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Juan Williams: Return Engagement

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst, former senior correspondent for National Public Radio and author of Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, takes the media to task for failing to get beyond demagoguery and political correctness.

Williams, who was fired from NPR last year after saying on Fox that he feared getting on airplanes with people dressed in Muslim garb. While Williams went on to say that fears like those should not be the basis for public policy, he was quickly terminated, and the ensuing firestorm led to the resignation of senior vice president for news at NPR, Ellen Wiess, and cost the then-president of NPR Ellen Schiller her yearly bonus.

Now Williams has written a book about this experience, which critiques assaults the attack on free debate from a variety of political views. He said he was not attacking Muslims.

I said right then and right there… that Timothy McVeigh is a Christian, the Westboro Baptist Church, who engage in what I consider such offensive rants at military funerals, they’re Christians. The Atlanta Olympic bomber is a Christian. We don’t make judgments about all Christians on that basis… and we needed to avoid making similar stereotypical judgments about Muslims in America based on the fact that radical Muslims, who spoke of jihad, had attacked us on 9/11.

He said at the time he was fired he asked the executive whether she had listened or read the transcript in its entirety and was told that they didn’t want to read it, they had had enough. Williams said he was told he could not even discuss the decision with management, and that NPR had said it was a violation of their journalistic ethics for him to have made such a statement.

First of all, it wasn’t even a statement of opinion, it was an admission of feeling. And subsequently, by the way... so many people came up to me and said “I have the same anxiety” and they don’t consider

He said like Shirley Sherrod he was taken out of context, made to seem as though he was saying the opposite of what he said, and fired for it.

Part of a journalist’s job is to maintain credibility and access to all communities. Williams said people who wear “Muslim-garb” won’t be less inclined to speak with him now that they know he has certain fears directed towards them.

I don’t think I’m biased. I was revealing my feelings, and I thinking the aftermath of 9/11 I think I would have to be somewhat brain-dead not to have an awareness of what’s going on.

 He said that discussion is necessary in order to keep good ideas to the forefront.

Williams said some of his critics pointed out that William’s is black, and said that while if they were to talk about their nervousness when confronted by a crowd of rowdy black young men who are acting out, Williams would call them racists. Yet he doesn’t see that his statements about Muslims amount to the same thing.

I said wait a second. I would be anxious if I saw a bunch of rowdy young black guys late at night on the street.. I would change the side of the street or avoid that situation. So, it’s just like anything you’d say now will be used against you. You’ll be shunned, you’ll be called a crazy right-winger or a crazy left-winger, told that’s not the appropriate thing to say. I just think it doesn’t allow for honest discussion in this society.

Williams said NPR was unhappy having a prominent NPR personality appear regularly on Fox. They said that having him on helped legitimize Fox's claim to be fair and balanced. More than that, though, he said, NPR was unhappy with the amount of opinion he was giving on Fox.

Williams pointed out that he was already working for Fox when he was hired by NPR, and that prior management teams had liked having Williams on Fox because they felt it expanded the NPR brand and exposed watchers who might not otherwise be familiar with NPR.

Fox has a tabloid aesthetic that Williams said he likes. Furthermore, he believes that Fox is, in fact, fair.

Nobody’s telling me what to say and I’m on Fox, so no one says shut up, or, you’re not allowed to express that opinion, or don’t challenge – never, never such a word. To the contrary, when I wanted to write op-ed pieces for the Times or the Washington Post or write books, the NPR managers were like wait, we don’t want you to do that, or we want to give you approval, or why are you doing that, or, when I appeared on Fox, why do you identify yourself as an NPR person, telling me.. don’t identify yourself as an NPR person. Like the rest of the world didn’t know I work for NPR? I mean, come on.

Williams agrees that the stories selected for the network are selected from a conservative point of view, and that many of the top personalities on the show are very conservative, but he points out that many of those personalities, such as Bill O’Reilly, chose to invite Williams on their show.

He denies that he serves as a foil for the ideologues, a buffoon to be shouted down by the pundits on the right.

I don’t think that I’m shouted down. I think it’s rough and tumble at times. But I think, to the contrary, that I’m there and allowed to express my point of view, and I think to give the audience the idea that all that’s coming from the far right in this conversation is not to be swallowed whole cloth, that there’s somebody here who’s offering a different point of view, and doing so with some vigor.

 His book is about how much of the language consciousness that began in the sixties has evolved into money and lobby-laden political landmines that stifle true debate.

Debate now, in this country, is stultified, and the best example would be the budget debate going on up in Washington, on Capitol Hill. These people are locked in by extremists positions on both sides, more so to me on the Republican side.

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Comments [77]

Anita Feldman from East Village, NYC

Ben S. gets to the heart of the matter. "Until the Dems get out in front of these issues and stop getting dragged behind them, the right will continue to dominate and wreak havoc on this country." The Democrats assume that they can win over the country by money-raising to buy p.r. and advertising based on gut feelings, knee-jerk identifications, and unexamined assumptions. They can't. Descending to these techniques only feeds the perception that the differences between parties are like the differences between brands of toothpaste, matters of personal, largely arbitrary choice. Juan Williams can't or won't get beyond the illogic of Fox News, but NPR can and should. NPR needs to acknowledge, question, and expose the manipulations of those who've decided that the only road to power is the exploitation of the public's fear, historical amnesia and blatant ignorance. "On the Media" does this. So does Brian Lehrer. In these dangerous times, NPR needs to focus less on personalities and more on facts and the legitimate inferences that can be drawn from them.

Jul. 27 2011 10:37 AM
Bill Hirst from New York city

I listened to the entire interview. I was appaled at the way he crafted all his responses to make it seem like he was a champion of reason and was proud to participate on Fox news shows. When asked straight up not once but twice if he thought Fox news was Fair and Balanced he tap danced around the question and never gave an answer. Just another Rupert Murdock toady in my book. Fox invites only so called liberals that will tolerate being treated like punching bags, they sit there doe eyed while Bill Orielly or Sean Hannity rant away and NEVER seriously challenge anything they say.

Jul. 26 2011 08:08 PM
William from Manhattan

Sorry, I'm still fuming. Juan Williams is a fraud. He presented himself on NPR as a news analyst with special expertise in civil rights, despite a history of violating the civil rights of female colleagues at his previous job. Finally, NPR rightly fired Williams after he abused his position as an NPR senior news analyst to perpetuate an ignorant, intolerant claim about a minority ethnic group on a notoriously bigoted program on the Fox network. Juan Williams is interested in the civil rights of only one constituency - Juan Williams. Why are we (WNYC) helping Williams justify himself and giving his book free advertising?

Jul. 26 2011 07:55 PM
RM from Jersey

Mr. Williams still doesn't get it. Apparently never did, and I guess he never will. Bon Voyage, Juan.

Jul. 26 2011 06:17 PM
William from Manhattan

Now that the show is over, maybe you could take the ad for Juan Williams's book (and link to buy on Amazon) off the show page? It's bad enough we had to listen to the online promo, but to participate in daylong shilling of Williams's book via our sustaining memberships just adds insult to injury. With his history at Washington Post, Williams never should have been hired as a news analyst by NPR. And WNYC should not be abetting Williams's self-promotion today.

Jul. 26 2011 01:47 PM
john fredricks from Queens

Tony from Downtown Brooklyn,

Four of the hijackers were spotted on a practice flight by actor James Woods, once an MIT student. He reported them to the FBI but there was no followup.

The gate guy at the Portland (ME) Jetport was Michael Touhey. Tuohey will later recount, “I thought they looked like two Arab terrorists but then I berated myself for the stereotype and did nothing.”

Warnings had been conveyed to the highest levels of government, but no one had instructed Mike Touhey to be more vigilant. You’ll recall that a would-be L.A. Airport bomber was intercepted specifically because Clinton had mandated vigilance.

Why did the FBI ignore all the red flags? My analysis says 73.7% the Bush family being seduced and bought by the Saudis and 26.3% political correctness.

Ethnic stereotyping is flammable and is best avoided - usually.

Jul. 26 2011 12:50 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Oh and the fact the he knows as do all who interview him that people in muslim garbed get screened and probably screened again at airports, so practicaly you should feel more safe when seeing them on an airplane then any one else [including a swedish wheeled chair granny or her diapered grandchildren as someone who would be willing to hunt down children like rabbits[run ingtrom run] in the name of preserving western civilization from those evil muslims hoardes paranoia -no telling what a member of such a movement might put in a wheel chair of diaper to start a war between a billion muslims and western cultural christians or a civil war between anti semites-against muslims this time- and their defenders like the norweigian], yet makes such a blatently illigical statement shows his calculated intent to cast aspirations at muslims at every turn.And no one calls him on his nonsensical fear of muslim garbed people at airports.[they each probobly have ten cameras on them at all times and he knows it].Part of the anti muslim vilification of muslims by interviewer and interviewee both playing dumb.And if he lives in new york he must see muslim garbed people all the time. if he feels so unnerved by them [a lie, he just hates them] then perhaps he should return to the south where he'll feel more comfortable among his own kind.

Jul. 26 2011 12:49 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts

Amazing how when it comes to anti-muslim bigotry ,how dumb otherwise sharp and balanced interviewers are willing to play.Comparing rowdy young blacks to muslim garbed is itself a slur against muslims.[rowdy, the operative word here] Notice that straw dog;Williams never said that seeing black people on a street and crossing over for fear of crime would be legitimate and understandable but rowdy young blacks would be acceptable.No one ever calls him on that comparision though it obviously makes muslim garb as nefarious as rowdy behavior and itself is a deliberate slur at muslims.His other standard assertion that never gets challenged or exposed as deliberate slurs and insults directed at muslims, [almost as if to say i'll stick it to you every chance i get and i know i'll never be called on it] is when he expresses his view that it's one thing to be a muslim but if you extend it to actually dress according to the tenents of that religion then that entails somehow an extra level of devotion which is suspicious because true islamic piety is suspicious because therefore islam is suspicious.Here he really is deliberately professing the anti muslim propaganda that lax or marginally muslim people are less likely to be terrorists because the religion itself is a terrorist religion and any one believing in it enough to follow the dress code is therefore more likely to follow its terrorist ideology.This is a deliberate slandering and bigotted statement impuning the religion and its people .That he is committed to this view and to expressing this view in every interview reveals he is a deliberately committed bigot and no one calls him on it.What completely gives him away as an anti -muslim hate filled bigot though is when he deliberately props up the straw dog of his history of being for civil rights.It sounds like a joke but that no one calls him on it shows again the anti -muslim media campaign.That for a black man to be in favor of civil rights for blacks back in the civil rights struggle days, makes it therefore illigitimate to call him a bigot when it comes to muslims, is obviously ,ridiulously irrelevant .So irrelevant in fact that it is really another expression of taunting muslims as if saying 'no one will dare call me out on my anti -muslim bigotry because i'm touching a nerve about americas racist history with white americans in the media who interview me."[Catch me if you can,the gingerbread man say..And of course they all play dumb because after all it's muslims being vilified.

Jul. 26 2011 12:24 PM
amalia

I became aware of Juan William during Bush II, particularly during the run up to the Iraq war, WMD, etc. His journalism always read biased -- in favor of the administration. So much so I stopped reading him; later when I heard him on NPR it proved a growing skepticism NPR was swooning Center to romance the Right. Strange Williams thinks himself a voice of balanced reporting...Really? Why not just come out as a proud supporter of the Right?

Jul. 26 2011 12:20 PM
jrd

If Williams were an actual foil to right-wing propaganda on Fox, he might have some justification for what he does.

But his real function on Fox is to *play* a liberal, while ineffectively advancing ideas which will never threaten Fox personalities. He's an unknowing stooge, in other words. Fox would never employ a real foil to Fox propaganda, and keep him on the air week after week.

Jul. 26 2011 12:17 PM
steveh from NYC

Thanks "irmafound" Just as surely as NEWS Corp. is an honest Fair and Balanced news organization, I'm absolutely certain that deep down inside the people on this board as well as the rest of the world totally agrees with you and Dick Cheney.

Jul. 26 2011 12:03 PM
Tony from Downtown Brooklyn

John Fredricks,
The legitimate concerns about the 9/11 hijackers were because they were only interested in taking off in planes and not landing them. That raised red flags for the instructors and the instructors' complaints made their way to the FBI.
To say that the FBI didn't act out of political correctness is the kind of disingenuous assertion that belongs on FoxNews, but not in a mature debate. It's simply not true.

Jul. 26 2011 11:58 AM

I was so against the firing of Juan Williams from NPR and in general this trend of just getting rid of people who state their opinions and/or say some thing that is deemed racist, classist, etc.
What we should in fact be doing is taking these as an opportunity to have an open discussion regarding the subject of debate.
We are in deep denial in this society about many things, I constantly experience this regarding race where even with many of my friends people will not publicly admit their feelings or pretend to always be tolerant and accepting. Then when you want to honestly discuss, many become defensive and feel personally attacked. We all struggle with biases and many of us experience an inner tug of war between reason and reactions.
Just for the record I am a black Puerto Rican lesbian and personally experience assumptions directed at me about my stance on things, as well as I find it takes an extra effort to see things and people reasonably and fairly based on an awareness of history.

Jul. 26 2011 11:55 AM
john fredricks from Queens

I love - that's love - WNYC and NPR.

but:

I never fail to be amazed at the politically correct intolerance expressed by their listeners in forums like this.

By the way, in several instances 911 hijackers were spotted early enough to have avoided or mitigated that tragedy.

But, because ethnic stereotyping was involved, followup was aborted; the suspicions were too politically incorrect.

Jul. 26 2011 11:54 AM
A listener

[[Michael from Brooklyn Juan Williams was simply being honest about struggling with human instincts that aren't always rational--racism is an instinct that helped our predecessors identify the other (i.e., other tribes). We struggle with this legacy to be better people. I wrote about this subject some time back, about my own struggles: http://blog.treehouse10.com/ (Teach Your Children)]]

Williams is still merely defending his statement, and now doing it in order to promote his book. Yesterday, I saw two women covered head to toe in black "Muslim" garb. Would Juan cross the street to avoid them? After all, the baby carriages they were pushing could have been filled with explosives.

It's one thing to have an emotional reaction. It's another thing, as a journalist, to not be able to think through your reactions and biases and develop a more sophisticated opinion.

I've always felt that Juan's reaction to "Muslims on a Plane" was more of an indictment of airline security, or "airline security theater" as it is sometimes know. What difference does it make how someone is dressed or how long his beard is if you have thoroughly screened the person?

Juan comes across as stubborn and not terribly bright.

Jul. 26 2011 11:53 AM

These comments are over the top, irrational and unfair. Juan Williams is a commentator not reporter and is free to express views, feelings and not stick to strict neutrality - and his expression of an idea was fine. If you don't agree with what he said, fine. But that is never a reason to silence or fire someone.

Jul. 26 2011 11:50 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Oh and that's another thing: FOX promotes racism, as has just been stated and Mr.Williams is fooling himself if he thinks he is anything else but a shill for hateful propaganda. He is nothing more than a collaborator despite his rationalizations.

Jul. 26 2011 11:49 AM
binbrooklyn

you deserved to be fired bc Fox is a corporation built to destroy democracy. if you don't see that, you are an idiot.

Jul. 26 2011 11:48 AM
Ben S from Princeton, NJ

Juan Williams was one of my favorite journalists/commentators on npr. Firing him frankly was idiotic and it's disheartening when an organization with such stellar credentials as npr makes knee-jerk decisions that are really of such importance--someone's career! Next time the leadership at npr decides to fire someone, I suggest they at least take the weekend off and give it some real thought before they make such a decision.

And honest debate won't have a chance if the dem's continue to bring a knife to a gun fight. The right will say or do anything win politically (eg debt crises), will frame the debate with well-honed phrases (eg cut and run, tax and spend) and sound-bites, and will repeat distortions over and over again until they're accepted as fact in the media (much cloud, wmd). Until the Dems get out in front of these issues and stop getting dragged behind them, the right will continue to dominate and wreak havoc on this country.

Jul. 26 2011 11:48 AM
El from UES

Yes, when you admit that you fear people who look like Muslims, then you are admitting you are racist, even if you don't think it should affect policy, or overt treatment of Muslims.

You have already affected Muslims by stating these views in the same way a young black man is affected when he sees people clutch their bags tighter or cross the street at night. No policy has changed, but in those moments, one of many over a lifetime of being black and male, he is made to feel alienated in his own society.

Is that what you want for Muslims too?

Jul. 26 2011 11:48 AM
Marie from Brooklyn, New York

Under reported stories:

There was a small story recently on the Times' Green Blog about the lead levels having return to normal in the NYC water supply.

Apparently there has been a public awareness campaign, since last November, warning residents to run their tap water for 30 minutes before drinking. No one I know saw this campaign, and we all drink tap water.

Why was this never reported, how much lead were we drinking, anyway, and for how long?

Jul. 26 2011 11:47 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Yeah based upon that clip he's really "challenging the right-wing point of view" and promoting "nuanced" discussion...sounded like a bunch of nonsensical, juvenile, shouting to me.

By Mr.William's logic, if he were a white supremacist and expressed those "feelings" as he put it, he should have never been fired by NPR. But an organization has the right to get rid of you if they feel your expressed views do not go along with their image, plain and simple. That's not "muzzling"...it's not the same as the government locking you up for those views, not even close.

Jul. 26 2011 11:45 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

Or here: http://blog.treehouse10.com/2010/08/03/teach-your-children-well.aspx

Jul. 26 2011 11:43 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

Juan Williams was simply being honest about struggling with human instincts that aren't always rational--racism is an instinct that helped our predecessors identify the other (i.e., other tribes). We struggle with this legacy to be better people. I wrote about this subject some time back, about my own struggles: http://blog.treehouse10.com/ (Teach Your Children)

Jul. 26 2011 11:42 AM
Jeanine from Park Slope

Aren't Journalists supposed to be focused on the facts and not feelings?

Mr. Williams, enjoy the millions of dollars you are making. I hope it's worth it.

Realize it, you are a foil.

Jul. 26 2011 11:41 AM

Hey Juan, a feeling is not an intellectual idea. If you want to honestly examine that feeling and attempt to find a historic and political context for it and discuss it from that point then maybe you can present it as an intellectual idea. Otherwise, if you want to talk about your feelings, get booked on Oprah.

Jul. 26 2011 11:39 AM
IMHO

The screaming and shouting in the O'Reilly clip is absurd. O'Reilly is not credible and Williams did himself no favors by associating with him.

Jul. 26 2011 11:38 AM
tom from astoria

Mr. Williams has proven himself a lightweght; he rails against "thought police" but he collects a HUGE CHECK from the most obvious PROPAGANDA Fox news channel. He claims that his wife didn't go into the NPR headquarters because she didn't feel comfortable ... Yet he gives Fox the victory of winning the Williams/NPR debate. Has he no sense of sticking up for quality journalism over blatant propaganda?

Jul. 26 2011 11:38 AM
William from Manhattan

This interview is getting weirder and weirder. Brian isn't interviewing Juan Williams, he is using his (our) show to advocate for Juan Williams. This is disturbing. And I'm a daily listener.

Jul. 26 2011 11:37 AM
John from NYC

THIS SHOW IS MISSING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

The firing of Juan Williams was not an isolated incident

-- it was reflective of a pattern of behavior at NPR

WHICH BRAIN REFUSES TO DISCUSS

Jul. 26 2011 11:37 AM
Daniel

I want to give my vote to the last caller: All the discussion from Juan Williams about his firing from NPR ignores that he did say something he should be ashamed of. Defending it is silly.

Jul. 26 2011 11:36 AM
Don't be simple

[[MC from New York
I remember a friend of mine, trying to point out we are all racist, asking me if I would be worried if I was walking on a street at night and behind me were:
a) 5 hasidic men-no not worried;
b) 5 mormon missionaries-no not worried;
c) 5 young black men-yes, a little worried.
I do not think I am racist but but based upon the above, perhaps I am.

Jul. 26 2011 11:27 AM]]

Your line of reasoning is weak. If the 5 young black men also were obviously religious...say, Baptists heading home after choir practice...then the answer is clear.

If you see color first, then the world must be a very scary place for you.

Jul. 26 2011 11:35 AM
Panamanian

[[john from office Is he a balck mexican? Jul. 26 2011 11:31 AM]]

He is Panamanian and it is a little offensive to me that he doesn't own his heritage.

Jul. 26 2011 11:32 AM
Josh from NY, NY

I work as a journalist. I went to the same high school as Juan Williams. He was a hero of mine, esp. with Eyes on the Prize. But his spin on FoxNews is downright embarrassing. He has repeatedly failed to acknowledge Brian's question about the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of FoxNews as news organization. He says he hasn't been told what to do on FoxNews, but that has nothing to do with the consistent, flagrant propagandistic editorializing. No reasonable person, and seasoned journalist, can say with any seriousness that FoxNews is legitimate news organization. But his presence clearly helps legitimizes FoxNews -- not wholly of course, but he is certainly adding to that equation. That's a betrayal of the kind of journalistic legacy that Juan Williams used to belong to.

Jul. 26 2011 11:32 AM
jk

NPR badly mishandled Juan Williams. Instead of firing him for his Muslim remarks, it should have given him an ultimatum and told him to choose whether he wanted to appear on NPR or Fox News. Despite NPR's incompetent treatment of Williams, the fact remains that Fox News is the most intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt news outlet in America.

Jul. 26 2011 11:32 AM
john from office

Is he a balck mexican?

Jul. 26 2011 11:31 AM
Robby from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

As a young high school student, I first developed an interest in politics and public affairs through Fox News - the channel my parents watched. I specifically remember thinking that Mr. Williams was always the smartest person on the panel. Now, years later, I no longer watch Fox News, and I'm listening to this show. Juan, had it not been for you, I may have ended up supporting the Tea Party... Thank you.

Jul. 26 2011 11:30 AM
Ken from Little Neck

As much as I usually appreciate Brian's more restrained style of interviews, this is really disappointing. Williams is doing so much dodging and justifying it's almost dizzying. I'd love to see Jon Stewart have a shot at this - he'd rip Juan to pieces.

Jul. 26 2011 11:30 AM
Abbey from brooklyn

who are the extremist democratic politicians? please name one.

Jul. 26 2011 11:30 AM
Melissa from Teaneck

Question for Juan Williams: How were you "muzzled" when, after your firing, you landed a multi-million-dollar contract with Fox News? Also, do you disclose in your book that NPR had problems with your comments on Fox for years before you were fired? (E.g, in 2009 you said about Michelle Obama: "She’s got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going. ... her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I’m the victim."

Jul. 26 2011 11:28 AM
RLewis

Juan, you're fooling yourself if you think you balance anything on Fox. Poor justification.

Jul. 26 2011 11:27 AM
MC from New York

I remember a friend of mine, trying to point out we are all racist, asking me if I would be worried if I was walking on a street at night and behind me were:
a) 5 hasidic men-no not worried;
b) 5 mormon missionaries-no not worried;
c) 5 young black men-yes, a little worried.
I do not think I am racist but but based upon the above, perhaps I am.

Jul. 26 2011 11:27 AM
john from office

Interesting how the left reacts to this guy. Why is he called JUAN??

Jul. 26 2011 11:26 AM
Mark in the Bronx

What if a white tv new reporter admitted during an interview that he becomes very nervous and upset whenever he finds himself riding the subway in which his car is full of black people?

Jul. 26 2011 11:26 AM
William from Manhattan

Thank you, Susan from nyc. I know it will be awkward, but Brian should ask Juan Williams about how someone with his history of sexual harassment could be hired by NPR in the first place. I would be prepared for some bullying.

Jul. 26 2011 11:25 AM
Allison from Manhattan

Oh please!!!!!!! As a passionate NPR listener and member (also a Black Woman), my patience with Juan Williams ran out YEARS ago. NPR handled it badly but they were way too slow to jettison him. Check out comments above by Susan from nyc and "the Truth from Becky" enough said.

Jul. 26 2011 11:25 AM
Tony from Downtown Brooklyn

What Juan Williams conveniently forgets is that if you make that statement on Brian Lehrer in its full context, it's fodder for debate. If you(the token lefty/man of color) says it on Fox, it will be selectively edited and replayed to a "radical right wing" audience.
It's the difference between screaming fire in the privacy of your home and screaming fire in a crowded theater.
Having an NPR correspondent on Fox News legitimizes the propaganda arm of the Republican party as a legitimate news organization. Had he been fired for saying the same thing on CNN his whining and rationalization would be a great deal more valid. But it's irresponsible to say that on Fox.

Jul. 26 2011 11:25 AM
Marc from Staten Island

Haven't missed Juan Williams's absence from NPR a bit. His "analysis" was always facile. Good riddance.

Jul. 26 2011 11:24 AM
salvatp from manhattan

If I'm not mistaken this isn't the first time Mr Williams has made offensive derogatory comments. He just doesn't get it. Even his analogy
about rowdy kids is way off point. Rowdiness is behavioral 'garb' is a look.

Jul. 26 2011 11:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm not worried about people who openly dress so you can tell they're Muslims. Anyone who's planning to carry out a terrorist action in the name of Islam is going to dress so you *can't* tell they're a Muslim.

And I'm going to avoid a crowd of people acting rowdy on the street no matter what their race, or even their age.

Jul. 26 2011 11:24 AM
Janet from Westchester

Adam from Brooklyn says it best. Fox is
definitely the place for this guy.

Jul. 26 2011 11:24 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Did Roger Ailes come up with Mr. Williams' silly defense of Fox News?

Jul. 26 2011 11:23 AM
RLewis

Didn't Juan just agree to being the Fox buffoon???

Jul. 26 2011 11:23 AM
janny from jersey city

so now in light of the tragedy in Norway...should we all fear blond, blue-eyed 'Christians'?

Jul. 26 2011 11:22 AM
Jt from LI

He just equated fear of rowdy, black teens with fear of someone wearing traditional clothing. Not even close to being comparable.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM

@janny --

"so now in light of the tragedy in Norway...should we all fear blond, blue-eyed 'Christians'?"

In a word, yes. Haven't you seen the movie "Village of the Damned/" Or gone to a Tea Party rally? Or had one of these creatures in a police uniform pull you over?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM

After hearing the longer version and his statement in context, I think NPR was wrong to fire him. NPR's reaction was a rash over reaction.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
adam from brooklyn

that was a bigoted comment he made on fox, and he was always a horrible reporter and host on npr- the 9-11 bombers were not wearing so called "muslim garb" so his comments are nothing but bigoted and npr is better off without him.
turning you off today bryan

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
Mark from Maplewood

It's very annoying to listen to Mr. Williams.

I am "brain dead" if I don't associate every Muslim with 9/11? Nonsense.

Also, since Fox puts on guests who DO demonize all Muslims, and who oppose mosques being built anywhere in the United States, they're are perpetuating those lies and bigotry.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
Susan from nyc

Spare me. Juan Williams has a history of sexual harrassment at the Washington Post, and he got off with a mere "apology," then followed up with an aplologia fro Clarence Thomas. Had he attacked any group but women this would never have happened. The question isn't why he was fired by NPR, it's why he was ever hired in the first place. He's in exactly the right place--Fox.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
Carlos from UWS

The 9/11 hijackers weren't wearing 'muslim garb'...

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
Not black

Juan Williams is not "black," as in short-hand for African-American. He is Panamanian raised in Brooklyn. I get the sense that he always felt like an outsider in the "black" community.

Jul. 26 2011 11:21 AM
Edward from NJ

Has he been allowed to talk about phone hacking on Fox?

Jul. 26 2011 11:20 AM
Laura from UWS

NO comparison with Shirley Sherrod.

I am shocked at Brian and hope he corrects this mistake.

Jul. 26 2011 11:20 AM
The Truth from Becky

Once again the Black, man, woman or child gets held up as the example for all things negative...thanks Juan Williams, you never fail to disappoint. Bad example.

Jul. 26 2011 11:20 AM

Oh, yeah, Juan...the radical Muslims who attacked us on 9/11 where wearing Western garb. Just saying. Obviously Williams never saw the photo of Bush holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. If he had he would know the Saudi's are our friend. Or at least Bush's friend.

Jul. 26 2011 11:19 AM
Jane

A few years ago someone had written an Op-Ed following the school shooting in Breslin.

There was a statement made that I think is sort of interesting: "While not all Muslims are terrorists, certainly most terrorists are Muslim."

There is empirical data here, and perhaps this author is looking to discuss this.

Jul. 26 2011 11:19 AM
SteveH from NYC


Why is this character on WNYC's AIR?
Another notch of disrespect for the credibility of this show.
Clearly it's smart to promote this guy he dosen't get enough money from Fox!

I had to turn it off for the segment, better yet the remainder of the show.

Jul. 26 2011 11:18 AM
Edward from NJ

If he had just spoken in the third person, there wouldn't have been any problem.

Jul. 26 2011 11:18 AM
Laura from UWS

Juan Williams was affiliated with Fox. Please ask him about the Murdochs.

Fox News. Learn more at Media Matters:
http://mediamatters.org/search/tag/fox_news_channel

Jul. 26 2011 11:17 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Jeepers, Mr. Williams, maybe NPR let you go because of a pattern of inane comments?

Jul. 26 2011 11:16 AM
Ha!

Bill O'Reilly has no "journalistic ethics," IMHO.

Jul. 26 2011 11:14 AM
A listener

Juan Williams made the original inflammatory comment on the Bill O'Reilly show, which lives on demagoguery and its own brand of political correctness.

I figure Williams enjoyed being a media celebrity and was along for the ride on O"Reilly's program and simply jammed his foot in his own mouth.

I've long since moved on from the statement (how Juan Williams feels when he sees someone in "obvious Muslim garb" is irrelevant to me) and I have thought through Williams' actions since the statement.

I have decided I don't think Juan Williams is an honest person, and that that is more important than whatever knee-jerk bias he may have.

One last thought, please tell Juan to climb down off the cross. His self image as a persecuted man is overblown and offensive. In other words, Juan, get over yourself.

Jul. 26 2011 11:13 AM
KA from New York

I, for one, miss you Juan Williams. You said something stupid, but we all do. I very much notice your absence on NPR.

Jul. 26 2011 11:11 AM
JT from LI

How was his statement about getting nervous around someone with Muslim garb different from someone saying they get nervous whenever a black person is nearby?

Jul. 26 2011 10:18 AM
JT from LI

@Mike from Tribeca
Unless the book is about working at Fox.

Jul. 26 2011 10:17 AM
Mike from Tribeca

"failing to get beyond demagoguery and political correctness"?

Coming from an employee of News Corp., which defines press demagoguery and defends right wing political correctness, this is morbidly ironic.

Jul. 26 2011 09:09 AM

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