DC Trawler

NPR’s ombudsman speaks

She’s actually an ombudswoman, but even NPR isn’t that politically correct. (Yet.) Last night their ombudsperson Alicia Shepard patiently explained why Juan Williams’ firing was handled poorly but was still necessary. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here it is in 25 words or less: “Fox News only shows one side of things, which is why we finally had to fire the guy who occasionally agrees with them.”

As Michael Barone puts it:

Reading between the lines of Juan’s statement and those of NPR officials, it’s apparent that NPR was moved to fire Juan because he irritates so many people in its audience. An interesting contrast: while many NPR listeners apparently could not stomach that Williams also appeared on Fox News, it doesn’t seem that any perceptible number of Fox News viewers had any complaints that Williams also worked for NPR. The Fox audience seems to be more tolerant of diversity than the NPR audience.

A few other reactions:

*DougJ at Balloon Juice supports the decision, writing (deletion in the original):

Juan Williams’ firing did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in the context of him having been the official Fox News lawn jockey stooge for years.

It’s not racist if you don’t like the person! See, it’s okay for liberals to say things like this because it just is. Radley Balko at Reason.com calls it the Clarence Thomas Rule:

It goes something like this: When a black person expresses views that liberal elites have deemed unacceptable for black people to hold, it is permissible for good liberals to respond by implying that said black person is either too stupid or too corrupt to think for himself, and to then call that black person racist names. In fact, not only are both responses permissible and not racist, they are a recommended way of displaying your open-mindedness.

See also Bill Maher, Larry O’Donnell.

*Elsewhere in the leftosphere, Matthew Yglesias thinks Williams is lame, banal, and useless. [Pause for laughter] And Eric Boehlert of Media Matters tweets, “Only in media could guy who landed a $2M contract to talk on TV be cast as victim.” That’s right, you can only be a victim of wrongdoing if you get your money from taxpayers.

*Here’s Williams talking to O’Reilly about the whole thing yesterday:

“Everybody likes you now. Everybody who counts.” I don’t count, but I’ve always liked him. Or at least I can never stay mad at him for too long when he says something I think is nuts. He seems like a genuinely good man, and if he comes out of this with more money in his pocket and a higher profile, well done. Still doesn’t make it right for NPR to treat him like this, but maybe it’ll turn out for the best.

*Greg Gutfeld: “If you aren’t familiar with NPR, simply imagine yourself on a bus, sitting next to Judd Hirsch.”

*Some are calling for NPR to be defunded over this. Others say, “But federal funding only makes up a small percentage of NPR’s budget!” Which makes me wonder why they’d miss it.

*Our own Caroline May reports: Muslims speak out against NPR’s political correctness.

*Finally, here’s a funny humor joke I came up with on Twitter: Nobody at NPR ever thinks to themselves, “I’ll bet the suspects in this latest terrorism attempt have Muslim names.” That way they’re always surprised!

P.S. Juan Williams calls for the government to defund NPR.

P.P.S. Ed Morrissey: “NPR insists that it hosts the most diverse forums for political debate, but based on their own actions, they’re not interested in diversity or even debate. Rather than relish having a liberal point of view presented in what they see as a conservative forum, they prefer to keep their liberal point of view within the compound — and so do their listeners.”

P.P.P.S. Stephen Hayes asks, “Is Nina Totenberg Next?” Why would she be? Sure, the NPR correspondent once said Jesse Helms or his grandchildren should die of AIDS:

Fortunately for her, nobody at NPR liked Jesse Helms and he wasn’t on the Designated Victims List, so she kept her job. Whew!