There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.... After all we have been through. Just to think we can't walk down our own streets, how humiliating.Oh, I'm sorry, that was Jesse Jackson.
NPR just fired Juan Williams for making a similar statement about Muslims on airplanes. Williams, a frequent commentator on FoxNews who is ruthlessly fair [added: in criticizing left and right], has been a target of groups such as Media Matters, which is receiving a $1 million donation from George Soros to go to war against FoxNews.
Williams had the temerity -- just like Jackson on the issue of inner city crime -- to acknowledge that stereotypes affect how he views the issue of terrorism and people dressed in "Muslim garb," but he also acknowledged that such stereotypes were not fair:
Not suprisingly, the mainstream media is coming to NPR's defense. The Washington Post, in a supposed news story, calls Williams' remarks "anti-Muslim," linking to an edited video posted by Think Progress (which also is at war with FoxNews) which cut off Williams' comments, to delete where Williams pointed out "it's not a war against Muslims."
The hypocrisy of NPR is enormous, but more important, counterproductive. Unlike Helen Thomas' comments about Jews in Israel, Williams did not tell Muslims to get out of the U.S. Williams did the exact opposite of Thomas; Williams acknowledged the reality of negative stereotypes -- which we all have to varying degrees -- as a means of informing his own view.
A more mature NPR would use this as a discussion point, not a firing offense. But then again, NPR is not mature, it is a highly politicized organization with an agenda, masquerading as a neutral voice for the public.
Many of those defending NPR's decision note that Williams was not sufficiently progressive for NPR, and had it coming to him:
In my view, Williams has lacked credibility for years. He's a conservative who pretends to be progressive on some issues. NPR has known this and struggled with it for a long time, yet they kept him on, demoting him from journalist to "analyst" (i.e. pundit.) Good for NPR for finally getting rid of him. Better late than never.This firing was about politics, and taking down a prominent black FoxNews commentator who did not fit the progressive model:
What Juan Williams did is very similar to why the Left hates Sarah Palin, other conservative women and conservative homosexuals. He played against the progressive stereotype of himself, revealing a balanced and too candid humanity within. For a moment, in essence, he became too real...
Well, if Juan Williams is impacted by the behavior of Muslims, then progressives - and NPR is that, can't lecture white America that their concerns are based on hate, religious intolerance, bigotry or xenophobia. Juan Williams didn't drop his mask and reveal any Islamophobia last night on Fox. What he did was rip the mask off the tactics NPR and other progressives, including the liberal media, use to lecture America and prevent an honest discussion of the threat from Islam.Just more proof that NPR will not be the dominant force in news by 2020.
Update: Here is how Glenn Greenwald -- who uses the slur "Israel Firsters" to attack American Jews who strongly support Israel -- frames the issue:
On Tuesday night, Williams went on O'Reilly's program to perform his standard, long-time function on Fox -- offering himself up as the supposed "liberal" defending Fox News commentators (and other right-wing extremists) from charges of bigotry and otherwise giving cover to incendiary right-wing attacks...That's right. Media Matters, Think Progress, and Glenn Greenwald were just waiting for the excuse to take down Williams, and they found it by using out-of-context statements to label Williams a bigot.
I think Bernie Goldberg has it right:
"So Juan Williams is fired for saying something the liberals at NPR find controversial?" Goldberg said. "One more piece of evidence that liberals have forgotten how to be liberal."Also, via Doug Mataconis, Morning Joe points out the full context of Williams' comments, which as described by Mataconis, were far from bigoted:
Goldberg continued: "These are the kind of people who brag about how open-minded they are -- as long as you agree with them. And here's the dirty little secret: lots and lots of liberals feel the same way Juan does when they get on an airplane. And a lot of those liberals work at NPR. Juan's 'crime' was saying it out loud."
To call Williams’ remarks an example of bigotry, as some lefty blogs have done, strikes me as simply absurd once you watch the whole segment. In fact, it seems to me that Williams was making, in a different context, pretty much the same point that Shirley Sherrod was about how we all need to get beyond our irrational prejudices.
Via HotAir, The Right Scoop has the full six minute segment, with this analysis by Ed Morrissey:
With the exception of the very beginning, when Williams made the statement that so offended NPR, Williams and Mary Katharine [Ham] took a position mainly opposite of Bill O’Reilly, with both stating that the distinction between extremist Muslims and the rest was an important one to make, Mary Katharine more for strategic purposes, and Williams on journalistic grounds.--------------------------------------------
But then again, Williams was arguing for tolerance, and that apparently violates NPR’s “editorial standards and practices.” Clearly, NPR only wants opinion journalists that agree with the opinions of NPR, and I mean totally agree. An NPR opinion journalist had better not admit to having a normal human reaction about potential for terrorism nine years after 3,000 Americans got killed by radical Muslims on commercial air flights, or else. The rest of NPR’s cast just got an object lesson about the range of opinion tolerated by management.
But, hey, that’s NPR’s prerogative. After all it’s not as if they’re government sponsored in any way. Oh, wait ...
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