerade as a legitimate, credible news source.

As a side note, it is truly lamentable that news organizations once trusted by the public to deliver accurate, concise, objective reporting have devolved into using their positions as purveyors of information for partisan political purposes.

Unfortunately NPR chose to inextricably wade into this swamp and thereby sacrifice its credibility on the altar of political hypocrisy and also remove any future need to give NPR's reporting serious consideration of any kind.

Posted by: jphays | October 22, 2010 12:37 PM

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and Juan Willams had been warned about his behavior while at the Washington Post and at NPR. NPR, like any other company, private or public, documented his behavior which was not inline with the values, standards and best practices of the organization. His behavior affected the company, particularly when it came to stardards of reporting. Williams had been demoted. He was warned. There was documentation, and NPR did what any other company would have done - they severed ties with the employee.

Most people don't or never worked in a leadership or management position where they have to deal with this of employee infraction. It is more common than you think, and a lot of companies fire employees for comments made inside and/or outside the organization. It has nothing to do with First Admendment rights. It's business. It is how business operates. The president of NPR was looking out for the organization and did the right thing.

Williams knew this was coming. He probably set it up so that FOX would offer him a job. His salary has more than tripled. Williams is not a dumb man. He knew what he was saying. He saw an opportunity to make more money and he went for it.

Posted by: LeeShawnNelson | October 22, 2010 12:34 PM

What is all this talk about Juan giving an "opinion." He stated a fact, i.e. "I get nervous." I read NPR's ombudsman's take on the matter. I agree that fox news is biased. However, after reading the garbage explanations on NPR, regarding this fiasco, no one in their right mind could say that NPR isn't also biased. I like NPR, but like a comment made above, I've made my last donation for the programing. How about the CEO's comment re Juan seeing a psychiatrist. Now that is an "opinion" ladies and gents. Can you get past your left/right blinders to see the difference between a fact and an opinion. I thought not!

Posted by: Fergie303 | October 22, 2010 12:28 PM

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and Juan Willams had been warned about his behavior while at the Washington Post and at NPR. NPR, like any other company, private or public, documented his behavior which was inline with the values, standards and best practices of the organization. His behavior affected the company, particularly when it came to stardards of reporting. Williams had been demoted. He was warned. There was documentation, and NPR did what any other company would have done - they severed ties with the employee.

Most people don't or never worked in a leadership or management position where they have to deal with this of employee infraction. It is more common than you think, and a lot of companies fire employees for comments made inside and/or outside the organization. It has nothing to do with First Admendment rights. It's business. It is how business operates. The president of NPR was looking out for the organization and did the right thing.

Williams knew this was coming. He probably set it up so that FOX would offer him a job. His salary has more than tripled. Williams is not a dump man. He knew what he was saying. He saw an opportunity to make more money and he went for it.

Posted by: LeeShawnNelson | October 22, 2010 12:26 PM

I agree that firing him is not a violation of his first amendment rights. But, I think it is also clear that he wasn't just stating an opinion with no context. He was voicing actual feelings that he, and many other perfectly rational and non-bigoted people feel, when seeing people who openly identify themselves as belonging to a belief system that contains many, albeit a minority, of adherents that are engaging in violent acts against civilians in this country. Feelings regarding Muslims since 9/11 are complicated and Williams was expressing the experience of trying to reconcile his knowledge of the fact that not all Muslims are terrorists but that there do seem to be events transpiring around the US and the world that give a rational person pause. If you read the entire statement it is clear that Williams was giving a thoughtful expression of the internal conflict that many of us are experiencing in which the facts dictate that many Muslims do want to attack us and that our values and rationality also inform our behavior which prohibit us from including all Muslims in this group. The fact that NPR would fire Williams from discussing these very understandable manifestations of a very common and human reaction to world events goes further to prevent an open discussion of this issue. We can't truly move forward with our ability to behave according to our values while at the same time paying attention to the consequences of specific Islamist threats unless we are able to have open and honest conversations. As uncomfortable as it may be for many Muslims and for the politically-correct editorial staff at NPR, the facts are attacks in the name of Islam are happening and this will have an impact on how Islam and its adherents are viewed and understood. Pretending Islam has played no role in this and blaming such apprehensions about Muslims on some trumped-up charge of bigotry does nothing to address the problem. What NPR has done is revealed not that it has editorial standards or "impartiality" but, rather, that certain facts and actual experiences and expressions of those experiences will not be tolerated if they are not aligned with the world view NPR represents. As a long-time every-day listener of NPR, a committed liberal, and one who really appreciates hearing from divergent views, including those with which I disagree, I find the dismissal of Williams to be a disgrace. Shame on NPR.

Posted by: rentianxiang | October 22, 2010 12:23 PM

Firing an employee for speaking his opinion is NOT a violation of his civil rights. None of us can walk into work and make inflammatory or degrading comments and expect to keep our jobs. The federal government cannot pass a law that says Juan Williams can't speak his mind, but that doesn't protect him from being fired. Nobody has a constitutional right to have a specific job.

Posted by: jake14 | October 22, 2010 12:22 PM

As long as williams was on stage, then he IS representing NPR. If he were home, in a private setting that is different. Fox news does want news, they want opinion, and they got it. Williams should have known that he was a reporter, and all times, and that he should remain independent of personal opinions. We want news when we listen to NPR, not opinion , as you get on Fox.

Posted by: bake2011 | October 22, 2010 12:16 PM

"I call BS on these for 2 reasons:

1) Juan was representing his own opinion on Fox News. He was NOT representing NPR, he did not mention NPR he was in no way associating himself with NPR while he was on Fox"

well, there's 3) he's well known for working on FOX.

He had been a Fox analyst for 3 years before NPR hired him to do analysis for them as well. And I dare say that Fox has a far bigger audience than NPR.

like I said earlier these people are simply trying to rationalize their irrational, emotional response to what he said, which was, in and of itself, entirely rational. Classic "kill the messenger".

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 12:04 PM

This is like the NSO hiring a violinist who plays jazz violin for a blues band to play classical music. Then complaining that the fact that he plays jazz violin "undermines his credibility as a serious classical violinist".

Now you're arguing that he has no right to play jazz on his violin and that that doesn't make it wrong for the NSO to fire him for playing jazz. And the other guy is arguing that the NSO can fire him at will for any reason they feel like. And that's not the case either.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 12:01 PM

"But he is well known enough that he represents NPR, even if his TV tagline says otherwise."

And:

"But I take issue with the defense that Williams' First Amendment rights are being violated. Countless employees have been fired for speaking their minds in ways that could potentially damage their employer. That's especially true in an age of social media, when employees are only one tweet or blog post away from saying something that hurts the company they work for. "

I call BS on these for 2 reasons:

1) Juan was representing his own opinion on Fox News. He was NOT representing NPR, he did not mention NPR he was in no way associating himself with NPR while he was on Fox. Since he was NOT representing NPR, he was ONLY representing himself ON HIS OWN TIME, he was NOT ON NPR's CLOCK, then he is ENTITLED to say what he believes. You're justification that it is an embarrassment to NPR is not justification enough to fire someone. NO COMPANY OWNS A PERSON 24 HOURS A DAY. When you are NOT on company time, you can say, do, etc. as you please so long as you can show up for work in the morning.

2) NPR IS violating 1st Amendment rights because they get substantial government funding. As such, they are a defacto arm of government.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | October 22, 2010 11:58 AM

"Didn't hear this kind of outcry by conservatives when 'heir own' were being fired for not being in lock-step with he far right."

True. But they are honest enough to admit that they would fire employees for not toeing the party-line.

This is what hypocrisy gets you.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:52 AM

"I tend to agree with Adam Serwer that more might have come from a reprimand and a public dialogue about Williams' comments."

...and what would have been the basis for the reprimand? That he shouldn't admit in public that he gets scared when he sees Muslims get on his airplane?

What is ludicrous here is the eagerness of so many people to pick hairs out of this meal of complete honesty and rationality and try to nail him to the wall because they found a few hairs. You don't like what he said. You find it regrettable, that he said what he said. But he said it because it's the complete and honest truth and MILLIONS of people feel the same way for perfectly-legitimate reasons.

Still you sit here trying to rationalize shutting him up instead of just *ADMITTING* it. Let's put some heart-rate monitors on all the people talking about firing this guy and put them on a plane and let someone in "Muslim garb" walk onto the plane and see what happens. Those who have a spike in heart-rate are instantly dismissed from the discussion. How do you deal with a two year old child who starts crying out of fear when she sees the same person? You going to fire the child for being "voicing their irrational opinion in public"? That fear is perfectly rational and millions of air passengers deal with it on a regular basis. It's beyond time for you people to stop committing legal hara-kari.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:48 AM

...if employers could fire employees at will for any reason at all, then every employee would be a sitting-duck at the whim of any and every employer. You wouldn't have sexual-harassment and wrongful-termination lawsuits. You wouldn't have any harassment lawsuits at all.

They could fire you for refusing to do twice the work at half your current salary. They could fire you for not working well outside of your normal work requirements, for not acting as their personal secretary 24/7, not accompanying them on business trips, and so forth. Your work obligations would never end. Especially not in a work market where they could open their desks and find 500 resumes from people eager to take your job at a lower salary...

No, firing him for issuing opinions on another network, that *is* harassment. It's an abuse of his constitutionally-protected right to free speech. I pretty-much have to disagree with this entire article. It may not be a criminal-act in and of itself, but it is still wrong and indeed criminal for other reasons.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:41 AM

Basically even if you don't have an employment contract, your employer cannot just fire you at will for any reason they feel like.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:34 AM

"Your boss or mine could simply say, "we're letting you go" and have someone accompany us off the premises.

Which is what NPR ought to have done."

You don't have an employment contract with your employer. He did.

...beyond that the basic premise of his employment is that he provides a value to the company for his salary.

If you're then going to fire him as a result you are saying that he wasn't matching that value. Sure: a company can generally let an employee go at will, but they have to balance that out against the loss of productivity. I get on a talk show and say something that my boss doesn't like, he turns around and fires me as a result then it's pretty clear that I wasn't adding much if any value to the organization.

But in this case NPR is contractually obligated to pay him. It's hardly that simple. Seems to me that the sheer fact that he issues an opinion somewhere else, outside of his work with NPR, or even a series of opinions, doesn't justify breaking an employment contract unless it specifically stipulates that he will not do that. His First Amendment protections aside, which of course are a concern as well. They would be entirely meaningless if your employer could just fire you at will simply for exercising them.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:30 AM

How can you possibly be an objective news analyst if you don't present both sides? Williams said that, on one hand, he can understand how people are nervous when they see Muslims on planes, but on the other, we all should guard against painting all Muslims with a broad stroke. How, on Earth, could he have possibly been more objective than that? And I am a card-carrying Democrat.

Posted by: cedmo | October 22, 2010 11:29 AM

First Amendment violation? I was not away that the government had passed a law limiting Williams' ability to say anything.

Posted by: dane1 | October 22, 2010 11:26 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/10/21/npr.analyst.fired/index.html?hpt=T2

"Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- NPR's president and CEO defended Thursday the network's decision to terminate the contract of Juan Williams after the news analyst made remarks elsewhere that she said veered from analysis into opinion, adding that it was not the first time.

"Juan Williams is a news analyst; he is not a commentator and he is not a columnist," Vivian Schiller said at an Atlanta Press Club luncheon. "We have relied on him over the years to give us perspective on the news, not to talk about his opinions.""

...from the horses' mouth.

End of issue.

Seriously these guys need to speak to a good lawyer. They are blowing holes in their own case.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:23 AM

"Your boss or mine could simply say, "we're letting you go" and have someone accompany us off the premises.

Which is what NPR ought to have done."

You don't have an employment contract with your employer. He did.

Come back when you get a clue of what you're talking about.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:20 AM

From what I understand, they did express concerns to him several times. That was apparent when he went from being a reporter to "news analyst." He obviously did not heed their warnings.

In your world and mine, when we're reprimanded, our bosses give us the opportunity to correct our "behaviors," but at some point, you'll be fired if you keep doing the same thing. That's what happened to him. Fortunately for him, unlike a lot of Americans, he rebounded from being fired the very same day.

Posted by: snj1 | October 22, 2010 11:20 AM

"But there's another way to look at this issue. If you stop and think about it, countless other companies would do the same thing, which means invoking the First Amendment rationale here simply makes no sense. "

I don't think that the issue is that firing him is not legal because his job is constitutionally-protected. The issue is that his right to speak his opinion *IS* constitutionally protected. So to fire him FOR speaking his opinion -just as you are speaking yours now- is a violation of his civil rights.

So they are trying to say that in speaking his opinion he demonstrated that he was incompetent to hold his position at NPR, and unable to meet his contractual obligations to them. Fine. They can try to defend that in a civil suit. Especially since he had been employed by Fox for 3 years before NPR picked him up. You are trying to argue that the fact that a barrel is round does not mean that it can hold water. I don't think that any rational person is really trying to say that it holds water because it is round. It holds water because it is watertight. You can't rationalize terminating an employees' contract simply for speaking his opinion even if you don't agree with it or you "don't like it". Even journalists have the right to speak their opinions. As a contracted party you do not have the right to pick and choose which constitutional rights you will tolerate on the part of the other contracted party, and which ones you will use as a basis for terminating the contract.

So sure they can fire him. But he can also sue them in court for wrongful termination and failure to abide by the terms of his employment contract. They will end up paying him the balance of his contract.

Posted by: chucklebuck | October 22, 2010 11:09 AM


Didn't hear this kind of outcry by conservatives when 'heir own' were being fired for not being in lock-step with he far right.

Williams wasn;t punished by the government for what he said - he is just going to be replaced by a younger, more qualified candidate.

For which he has been rewarded with a $2M contract with Fox.

Where's his beef?

Your boss or mine could simply say, "we're letting you go" and have someone accompany us off the premises.

Which is what NPR ought to have done.

Posted by: practica1 | October 22, 2010 11:08 AM

It is ok for Nina Totenberg to spout outrageous opinion bordering on viciousness but Juan Williams cannot saY MUSLIMS MAKE HIM NERVOUS. NPR MAKES ME NERVOUS AND SO DOES GEORGE SOROS WHO WORKED FOR THE NAZIS IN BUDAPEST IN 1944.

Posted by: ravitchn | October 22, 2010 11:05 AM

Juan now demands defunding of NPR. It's clear his heart belonged to FOX, even as his wallet was being funded by NPR.

I always wondered how NPR could be so blind. They hired a guy who SUPPORTED Clarence Thomas when it was clear Thomas wasn't qualified----even before the Anita Hill incident.

Posted by: sufi66 | October 22, 2010 10:52 AM

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