Tom Smith calls it punishing a thoughtcrime, and that is exactly what it is. In the course of upbraiding Bill O’Reilly about his views on Islam, 9/11, and the Ground Zero Mosque, the black maverick liberal NPR commentator and Fox News contributor Juan Williams mentioned that he felt “on guard” when he saw plane passengers in full Islamic garb. I would not wish to feed all the people — liberal or conservative — who felt that way as I would be bankrupted in seconds. (Then again, Molière’s Tartuffe had nothing on the holier-than-thou hypocrites of the American gentry left.)
Immediately Juan Williams found himself out of a job at NPR. While pressure from CAIR (whose despicable spokes-“organ” was utterly demolished by Megyn Kelly on Fox) surely contributed to this decision, there is little doubt that his appearances on Fox News stuck in NPR’s craw. (In fact, an article on NPR’s own website asserts the same.) Methinks they were just looking for an excuse to fire him. (An internal memo about the firing is a study in self-righteousness and laughable assertions of neutrality. Besides, the oh-so-intellectual head of NPR — a self-appointed expert in psychiatry — ought to know the difference between “principal” and “principle”. )
Fox News are of course having a field day, and the network offered him a $2M deal within hours. However, as rounded up here, NPR may have scored an own-goal (or “stepped on its own Johnson”, as they say in the South), as liberal and conservative commentators alike think NPR went too far this time. (I cannot remember the last time Whoopi Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh agreed on anything.)
Several GOP senators are calling for the defunding of NPR. I personally don’t give a rat’s backside that there is a New-class Preening Radio out there that is exactly that — but let the New Class pay for its own feelgood station.
As a parting remark, the banishment of long-time valued contributors over trivial offenses after they start contributing at rival outlets is something that… hmm, where did I last see this in the blogosphere?
UPDATE: NPR has one more journalist that appears regularly on Fox News (and, like Juan Williams, is a reliably liberal voice there). And guess what: Media Matters has started going after Mara Liasson. And guess which radical leftist tycoon is a recent big-time donor to both NPR and Media Matters? Yup, got it in one…
UPDATE 2: The NPR CEO meanwhile apologized over the psychiatry remark. See also this WSJ op-ed by a Muslim (!) who shares Juan Williams’ apprehension. Also don’t miss John Fund and James Taranto there. “Public radio vs. the public” indeed.
UPDATE 3: Via Facebook, “Ma Sands” points to a dissident “karma is a real [female canine]” view.
UPDATE 4: moderate Muslims speak out against the firing. on the grounds that forcing people to shut up is not the way to create a dialogue. Of course, this presupposes the left-liberal gentry has any more interest in dialogue than George Orwell’s “Inner Party” did.
Insty quotes former CIA operative Reuel Marc Gerecht in the Washington Post: “Williams was wrong about the likelihood of a Muslim in traditional garb being a terrorist — Muslims who wear Western clothing and speak English with Marxist-Islamist vocabulary are vastly more likely to be suicide bombers in the West than a devout Muslim in [traditional garb]. But while his manner may have been clumsy, Williams was right to suggest that there is a troubling nexus between the modern Islamic identity and the embrace of terrorism as a holy act.”