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Firing Juan

— Every once in a while National Public Radio steps into something big, soft and smelly and they did it this week when they fired news analyst Juan Williams.

In case you don’t know, Williams was on the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox News talking about Muslims and terrorist attacks. He said, “When I get on a plane, I’ve got to tell you if I see people who are in Muslim garb, and I think they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Taken out of context, it was a stupid comment. Taken in the context of his whole debate with O’Reilly, it was still prejudicial and nonsensical. But it was tempered by his stated belief that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. He said blaming Muslims for 9-11 was like blaming Christians for the terrorist attack of Timothy McVeigh.

So why did NPR fire Juan Williams? The network’s CEO, Vivian Schiller, said it was NOT because he expressed a stupid opinion. It was because he expressed any opinion whatsoever.

“Our reporters, our hosts and our news analysts should not be injecting their own views about a controversial issue as part of their story. They should be reporting the story," she said.

NPR calls Juan Williams a “news analyst,” not a commentator. Those are supposed to be different things and Williams (we’re told) committed the sin of stepping over the line that separates them. Unfortunately, it’s a fine line and I think most journalists would be hard pressed to explain the difference between one and the other.

Maybe an analyst can tell you why we did a troop surge in Afghanistan, but he’s not allowed to tell you whether it was a good idea.

But such subtle journalistic delineations are beyond the ken of your average news consumer. All he or she knows is that Williams was fired for appearing on Fox News and for making a politically incorrect statement, and that must mean that NPR is a slave to political correctness.

I do wonder why NPR suddenly got so upset at Juan Williams for stating opinions. Williams has made a career of being a TV pundit. Has he never expressed an opinion on the war in Iraq or American health care reform? I’m just asking!

I’m guessing that NPR didn’t like Juan Williams’ approach to his job and they finally got fed up. It’s not unlike what happened in the case of Bob Edwards, who was put out to pasture after many years of hosting Morning Edition. NPR management got tired of Edwards refusing to work with a co-host and sleep-walking through his air shift, and they finally had enough.

The difference, in the case of Juan Williams, was the network’s hasty, poor timing. If this was the final straw, they could have waited for the controversy about his statement to blow over and then given Juan the ax in the dark of night.

For me, the larger issue is NPR’s approach to journalism. Isn’t commentary part of the legitimate practice of journalism? Juan Williams may not be the best example. But what about Mike Royko? What about Jimmy Breslin? What about Maureen Dowd? Commentary has a long, proud history in this business, and I’d like to know why NPR considers it anathema to its news culture.

Because – let’s face it – a lot of people think NPR has a liberal bias anyway, and the firing of Juan Williams has simply made them believe they were right all along.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Lu'

Lu | October 24, 2010 at 9:20 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I am as unhappy about the way NPR fired Juan Williams, as I am at the act itself.

It's another example of how hard the lines are between left and right and how rigid and uncompromising supposed liberal thinkers have become. If Mr. Williams was irritating NPR, or acted badly in their view, after all the years he worked for them, they might have called him in and spoken to him quietly.

That said, I've been a supporter of NPR for decades, but I find our nation's political future bleak, if they too have decided the only way to win the game is to go helmet to helmet.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | October 24, 2010 at 12:48 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Hey Lu. I'm glad you brought up "the way" NPR fired Juan Williams since that's another thing that's troubling about the event. Williams says the network's VP for news fired him over the phone. If that's true, the least she could have done is delivered the news to his face. Another aspect of this incident is Williams' race. In an essay he wrote about his firing, Juan Williams claimed to be the only black person NPR had on the air. That sounds far-fetched to me, though it's certainly true that African Americans on NPR are hard to find. Race shouldn't prevent a network of firing people if it's warranted. But cultural and ethnic diversity does help bring a diversity of views to a network's news coverage. So that factor can't be dismissed in the case of Juan Williams.

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Avatar for user 'nirusenk'

nirusenk | October 24, 2010 at 6:03 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I am boycotting KPBS (NPR) until Jaun Williams is reinstated.

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Avatar for user 'Lu'

Lu | October 24, 2010 at 10:34 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I find it (almost) amusing that NPR didn't want anyone to know that Williams was also on Fox. I can't believe I'm the only who figured that out by listening to both networks! And why not be pleased at having a contributor respected by major news programs of very different opinions? And as you pointed out, Tom,
an African American at that!

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | October 25, 2010 at 9:01 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I salute Juan Williams' courage to say what he said publicly and have no respect for NPR for firing him for his honesty. If Juan would have made those same comments about white supremacists boarding a plane this wouldn't have been an issue, but instead he made the comment about Muslims, and for some reason despite the Quran being full of explicit passages of intolerance, hatred, and graphic violence against non-Muslims we're supposed to all ignore that and just pretend that the reality of those passages are covered up with lots of peace and love from it's adherents. Juan simply said what most rational and informed non-Muslims feel about being in close quarters with these people. Can we trust a person who claims to be one thing when their book states something quite contrary, and their actions around the world display an adherence to ideas that are radically out of step with western society?

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | October 25, 2010 at 1:56 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm not surprised that NPR fired Juan Williams. With mutli-million dollar contributions from Soros, they can't have people who comment on Fox News contaminating their orthodoxy.

Now, I don't mind that NPR has a left-wing bias --no, it's not what "a lof of people think," it's the reality. What I mind is this more-tolerant-than-thou sanctimony that acts as though that, by virtue of being left-wing, they are more open-minded. The firing of Juan Williams demonstrates they are just intolerant as those they distance themselves from: Rush, Beck, Hannity.

What I also mind is that such indoctrination occurs on the paytaxers' dime. If I'm not allowed to use a voucher to teach my child in a Catholic school, NPR is not entitled to a voucher to indoctrinate a hatred of Catholicism and a love of Islam.

Speaking of Catholic, what if Williams was asked about how he feels when he sees a Catholic priest, in a Roman collar, sitting next to a child in an airplane? Would Williams had been fired if he expressed "nervousness" about that priest?

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | October 25, 2010 at 3:15 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Today, NPR affiliate stations like KPBS heard from NPR CEO Vivian Schiller on the firing of Juan Williams. I've already given my view of what happened, so I'll pass along part of her letter to stations without comment.

"Juan Williams’ comments on Fox News last Monday were the latest in a series of deeply troubling incidents over several years. In each of those instances, he was contacted and the incident was discussed with him. He was explicitly and repeatedly asked to respect NPR's standards and to avoid expressing strong personal opinions on controversial subjects in public settings, as that is inconsistent with his role as an NPR news analyst. After this latest incident, we felt compelled to act.

"I acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree about timing: whether NPR should have ended our relationship with Juan Williams earlier, on the occasion of other incidents; or whether this final episode warranted immediate termination of his contract.

"In any event, the process that followed the decision was unfortunate – including not meeting with Juan Williams in person – and I take full responsibility for that." -Vivian Schiller

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Avatar for user 'JTS'

JTS | October 25, 2010 at 4:54 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Juan Williams has moved on - NPR's loss, in my view. This part of the story is finished.

The unresolved part is more worrisome. The mismanagement of this affair is appalling! NPR has a great legacy which will be eroded quickly by inept leadership. It's not possible for any of us to determine whether Vivian Schiller is competent, but her "psychiatrist" comments in Atlanta should be viewed as a standards violation equal to (or greater than) Juan's. I'd like to see the affiliates organization insist that NPR's board take ownership of this problem and assure us all that a thorough, independent review is conducted immediately. NPR has accepted $1.8M from George Soros. Competent leadership is required to manage the relationship with his group and other influencers who would seek to mold the network's contribution.

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Avatar for user 'marcg'

marcg | October 25, 2010 at 10:04 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

NPR needs to re-examine what type of an news organization it wants to be. If Juan Williams is considered too far to the right for its taste, then we all should understand that NPR desires to be an extreme left wing organization. The $1.8M from George Soros combined with the Williams firing seems to be a clear message for what type of programing will shown in the future. I would like to understand how much Independence affiliates really have before I donate any more money.

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | October 26, 2010 at 8:33 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

What exactly were those "series of deeply troubling incidents?" The only other one that the Ombudsman mentions is referring to Michelle Obama as Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress. While not exactly polite, two incidents does not equal a "series." Also, it seems that the two comments he made which were taken as right-wing in tenor are "deeply troubling" to NPR managment, but the 99.9% of his comments that are left-wing in tenor roll off NPR management like water off a duck's back.

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Avatar for user 'jb1111'

jb1111 | October 26, 2010 at 9:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I am sorry, KPS.

I have donated to you in the past and was about to do so just now. I like the science documentaries. But after the NPR mess, I will not be doing so again.

Long ago I decided your news and commentary were slanted and stopped watching those. Travis Smiley is especially unprofessional.

I am writing my Congressman and Senators state and National to demand that Tax Payer Dollars be stopped as a subsidy to your endeavors as I do not feel there is equal representation of political views presented by you and NPR.

Political correctness is the most effective form of censorship yet invented.

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Avatar for user 'RussInMM'

RussInMM | October 26, 2010 at 2:12 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I think NPR did Williams a big favor, and did itself a disservice. Mr. Williams now has a nice fat salary from Fox News, and he can be as politically incorrect as he likes.
As for whether NPR is a good organization or a bad one -- it's a silly question. They make missteps like any other organization. On balance, it's very easy (at least for me) to see that they're a worthy organization that does far more good than ill. It's not a binary good vs. evil choice -- and precious few things are, although if I were considering Fox News and/or Rupert Murdoch...
NPR will learn from its errors and move on. Juan Williams will make a killing in the conservative media, at least for a little while. Depending on his core values and principles, we'll see how long that career move lasts.

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Avatar for user 'cjgoldsmith'

cjgoldsmith | October 26, 2010 at 2:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps I'm stridently ignorant, but this matter is only important to Juan Williams and now Schiller b/c she should lose her job over her mis-handling of the matter. But clearly we as citizens have much MUCH more important things to be concerning ourselves with. As for censorship- 'me thinkest the [public] doth protest too much" especially in this day and age of the Internet. Gone are the days when people get their news from one source.

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Avatar for user 'YukonDiver'

YukonDiver | October 26, 2010 at 2:35 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

I feel that anyone who thinks firing Juan was a good idea, because he verbalized what many feel, however as a Rebublican since Ike, I seldom agreed w/ anything he said.
In fact I frequently disagree with a great deal of the "news" on NPR but I still listen to it.

Listening only to the ones you agree with is a sign of a closed mind. I have contributed to KPBS in the past and will again - I have, in spite of criticism from others supported the public funding of NPR, not un-biased as many feel that it should be, but a point of view - Just like Rush, Beck et al; Fox News and dear old Rupert.

I am free to advocate what I want, and I feel that NPR is as well - I dislike "Political Correctness" with a passion, but I understand why people advocate it. I just do not agree with the concept.

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Avatar for user 'HarleyFrank'

HarleyFrank | October 26, 2010 at 3:14 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

After working in the TV News business for 29 years (19 years in San Diego) I was shocked that NPR fired Juan Williams as they did. Nobody dismissed by the network affiliates I worked for was ever fired by phone. It's professional courtesy to meet in person behind closed doors to resolve the issue. What's more disturbing is the comments made by Vivian Schiller during a public appearance shortly afterward. The Juan Williams matter is a private personnel matter, not a public debate. Every professional manager knows this. She has discredited NPR and PBS by handling his dismissal this way then making humor about it afterward. Absolutely unacceptable.

What's worse is that Juan didn't offer 'opinions' about Muslim airline passengers on 'The O'Reilly Factor'. He simply said an airline passenger dressed in traditional Muslim garb made him nervous when he (Juan) got on a plane. That's a personal feeling, clear insight as to how opinions get formed. Not a professional opinion.

Vivian Schiller's unprofessional conduct isn't about Juan Williams violating NPR policy. It's about intolerance toward an NPR analyst for appearing on a Fox TV program, nothing more. NPR, PBS and all other CPB funded broadcasters will not get a penny from me ever again. Maybe they've forgotten professional conduct and decency. I haven't.

HarleyFrank
San Diego, CA

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Avatar for user 'kps_listener1230'

kps_listener1230 | October 26, 2010 at 3:36 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Interesting discussion- question for you Tom. As I understand it, on FOX, opinion IS news (and I am not commenting on whether that is good or bad, just different from NPR and most broadcast news). I imaging that during those unfortunately 8 minutes, Juan was employed by FOX and acting in a manner consistent with FOX news practices. Thus, is it reasonable for NPR's expectations to prevail when Juan was acting in a FOX-appropriate manner while employed by FOX ?

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | October 26, 2010 at 3:56 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Like most people here, I think that NPR blew it when they fired Juan Williams. I also find it strange that NPR's editorial policy allows no commentary from any of it's paid journalists. But NPR has the right to fire any employee they believe has violated their policy or the terms of a contract. I don't know what Williams' contract with NPR stated. Nor do I know what (if any) financial arrangement Williams had with Fox news. But if NPR believed Williams was violating its policy or making it look bad, by appearing on Fox, they had a right to fire him and it would not be an unreasonable act.

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Avatar for user 'HarleyFrank'

HarleyFrank | October 27, 2010 at 9:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Tom, do you really think Juan Williams would be commenting on political subjects on Fox TV if his NPR contract says he can't comment on politics outside of NPR? Why weren't his comments on other Fox TV shows a problem? Vivian Schiller's handling of this matter has cost NPR and PBS thousands, maybe millions, in withdrawn financial support (see comments above). When Juan's wrongful termination civil case is settled, there will be millions more in damage to NPR/PBS. So at a cost of millions in dropped donations and legal settlements, NPR tosses a respected political analyst for expressing his feelings honestly. This sounds like McCarthy-era paranoia, not 21st century public broadcasting.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | October 27, 2010 at 2:22 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

If you're asking me to defend NPR's decision to fire Juan Williams I won't go there. I'm just saying -- and speaking as the spouse of a former employment lawyer -- that NPR was probably within its rights to fire Williams. He can certainly sue for wrongful termination but that doesn't mean he has a case. As I said in my original blog post, I suspected that Williams' relationship with NPR never did go terribly well and this was probably the last straw. Statements released later by Vivian Schiller suggest that was the case. None of that means NPR did the right thing. To me the bigger issue is what role commentary should play in NPR's news product.

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Avatar for user 'kps_listener1230'

kps_listener1230 | October 27, 2010 at 8:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Tom- this will be an interesting topic for employment law classes, that is for sure.

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Avatar for user 'marcjy'

marcjy | October 28, 2010 at 12:21 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

amen, marcg and nirosenk

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Avatar for user 'Maggotfist'

Maggotfist | October 28, 2010 at 4:01 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

To whom it may concern.
I have been a supporter of NPR for over a decade. I have enjoyed the fruits of your in depth, esoteric approach to news, social concepts, political views and the incredible sense of balance you have brought to a seemingly polarized world; the machinations of which are driven by right-wing hate radio speech, ignorance, and far left wing lunatics.
At first I questioned your firing of Juan Williams regarding his spoken feelings on the Fox “news” program. I felt it was a hastily made, rash decision, but I was quiet until I found out more about the entire situation. I will reserve my comments on that particular subject as this letter is in regards to your recent Attendance Ban for your employees on the upcoming Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Rally for sanity.
It takes a lot for me to speak my mind and actually write in a grievance on anything, so the fact you are reading this is a testament to how I feel about this issue.
In short, just who the hell does Vivian Schiller think she is controlling her employee’s lives like that? I can see not allowing journalists who will be commenting on the event later not being able to attend, but banning all NPR employees?
Again I ask who in all the hells does she think she is?
When did NPR start making its employees sign up for 24/7 servitude and a forced fealty?
I protested against the first Gulf War while I was in the U.S. ARMY- Against orders
I left the military 3 years ago as my conscience could no longer stomach my countries foreign policies, five years before being able to retire.
And now I leave you NPR, I leave any and all future support that could have been for you, I take back decades of past support as I take away my hundreds of suggestions to people in the future to listen to what seems to becoming a controlling, thoughtcrime-esque asmosphere.
Think like us or not at all?

Good day and thank you so very much for many fine years of journalism and reflection. I have always been a great fan of your programming. I am however a man of principle and cannot sit by and stand for what I see happening to your ideology.
I hope that some internal thought processes kick on and I will be able to come back to free-minded, liberal radio.
And liberal is NOT a bad word people.
I know that your marketing people have the stats which reflect the demographic re: "For every one person who voices themselves he/she represents X # of people"
Someone there needs to start doing the Math.
I can't help but think, "Will this post be deleted?" Something that would have NEVER crossed my mind before

Respectfully,
_Michael.H.

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Avatar for user 'Maggotfist'

Maggotfist | October 28, 2010 at 4:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

addendum to previous post.
It should read.
"I protested against the first Gulf War while I was in the U.S. ARMY- Against orders.
I had then left the military 3 years ago as my conscience could no longer stomach my countries foreign policies" The period after "orders" is not present in the original like was intended.

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Avatar for user 'terraveda'

terraveda | October 28, 2010 at 6:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Firing JW was the right thing to do. He expressed a bias on an issue and clearly NPR couldn't stand by him. As a listener I would have had a hard time listening to any of his analysis and taken it at face value. However, I agree that the matter could have been handled with a lot more finesse.

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Avatar for user 'Zugzwang'

Zugzwang | October 29, 2010 at 2:28 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

If this brouhaha reveals anything, it's that people tune into media these days and almost miss the news because they're so obsessed picking everything apart for bias. I think it's great that they do - the media needs watchdogs as much as government, business and school board meetings. But people seem to be projecting a lot on NPR and reading a little too much into what all this means.

I'm inclined to agree with Tom's original post suggesting this was simply a convenient time to fire Williams. It's the same with Rick Sanchez. Both their comments were stupid, though I don't really think of either one of them as racist (both have made silly, xenophobic statements, but neither of these men are going to be leading ethnic cleansings of any sort, and it's just as stupid to exaggerate the meaning of their comments).

Sanchez was a terrible anchor who often looked ignorant and pompous on the air. While NPR could honestly use a few more opinionated op-ed writers (ones who make clear their words are only their own, and not "news" per se), I can see why Williams was a serious thorn in their side.

To suggest they fired him because the secret liberal cabal run by George Soros grew angry over his comments is ridiculous. As with most dust-ups in life, this had more to do with incompetence than conspiracies - and that includes incompetence from NPR's management, who shouldn't have fired Williams the way they did.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | October 31, 2010 at 9:57 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Zugzwang and I are basically of like minds on this, though while it may have been a "convenient" time to fire Williams it turned out to be a stupid time to do it, given how the whole event has blown up in NPR's face. I question the network's policy on its use of commentators, but I don't doubt Williams' firing was the result of a long, rocky relationship. I hope it wasn't just because of his "Muslim garb" comment. And I certainly hope that I won't be ultimately judged by the stupidest thing I've ever said.

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Avatar for user 'jakissane'

jakissane | November 3, 2010 at 7:50 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

The firing of Juan Williams was handled rather badly, but I don’t believe NPR goofed. Though Williams had a right to say what he did, he also was responsible for saying it. And what he said on national television was fuel to the fire of hatred bigotry that is sweeping over this country. That Williams said what he did during the FOX interview showed extremely poor judgment. NPR acted appropriately – responsibly, even -- for getting rid of this guy.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 5, 2010 at 8:45 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Interesting how those who agree with Juan's firing say things like his comments "fuel the fire of hatred and bigotry" as if Islam isn't guilty of perpetuating hatred and bigotry itself. You can find news reports of violence in the name of Islam almost daily in the paper. There is in fact today on KPBS a story of a man who lost a family member in yet another senseless attack over what? Islam. You would have to be absolutely naive or willfully ignorant to not understand why someone would be fearful boarding a plane with people of this faith. And it's therefore really rich to hear people defend this religion as one of peace and love. "Peace" be upon you after we blow you up for not believing what we believe and our "love" is terrorizing you if you disagree with us. One has to wonder what has happened to our culture when we feel the need to appease and accommodate such a misogynist, intolerant, and violent belief system within our democracy, and then go after anyone who simply points out the obvious.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 9, 2010 at 8:17 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

I am not a "fan" of Williams and I do believe his remarks were O'Reillesque, but I fail to understand why he would get fired by NPR for saying something while moonlighting? He wasn't speaking as an "NPR analyist."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 9, 2010 at 8:29 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Slinsky, once again, you speak before thinking. I distinctly recall that it was priror to September 11th that most of the topics on NPR revolved around African-American themes and gay themes. After the 9/11 the topics shifted primarily to the Middle East. Since then, NPR has made great efforts in trying to, at the very least, create an understanding of Islam for the nonspecialist and foment tolerance and civility toward Americans of Muslim persuasion. Had Sean Innanity made Williams's remark in reference to blacks, the whole world would have been at his throat and rightly so. But because Williams makes this prejudicial statement about Muslims, it is obvously and sadly judged differently. The worse error in your post, however, is the typical ignorant view toward Islam that it is one big unchanging monolith so common among anti-religious bigots. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 9, 2010 at 8:44 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

MICHAEL H, very good and heart-felt post. I do believe much of this has to do with whom is sending contributions/donations to National Public Radio. I in NO WAY apologize for or defend JW, but lately, yes, I too have been seeing more and more a "thought-crimeesque atomsphere" among liberals and progressives especially when it comes to "gay issues." I think many of us are acting increasingly like the very same reactionaries we despise and consequently giving them more ammo in the process. This has got to stop.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 9, 2010 at 9:01 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@missionaccomplished
Islam may not be one huge monolith; however the image problem it has isn't my fault or Juan William's fault. If Juan Williams as a man of color had walked into a bar and found himself in a room full of white men in biker garb he might feel a little nervous about that too. BUT surely all bikers aren't 1 percenters are they? Of course not, but again, some are, and these days what makes the news about Islam, but violence. You draw a cartoon of Allah, or even threaten to burn the Quran (I don't advocate that), and you'll have embassies burning, people rioting, murder and mayhem. Islam has been hi-jacked by extremism. We even have American born Muslims preaching jihad against us. Can you honestly say that Christianity or Judaism today (past 10 years) has anything that compares to this kind of behavior? You know you can't - Islam is crazy train off the rails insane today. It's just not acceptable the direction it's been taking and it does make many people nervous - it's just a fact.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 9, 2010 at 9:20 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@missionaccomplished - By the way, since I'm so confused about Islam, why don't you please share for all our benefit the many fine things it has brought to non-muslims, Jews, women, and homosexuals in recent years. Lots of peace and love I'm sure, but please, be more specific if you could. I really want to understand your position.

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Avatar for user 'vickieahumada'

vickieahumada | November 9, 2010 at 10:17 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

He should have been fired from KPBS the first day he began collaborating with Fox. I support KPBS in firing him, albeit later rather than sooner.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 10, 2010 at 8:03 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. $canlon, yuo write as it there were only two extremes and no middle ground--which is absolutely false. Only demogogues speak like that.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 10, 2010 at 8:29 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, Mr. Shlinsky, and pray tell who/what creates that "image" of Islam??? Remember that book on the MIddle East by David Lamb of a few years back? THE ARABS: Journeys Beyond the Mirage. The word mirage here having a double meaning--one of which stereotypically invokes desert imagery. So yes, who/ pray tell created this "image" of them where we see these unfathomable Arabs and Muslims as synonymous? This "image" of them, (In a very telling moment, fomer CIA man and later "Crossfire" host, Tom Braden, referred to Islam as the "Arab religion" gesturing with open hands to his head!!! My eyes rolled ever so upward!) and to be specific, WESTERN image of them, did not start on September 11th, 2001, or with the first Gulf War, or even with the taking of the US Embassy in Iran. Do youself a favor and research how Western novelists and philosphers began shaping Western Man's viiew of Islam and the Near East. Read how they have been portrayed in literary works, or in the philosphical writings of Voltaire and Hegel. They express little more than suspicion and enthnocentrism even as Egypt is occupied, Algeria colonized, and Afghanistan twice invaded. Fastforward to the late 20th century and I can give you many examples of how the print media, Television, and Hollywood movies continued with this negatively stereotypical view of the Middle East and its people. So by the time the hostage crisis came around, the cast was already set. It only needed to be filled with our prejudice, ignorance and cultural chauvanism.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 10, 2010 at 9:46 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@missionaccomplished - Just as I thought, you cannot come up with any benefit that Islam has had toward non-Muslims, Jews, women, or homosexuals, only more of the accusations that the problem with Islam is not Islam, but rather the very biased and bigoted people who just won't give it a fair shake. How funny - you do have a sense of humor! I don't need to reference the writings of Voltaire for my opinion of Islam, I've been to that region of the world twice - it's not what I want here. It's not what Europe wants, and it should not be what you would want, unless of course you hate Jews, prefer to see women beaten and treated little better than goats, and think that all non-Muslims must either be dominated or die a very painful death and then be endlessly tormented for just not "getting it." People like you really worry me about the fate of our country. History and current events aside, if any sane non-Muslim person can read the Quran in it's entirety and not be offended by what it says - than I guess for that person words don't really have any meaning. Peace be upon you Missionaccomplished.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 10, 2010 at 12:46 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

You did talk about "image," did you not in your earlier post? And that's precisely what I addressed. Likewise some people in other countries/cultures think that we are all libertines/super consumers, which of course, we are not all, but that is the "image" that has been created.

You agree with me that Islam is not one huge monolith, then you contradict yourself with the following:" I've been to that region of the world twice - it's not what I want here. [So what? I've seen American tourists can go repeatedly to Mexico and return with not so much as an inkling of understanding its culture/society/history.] It's not what Europe wants, and it should not be what you would want, unless of course you hate Jews, prefer to see women beaten and treated little better than goats, and think that all non-Muslims must either be dominated or die a very painful death and then be endlessly tormented for just not "getting it." So there goes that argument. But more troubling in your posts is your allusions to the sanity or lackthereof regarding its adhereants.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 10, 2010 at 1:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@missionaccomplished - Again, not one positive thing to say about what Islam has offered Jews, non-Muslims, or women. Who cares if people think we're super consumers, or that people travel to Mexico and don't have an inkling of it's culture? What support does that lend your argument that Islam had been portrayed inaccurately? Just today on this very web site there are at least three stories that have within them the very religion that you are defending, having created yet another death, ruined another life, or was plotting to ruin many others. These stories aren't opinions; they are significant news worthy events. It's funny that you list all these books and famous individuals who have supposedly tainted the image of Islam (as if Americans are avid readers of such stuff) and then act as if Americans are too stupid to have the discernment to understand the difference if they did? Then you say that "So by the time the hostage crisis came around, the cast was already set. It only needed to be filled with our prejudice, ignorance and cultural chauvinism." Yes, we Americans are so prejudice against people who believe in a book that has vile hateful passages in it aimed at our demise, that we actually allow them to freely worship here and build monuments to their god that commands our destruction. The fact is, we are collectively still a pretty darn good group of people compared to what I've seen around the world, and continue to see, and I stand by what Juan Williams said. I agree with him, and I think his comments reflect a truth for many people who are actually informed and aware of Islam and what the Quran condones and promotes. Obviously, in your universe Muslim women become astronauts and civil rights lawyers, gay Muslims hold public office, and Jews are invited over for a nice friendly game of badminton while the family dog naps on the sofa.

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Avatar for user 'echosierraalpha'

echosierraalpha | November 10, 2010 at 10:51 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@randolpslinky

I would like to point out that your views of Islam are highly biased. As to your comment on Jews:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/22/exhibit-albanian-muslims-saved-jews-from-nazis/

Obviously, the Muslims that hid the Jews were only hiding them from Nazis at their own risks for the sole purpose of killing them for sport later on /sarcasm

How about Israel?
what is that? bulldozing their houses, cutting off basic supplies/ building materials/ preventing growth and calling in disproportionate air strikes on cities/ refugee camps will turn people into desperate revenge seekers? How could we POSSIBLY see that coming? what is that? using f***ing white phosphorus on a densely populated area is against the Geneva conventions?

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/03/25/israel-white-phosphorus-use-evidence-war-crimes

its ok! they are only scary Muslim brown people! its not like they are real humans(tm) after all!! right? and their anger at us for doing so is completely unjustified, hence so is their hate against Jews right?(and the U.S, seeing how we supplied those weapons (inc. the white phosphorus!) and fund them)

and its not like Iran (which hates the U.S.'s, though that's mostly our fault since we installed the shah and everything... talk about biting us in the ass), a predominantly Muslim country, has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel and the US right? and it is also not true that the Jewish population is protected under their constitution!! /sarcasm

About women:

As of around half a century ago, the burka is seen nowhere on earth. its only relatively new and limited only to the Middle East/ Northern Africa. Indeed NOWHERE in the Quran does it state that women must wear burkas, All it asks for is for some modesty, like a head scarf commonly found prior to the introduction of the Burka (still worn in Indonesia and malaysia.) Frankly, the head scarf is no more demeaning to women as a girl wearing a skirt is in the western world.

regarding treating women as property/mistreatment: the bible is NOT contrary to common beliefs, a paragon of ethics; for example:

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, ... nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's." In the Bible, women are the property of men; they are his possessions like an ox or an ass. 20:17

God explains how to go about selling your daughter and what to do if she fails to please her new master. 21:7

God's instructions for taking a second wife. 21:10

more wonderful quotes here:
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html

and lets discuss gays shall we? when is the last time you heard of an openly gay (non pedophilia) priest, or hell, how many popes are openly gay? furthermore, the U.S, the country that believes that everyone is born equal and fair... still does not allow gay marriage, despite there being no legal reason not too... in fact, there are several reasons as to why legally speaking, it should happen.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | November 11, 2010 at 9 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

@echosierraalpha - And your point is? LOL - You won't get me defending Christianity or Judaism, I have almost as much disdain for them as Islam. But Islam still holds the number one spot for crazy and insane. Hey, something Muslims can be proud of! Your attempt to somehow justify that crazy and insane behavior as a result of America and Israel is just really weak. Muslims kill and oppress one another far more than American or Israeli forces do. Indeed, we would have to allow our soldiers to hunt and shoot with absolute impunity to keep up with the number of dead that religion produces. I think the best proof of what you can expect from Islam is to just examine the countries where the religion dominates – only one, Turkey, is a democracy. That says tons. In America if a woman wants to wear a skirt she may, if she wants to wear a head scarf she may – that isn’t always an option in the Muslim world. It’s like night and day Islam and democracy. Your arguments just don’t gain much traction.

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Avatar for user 'Tom Fudge'

Tom Fudge, KPBS Staff | November 18, 2010 at 8:55 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

It's interesting to see how this long conversation about Juan Williams, getting canned, has become a discussion about the world's great religions. I have been reading the Bible lately... Psalms, Job, the book of Matthew and currently the Acts of the Apostles. And one thing that strikes me (being fairly new to Bible study) is all the talk of slaves. The people who wrote the Gospels talk of slavery as if it were mundane fact of life, which in that time and place it was. What's my point? My point is that the sacred texts were written in a different time with different standards and values. That's why it's absurd to criticize the Bible or the Koran for being politically incorrect. Furthermore, the culture of modern Islam may have something to do with the Koran, but it has a lot more to do with current moral values in the countries that are predominantly Muslim. I don't know much about the Koran, but if you dig through the Bible long enough and you'll find a verse that confirms what you believe, whether it regards the role of women, homosexuals or peace and freedom. This isn't to say we shouldn't closely examine religions to determine their core values, just as we examine the U.S. constitution to determine how the values expressed in it extend to our modern era despite huge changes in technology and lifestyle between now and the 18th century. (I am NOT an originalist when it comes to the constitution). Getting back to the subject of religion... I'll just say that greedy, obnoxious, inhumane people among us will always find a way to take a sacred text and make it mean what they want it to mean.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | March 24, 2011 at 10:32 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Fudge - I'm just amazed you work at KPBS. I hardly know where to begin with you. "Furthermore, the culture of modern Islam may have something to do with the Koran, but it has a lot more to do with current moral values in the countries that are predominantly Muslim." Tom, where do you think they get their values from? Are you someone's little brother at KPBS? Seriously.

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