Journalist and author Juan Williams has been fired from NPR ostensibly for a response he gave to Bill O’Reilly following  The View incident where 2 of the hosts walked off stage.  Williams agreed with O’Reilly about attitudes about Muslims, for the most part.  According to the New York Times:

The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”

Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly.

He continued: “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Mr. Williams said.

NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

Spokespeople for NPR have said in the past that they are uncomfortable because Williams speaks one way on NPR and another way on Fox News.  On the other hand, is what Williams said offensive or honest?  What if he, as a black man, had said he gets nervous in some parts of town when he has to walk past a group of street wise black youth with their pants on the ground?  Would he have been fired? 

At what point must Americans simply not be allowed to  be honest?  How many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first learned of 9/11?  How many of us would be nervous getting on a plane with Muslims heading to first class dressed in full dress? 

I can tell you I sure was the day I took one of the moon cabs across the Dulles lot with a lady in a burka or near burka pushing a baby stroller with packages in it.  NO baby, just packages.  I wouldn’t have gotten on a plane with her.  If that makes me a bigot, so be it.  I often disagree with Juan Williams but how soon can we count on all opinion being squelched?  I don’t want to live in a country where people can’t ever express their opinions.  I am afraid this latest move by NPR will be seen as a declaration of war.  The timing is very bad.



49 Thoughts to “Juan Williams: The Sacrificial Lamb”

  1. Elena

    I understand both points of view on this one. However, I would add, if a white man said that he feels nervous around black people on a plane, how would we react? When we watched video of the marathon citizens time in PWC about immigration, one woman got up and talked about how nervous her mother was taking the trash out because of hispanic men. I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t honestly debate fear of the unknown, i.e Juan Williams comment, but I also don’t want to live in a world where it’s alright to prejudge people based on the way they look.

  2. Mr. Williams needs to sue on 1st Amendment grounds. This is atrocious. He said nothing wrong nor bigoted. THIS sort of thing is why many conservatives feel that NPR should be defunded.

    Redstate is also covering this and has a link to the NPR ombudsman for comments:

    NPR is only worried about appearances when offending “protected” classes. They didn’t worry about offending many Americans when they did a piece on “how to speak teabagger.”

    Mr. Williams said only that which many Americans feel is valid and have the same reactions. To paraphrase President Obama, I guess that NPR feels Juan Williams is just a “typical American”……..

  3. SlowpokeRodriguez

    I was pretty surprised by this. Oh well, NPR is a shell of it’s former self anyways.

  4. Juturna

    A group of black men did not hijack a plane and kill thousands. There is a difference between a general statement and a universal statement – “a group of black men hijacked a plane and killed thousands” is not the same thing as “men that hijack planes and kill thousands are black”. Just a little formal logic reminder for those of us who have been out of college a while…..general statements will require some defense. We should allow the time for the defense.

    I’m okay with Juan….. I’m more interested in the differences when he is on NPR v. Fox.

  5. @Elena

    But how people look is generally where the first judgement is made. What Juan Williams was saying was simply that he was nervous, not of Muslims but if they were on planes in full Islam attire. He didn’t put that out as a final statement on things, but as a jumping off point for discussion.

    What he said was a long way from saying most of what was said during the marathon. He wasn’t even saying don’t ride first class in the plane in full Muslim dress. He explained that HE felt nervous when it was done.

  6. Juturna, are you ok with Juan being fired? If there is something else going on, then that’s one thing. I don’t think the sections of the video I saw warranted firing.

    And not to sound like Cargo (who I screamed for like a school girl when I first saw Juan had been fired over this) but people who want to do us harm are relying on people to play the PC card, so they can do their own will. We will be afraid to report people in full dress buying huge quantities of fertilizer next thing we know.

  7. e

    thats the problem with political correctness. it can lead to the point to where common sense and just prudence are sacrificed in order not to offend the gods of liberalism and multiculturalism. i’m always reminded of the story of “the emperor has no clothes.” kudos to juan williams, and damn npr for censoring the expression of free speech

  8. I think there is a happy medium. As a society we need to insist on polite speech but not be shackled by it.

  9. marinm

    MH, bonus points for the title of this thread. Because, it fits perfectly. Notice what WPost and NPR posted about the subject. Diversity in ideas and viewpoints end at the PC firewall. For shame!

  10. Elena

    Moon-howler :I think there is a happy medium. As a society we need to insist on polite speech but not be shackled by it.

    I agree totally. We have to be able to have an open conversation but also not condone prejudice.

  11. Here’s a an update on what the conservative world is saying”

    I left the BigJournalism link off because I know that Moon considers them unworthy…….

  12. punchak

    Let’s march on Washington and demand that ALL air line passengers dress the all-american way! That way we can’t tell whom to fear. Hook noses, freckles, red hair, straight black or frizzy hair might scare some, but you can’t tell whether they might, just might, blow up your plane.

    Personally I don’t understand why Muslims dress like Muslims, why Pakistani women wear harem pants, Indian women wear saris when they live in AMERICA. For pete’s sake, dress AMERICAN!

    I don’t see many serapes or sombreros around – nor sarongs or dashikis.

  13. e

    fdr, the great icon of the democrats, had no problem condoning prejudice when interning all japanese americans in wwII. perhaps his ability to condone prejudice is why the stars and stripes fly over the white house today and not the rising sun

  14. Rick Bentley

    My first reaction was that NPR is out of their minds, however, their explanation does hold some water – he violated their particular standards for being an “analyst” –

  15. Glad I used the word ‘ostensibly.’ @Rick.

    Punchak, I sort of agree. If you are going to immigrate, do it to be an American.

  16. Lafayette

    Juan now has extended and expanded contract with Fox News. Good for Juan! Shame on NPR. I’ve just listened to the Schiller lady’s comments on Juan’s firing. sigh

    I totally agree with your comments. I had many friends that lived abroad and they always made a point of dressing in the clothes of the places they lived.

  17. Juturna

    Just because NPR commentators (does’nt that very word infer opinion) speak in well modulated tones (!) it doesn’t mean that they too don’t engage in “speculation”. I listen to NPR. Firing Juan was wrong. Look at Nina Totenburg – she enages in speculation. I’ve always “felt” she was sneering at me in my car!!! By the way, did she really say that “the evaporation of four million Christians would make the world a better place?”

  18. Bubberella

    I just wish that I could get news without a “slant”, whether right or left. When I want punditry, I’ll look that up myself. I used to figure that the “truth” was somewhere between the Washington Post and the Richmond Times Dispatch. That’s no longer a good way to balance anymore when the country is so polarized and there’s a Left news and a Right news with each so helpfully “explaining” events through their particular distortion. I suppose that I’m very naive, but I think we’d all do better if we could agree on a common set of terms and talk to each other instead of past each other. The current political environment and terms of debate suck mightily.

  19. Morris Davis

    He’s welcome to join my first amendment lawsuit against the federal government. On the other hand, I see that he’s already inked a $2M deal to join Faux News.

  20. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    punchak :
    I don’t see many serapes or sombreros around – nor sarongs or dashikis.

    Well, I occasionally like to don the ole sombrero and hang around the immigration services place next to VA Arms.

  21. @Bubberella, I wish I had said that about the truth being between the Wapo and the TD. Good one and spot on.

    You are also right…there should not be right news and left news. Facts are either fact or they are not.

    I would also love to get unfiltered news.

  22. O’Reilly was madder than a wet hen. He has declared war on NPR and has called the CEO who fired Juan stupid. Tom Demint is supposedly having congress withdraw all public funding.

    I would be sad to see that happen. The View women stated how sorry they were to see Juan fired.

    Laura Ingram is on now, shrieking, and saying that the View women were intolerant. Hmmmm…she too missed the shut up and listen…

    This opened up a war I am not sure I want to see. Hold on. The ride will be rough.

    I am still think Juan Williams got screwed. He is very upset.

  23. Slowpoke Rodriguez :

    punchak :
    I don’t see many serapes or sombreros around – nor sarongs or dashikis.

    Well, I occasionally like to don the ole sombrero and hang around the immigration services place next to VA Arms.

    You are just trying to find Speedy.

  24. Juturna: Here’s the original quotes. Apparently by Andrei Codrescu about those that believe in the “Rapture” from 1996.


    NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu was not exactly penitent about a remark that offended fundamentalist Christians over the holidays, although NPR has apologized for his comment.

    Meanwhile the Christian Coalition vows it will intensify efforts to push Congress for an end to federal support for public broadcasting.

    Codrescu’s Dec. 19 All Things Considered commentary derided the belief, held by some Christians, that at world’s end all those who are “saved” will ascend immediately to Heaven and the rest of the population will suffer Armageddon and wind up in Hell. Reading from a pamphlet he was handed on the street, Codrescu said that believers in the “rapture” predict that more than 4 million people will depart in less than a fifth of a second. He went on to say that “The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place.”

    NPR’s comment:

    Since Andrei Codrescu’s Christmastime commentary offended many fundamentalist Christians, NPR has received 40,000 complaints from listeners. And it has answered every one of them, Board Chairman Carl Matthusen announced at the annual NPR affiliates meeting May 16 [1996]. He commended staff for being conscientious, and said that no company “can produce the amount of material we produce at NPR and not have some problems.”

    Though the commentary was “not our most shining moment at National Public Radio,” Matthusen said, it would be unfair of religious communities to judge the network on the basis of one mistake. “That would be like judging the religious community based on Jim Bakker. It does not make sense.” He also pointed out that NPR is a rarity for staffing a full-time religious news desk.

    The apology expressed regrets for the “vulgar term” Codrescu used and his statement that the world would be better off without the believers. “Those remarks offended listeners and crossed a line of taste and tolerance that we should have defended with greater vigilance,” NPR said. “We spoke with Andrei who told us he would like to apologize for what–with hindsight–he regards as an inappropriate attempt at humor. It’s one he regrets. And so does NPR.”

    But Codrescu says he’s sorry only for using the word “crap.” “I had no idea they were going to apologize on my behalf. They said some staff members were upset and I said I was sorry I had upset them and didn’t intend to.”

    Codrescu says he’s mad at NPR, but will probably continue doing pieces. “It’s a natural reaction to try and come back and say something even more offensive,” he says, “but I don’t know … .”

    So, if he did keep doing pieces for NPR, I guess its ok to air your opinion that it would be better for the world that 4 million non-violent Christians to “evaporate” and be unapologetic. I guess that its ok to insult Christians and keep your job. Judging NPR on the basis of this mistake of this utterance would be wrong, but, that Williams utterance put the reputation of NPR at risk.


    Its that the opinion of Juan Williams did not fit the narrative of NPR. Juan was an apostate. That’s why HE was fired.

  25. Once again, I am feeling yucky about my post about Juan Williams. Why? I think he got the shaft but….O’Reilly is enraging me so much I want to throw Williams to the wolves just to shut O’Reilly, Beck, Ingram, Kelly and others up. Actually Kelly didn’t make me angry but the others sure did.

    Juan needs to disassociate himself. He has the support of many people and it is being killed off by the likes of the gag brothers…and a sister. Not killed off gently, but stabbed to death over and over. O’Reilly is an arrogant, obnoxious, egotistical blowhard. He is trying to turn it into being all about George Soros. How about turning it all about Murdock?

    O’Reilly also continued to pick at Whoopie Goldberg. He said she and Joy thought they would win. He is an AH. He is defending free speech and railing on them. I guess speech isn’t free if his own kind aren’t uttering it?

    I have to change this channel. Good grief.

  26. He needs to disassociate himself from whom or what? Why do you want to throw him to the wolves because O’Reilly was being O’Reilly and Behar and Whoopi were acting like idiots. Neither of them ever show respect to their own guests that they invite to ambush, especially Behar. She’s horrible. O’Reilly says “Be quiet and you’ll learn something” to EVERYBODY including his friends.

    Could it be that what he said and not how he said it offended you? Could it be that you’re afraid that those that point out that Islam is a violent, intolerant religion may be right? And you really don’t want them to be?

    He was rude. So are they. Its all an act.

    Soros is actively trying to subvert America and its politics. He is trying to make a profit on shorting the dollar. That’s what he does.

    Murdock, not so much.

  27. punchak

    Moon-howler :

    Slowpoke Rodriguez :

    punchak :I don’t see many serapes or sombreros around – nor sarongs or dashikis.

    Well, I occasionally like to don the ole sombrero and hang around the immigration services place next to VA Arms.

    You are just trying to find Speedy.

    Oh gosh, oh golly – I remember Speedy Gonzalez!

    1. @punchak

      Slowpoke’s city cousin

  28. Murdock most certainly is trying to influence American politics. 🙄 Good grief. What do you call Fox News?

    As for Whoopie and Joy, and yes, O’Reilly, all had very bad manners. O’Reilly was every bit as rude as they were. Whoopie seems to be the only one who realizes she was guilty of bad manners. O’Reilly has an excuse for saying what he said to Baher. You know, there is no excuse for what he did. In this day and age, men simply do not talk that way to women. That is not to defend Whoopie or Joy.

    And lastly, why is O’Reilly trying to beat the last ounce of life out of all of this? if he just admitted he was somehow culpable, I might feel differently. But he wants to keep his innocence up. When Whoopie defended Juan, O’Reilly couldn’t be big enough to not cut her down. He really is a very little man in spite of his 6’2″.

    Meanwhile, a man has lost his job and in my opinion, wrongly. I am not alone in thinking this. Time for Bill O’Reilly to tone it down and so some reflection, before someone tells him to shut up and listen so he will learn something…like a little humility.

  29. Cato the Elder

    Moon-howler :@Bubberella, I wish I had said that about the truth being between the Wapo and the TD. Good one and spot on.
    You are also right…there should not be right news and left news. Facts are either fact or they are not.
    I would also love to get unfiltered news.

    Bloomberg (sometimes) and the Financial Times will git you done.

  30. Cato the Elder

    The straight news in the WSJ is also good, just don’t read the editorials.

  31. That is good to know. Thanks.

  32. @Moon-howler
    Murdoch saw a niche and filled it. Soros actively designs organizations that steer and subvert the American polity. Beck is right about Soros. Murdoch is just small potatoes next to him.

    As for Juan: Muslims speak out against the firing of Williams

    Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, took issue with those who wrap themselves in feel-good sensitivity, while denying the fact that the majority of terrorists are Muslim.

    Indeed, the threat is real enough even for Fatah, a liberal Muslim, who looks at women in burkas with skepticism. “I am scared when I see women in burkas, how do I know what is behind that?” Fatah said, noting that many Muslims share his concerns.

    “We are victims of these guys. A number of suicide bombers who have attacked have killed people [while] wearing the burka,” Fatah said. “This is the truth, we should be speaking the truth rather than what people expect us to say. ”

    Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told The Daily Caller that though Williams could have been more tactful, his ouster is symptomatic of the problems Americans continue to face when discussing Islam.


    Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, echoed Fatah and Jasser. Schwartz told TheDC that he and his organization opposed NPR’s reaction to Williams’ comments.

  33. PWC Taxpayer

    Ok, how is this about O’Reilly’s personality? This is about free speech and an alternative view from a TV media outlet funded in no insignificant way by the taxpayer. What O’Reilly says and how he says it are two very different things – no different from a comedian who uses the absurdity of a situation to point to the absurdity of a situation. Do you really think that there is no connection between this decision and the Soros funding or the election? Just coincidence I suppose. No, the real problem here has been William’s trepid lack of support for Obama and as a black man doing that is unforgivable – just ask Al and Jesse – who seem to have been caught in traffic on their way to the cameras to defend Juan and principle. At this point, do you think the Obama White House (staff of course for plausible denial) was not also involved? After years of defending the left – boy – they’ve tossed another ally under the bus. It will be interesting to hear Juan’s analyses down the road.

    This firing is proof that the left has a long term message control agenda. Juan Williams was a gentleman who tried to make sense of an issue between the extremes, but that is not where the left, Soros and NPR want to go. What concerns me is that this action is a glimpse of transparency into the effort to appear reasonable in their political correctness.
    We have seen this in many other venues. Anyone alive after 9/11 who does not quietly observe and keep a special eye out for anomalies – anomolies – when seeing a young middle eastern male and reporting as such is unpatriotic, is dismissing the official requests of the DHS to be vigilant and frankly is an idiot. Think 9/11, think NYC car bomb, think shoe bomber, — all Irish. I am an American. I’ll stop worrying and watching when I hear the moderate Muslims standing up – protesing – marching against the extremists. I will stop worrying when our national defense is put in front of political correctness.

    Cut the NPR funding now.

  34. Bubberella

    Because ORielly was being ORielly and the others were idiots? All of the involved parties acted inappropriately. Why does ORielly get a pass when he was egregiously rude and condescending, not to mention wrong?

    Why does anyone watch this crap? The whole vast wasteland of tv “news” and “talk” is set up for hype, confrontation, and generating righteous indignation. It’s all a steaming pile of horseshit.

  35. What I’m saying is that all of them were acting this way. O’Reilly was, at first, being singled out for being rude. I don’t watch him because of his attitude. It grates on me. Behar and company’s normal operating mode is also rude whenever they have a “right winger” on. I’m surprised that a serious interviewer like Walters would be on the show. She’s the only one on there that has any professionalism. Hasselback usually acts nice, but, she’s an token conservative and is outnumbered.

    I’m not “excusing” anyone for being rude, just that Behar and Whoopi were over-reacting on purpose. It was staged.

  36. Actually it really isn’t about free speech. Your empoyer ultimately can determine your speech.

    NPR funding–I believe they apply for grants like everyone else. That’s the answer. Handle what you see as a free speech by taking away someone else’s?

  37. Bubberella

    I don’t watch the shows, I just see them when they’re linked on the internet — Limbaugh, ORielly, Beck, Olberman, Maddow, The View — they’re ALL staged to get “their side’s” bowels in an uproar. They all selectively provide a specific side of a “story” that’s usually not a story at all, but a tempest in a teapot. Then they whip their viewers into a froth armed with one side of an issue that doesn’t amount to anything in the first place.

  38. Cato the Elder

    When I was growing up, my father was fond of using the expression “garbage in, garbage out,” which I would try and wrap my head around at Christmas when encyclopedias showed up under the tree instead of an Atari.

    A friend of mine did a worthwhile blog post on the subject some time ago:

  39. PWC Taxpayer

    From the New York Daily News:

    Terror threat to restaurants as Al Qaeda calls for attacks on government workers in D.C.


    Monday, October 11th 2010, 8:34 PM

    WASHINGTON – The terror group tied to the Ft. Hood killings and the Christmas Day undies airbomber urge wannabe American jihadis to open fire on crowded restaurants in the nation’s capital to massacre U.S. government workers.

    The advice appears in “Inspire,” the latest issue of a slick propaganda publication by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Osama Bin Laden’s franchise in Yemen.

    “A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C., at lunch hour might end up knocking out a few government employees,” Yahya Ibrahim writes in the 74-page jihadi how-to magazine.

    “Targeting such employees is paramount and the location would also give the operation additional media attention,” Ibrahim added.

    Other trash talk came from “Samir Khan,” an American who came to AQAP from North Carolina, who produces the publication and wrote that he is “proud to be a traitor in America’s eyes.”

    “This guy is bad news, and given the fact that he helps publish AQAP trash, he certainly spreads a lot of it around, too,” said a senior U.S. official.

    According to a copy of the magazine obtained by the SITE intelligence group, AQAP also urged those bent on murdering for Islam to use everything from pickup trucks to improvised pressure-cooker bombs to kill.

    The trucks can be fashioned into “the ultimate mowing machine,” with steel blades welded to the grill to “mow down the enemies of Allah” by running down Americans on crowded sidewalks “to achieve maximum carnage” in a “martyrdom operation.”

    “This method has not been used before,” advises AQAP in its “Tips for our brothers in the U.S.”

    Ibrahim praised the killings of a dozen victims at the U.S. Army post in Texas allegedly committed by accused homegrown terrorist Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was in contact with and inspired by U.S.-born AQAP cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

    In 1993, Pakistani killer Mir Aimal Kasi opened fire on CIA employees at a stoplight, who were targeted because their cars were in a turn lane for the agency’s Virginia headquarters.

  40. marinm

    My favorite part is:

    The high-profile firing of Williams could not have come at a worse time for liberalism as an election looms in under two weeks. Consider: Public unions are rioting in France. Socialist Greece is broke from unfunded liabilities. The dollar is crashing under worldwide perceptions that the United States is printing money to fund out-of-control social programs. The voter now goes to the polls — with the firing of Juan Williams (who, unlike Prof. Gates or the Ground Zero mosque, so far does not earn a presidential intervention) by public radio, with the knowledge that anywhere in the world statism has been implemented it is imploding in the streets no less, and in despair that the United States under Obama is piling up record debt — and surely will be skeptical about candidates who advocate higher taxes to pay for more state agencies and employees to grow government and its apparent hostility to the private sector.

  41. Juturna

    Cargo-thanks for the background information. I’m at a loss ….

  42. Elena

    The imam that wants to open up the cultural center in NYC is quite moderate as a muslim and is well known for being a peacenick. And yet………………………what was the reaction my many tohim. So for those that decry “where are the moderate muslims” …..they were the ones being villified by Faux News.

  43. Emma

    A direct quote from “moderate” Ground Zero mosque imam Abdul Rauf:

    Throughout my discussions with contemporary Muslim theologians, it is clear an Islamic state can be established in more than just a single form or mold. It can be established through a kingdom or a democracy. The important issue is to establish the general fundamentals of Sharia that are required to govern. It is known that there are sets of standards that are accepted by [Muslim] scholars to organize the relationships between government and the governed.

  44. The only thing that makes Imam Rauf moderate is that he appears to be anti-violence. He still promotes the advance of Sharia as the ruling law of the land. He still says one thing in english and another to his arabic allies. He still seeks money abroad in Saudi Arabia to build the mosque, sorry, cultural center. I’ll believe that its an interfaith chapel in there when they invite the NYC Catholic diocese to hold mass. Sufi’s are victims of the Shia/Sunni political violence. However, being a man of faith, he still believes that Sharia trumps all.

    A comment is not long enough to write in detail about Rauf and his problems. They are detailed elsewhere. Google is your friend. There are posts supporting and exposing Rauf.

  45. You know, I have gotten back to square one where I just don’t care. It is an opinon. they should/they shouldn’t. Opinions aren’t going to make it happen or not.

    I prefer to save my energy for something that really matters to our national security.

  46. Wolverine

    Not good. Whether you agree with him or not on specific issues, Juan Williams is one of a diminishing number of political pundits these days who really try to keep debate civil.

    1. Agree, Wolverine, about Juan Willilams. He also cannot be categorized, which I find refreshing.

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