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.