Juan Williams’ NPR firing is bigger than him

America, we have a problem.  The problem is plain and simple: political correctness and “gotcha” journalism run amok.

My friend, longtime Washington Post reporter, award-winning author of the civil rights chronology “Eyes on the Prize” and NPR analyst Juan Williams is the latest victim of his own words.  Williams, who is also a Fox News contributor, shared his views on The O’Reilly Factor on Monday evening, where he discussed in context why we must get past our natural fears when dealing with people who may be different than us, or who don’t share our worldview.

I agree with that sentiment, don’t you?

Williams then went on to give an example of his own fears when travelling on airplanes. He said, “I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

I agree 100% with this statement also, don’t you?

I also get nervous when I am in Washington, D.C., at night in a not-so-great part of town and I see a pack of young black males approaching me with their pants hanging down, their hats spun around, and their hands in their pockets.  And I am a black woman.  My point is that we all have fears and biases.  Reasonable or not, they are real and we need to be able to be honest about those fears.  That is the essence of America — that is all Juan did.  He shared with all of us that he too has fears, but that he cannot let those fears govern how he treats people.

I agree with that statement, don’t you?

So, I guess the question becomes, why did NPR really fire Juan Williams, since we all agree (even Whoopi Goldberg says NPR was wrong to fire Williams) that it was baseless.  In the last 24 hours, tons of articles and stories have been posted about Juan’s abrupt firing from NPR and the reasons why, but all of that is speculation.  The truth is that I fear NPR has been co-opted into a political morass that pits George Soros against the Fox News network.  And that is most unfortunate.

In my opinion, NPR’s CEO, Vivian Schiller, should be fired for the inappropriate and defamatory comments she made about Williams.  Schiller decided to tell the world that Williams’ thoughts “should be kept between him and his psychiatrist.”  Talk about crossing the line.  All you have to do is look at what we in the legal profession call “similarly situated” persons at NPR to see that Juan has been singled out unfairly for his so-called “violation of NPR journalistic standards.”  Look at the words of Nina Totenberg, another NPR analyst.  She once said that the late Jesse Helms would face God’s judgment and that maybe his grandchildren would get AIDS.  She also popped off about President George W. Bush, saying that she hoped he would not have “much time” on this side of things.  Totenberg’s comments, interestingly, were not viewed as crossing the journalistic ethics line.

I will leave you with this, my fellow Americans: last month it was CNN’s Rick Sanchez who got the ax for saying that CNN’s leadership was run by “Jewish people” — rumor has it that NPR’s Mira Liasson may also be a Soros target because she is a Fox analyst.

If this is true, one has to wonder, who among our fellow journalists and fellow citizens will be next?

Sophia A. Nelson is a noted national media commentator and opinion writer for many outlets including The Washington Post, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, NPR, Essence & BET.

  • rfpzzzzz

    I’ve been walking along a river with my girlfriend and come across a group of drunken white teenagers. They made me nervous especially when they did end up getting loud and shouting catcalls. Sometimes our fears or suspicions are unfounded and sometimes they are quite real. Ft. Hood was a good example of what NPR style political correctness can result in. Juan’s statement was taken out of the context of his overall message which was not at all irrational or hateful.
    NPR would wish us to deny reality and then they allow themselves the privilege of taking the slightest word infraction taken out of context to fire someone and at the same time use it to send a warning shot at others who might wander off the reservation of acceptable beliefs defined by liberals. This warning shot was sent to black man by the way. Dems want to keep their 90% black voting constituency and they made it clear a black man cannot become a role model for free thinking without consequences. They do the same thing to women and gays. The people who fall into these categories should realize the NPR message and its meaning. It is pretty clear especially right before an election.

  • brashflash

    Why are any media able to give their subscribers and advertisers tax deductions? Why does the struggling Washington Post pay corporate taxes and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting not? Why do PBS in Dayton, Fort Worth, and Springfield, MA receive government grants to buy equipment and pay staff while their local competitors for advertising (underwriting) dollars must earn every dollar by finding a supportive local market?

    It’s time (1) to cut off subsidies to PBS, (2) Retract PBS non-profit status so they can pay as opposed to receive taxes, (3) Centralize all PBS broadcasting as a cable network feed similar to Fox, CNBC, CNN, Home&Garden, The Learning Channel, HBO, TBS, A&S, and History Channel, eliminating the duplication of all of those local affiliates who add nothing to the value proposition while sucking hundreds of millions of survival dollars from the regional arts institutions to revive truly regional theatre, symphony, dance, and fine arts. (4) Auction the local broadcast licenses to offset billions of dollars of public debt (sharing the revenues with the states which are staggering under one-time public pension crisis).

    Do this and the public will still get Sesame Street, Washington Week in Review, All Things Considered, Bill Moyers, and Lake Wobegon while allowing npr and PBS to do what Fox, CNBC, and CNN do in a free market. Speaking of freedom, it’s time to free PBS to share the most basic right of all of its competitors…. The Right To Fail!

  • Supernatural Witness

    “My point is that we all have fears and biases. Reasonable or not, they are real and we need to be able to be honest about those fears.”

    This attitude is the problem. Has the modern academy so deluded people that they think civilization is so civil that it is safe. WAKE UP from your indoctrination America. If you are in DC in the hood at night and you see a group of gang bangers walking down the street you ARE in VERY REAL danger; it is not a bias, it is good sense. Kids need their mom cuz they trust everyone. Children who get out of mom’s sight are kidnapped, raped, and murdered. It is not biased to be suspicious of people. It is wise.

    When I was with a group smuggling Bibles into Mexico, the border guards knew we weren’t tourists even though we got them to pose for pics with us and tried to act all touristy. They knew because tourists consist of mom, dad, and kids wearing flowered shirts and a camera. We were a van load of unrelated people who had evangelist written all over us. Were the guards bigots? No, they had a clue and accurately profiled us. They made us open all our luggage and detained us. It all worked out because after giving them some Bibles for their family, they sealed our luggage with official labels allowing us to avoid being searched and arrested at the hundred mile check point. We stacked our luggage with labels facing out in the back of the van; and when the check point guards saw the labels, they waved us on through.

    Likewise, if I got on a plane with a Muslim garbed cleric and his wife, I would not be concerned especially since clerics never commit suicide, they have useful idiots for that. However, if I got on a plane and there were several lower status male Muslims all traveling together in a group, I would probably make a close assessment and then maybe get back off the plane. That would not make me a bigot, it would make me the fittest for survival.

    • markelbat

      Who knew that you had to smuggle bibles in to a predominantly Catholic/christian country? What other wacky things did your group do, make s’mores with nestles instead of hersheys?

      • Supernatural Witness

        Guess that shows what you don’t know. I have no idea what the law is now , but at the time, it was illegal to carry Bibles into Mexico. It was predominantly Catholic and Pentecostal at the time in the 80s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brandy-Stetler/1064544405 Brandy Stetler

    Once again the masks slip & a glimpse of pure hatred & misery jumps at you. The first fews times it happens you wonder if you really saw all that fury or had a mini nightmare. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Medusa looking back at me! We’re seeing more of it now because they were supposed to be well on their way to total control; basically we have them really PISSED OFF!!!! Oh well, it’s better to be PISSED OFF than PISSED ON!

  • rockhard

    Juan Williams made a big mistake for thinking like a normal rational person and his elite masters did not like him thinking for himself and speaking his mind, the left is a religious cult with its own dogma and anyone who doesn’t follow the religious dogma rules of the left is ex communicated..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Noel-Fritsch/606034557 Noel Fritsch

    Edit the header. It should read, “Juan Williams’ NPR firing is bigger than HE,” minus the caps, of course.

  • SCGirl

    Shhhh…Big Brother is watching.