NPR fires news analyst Juan Williams

NPR fired news analyst Juan Williams late yesterday over comments he made about Muslims during an Oct. 18 appearance on Fox News. Williams, a news pundit and commentator who had contracts with both networks, was reacting to remarks by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly when he said: “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 a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

In a joint statement issued yesterday, NPR President Vivian Schiller and News Chief Ellen Weiss said: “[W]e did not make this decision lightly or without regret. However, his remarks on The O’Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a News Analyst with NPR.”

Williams declined to comment in today’s Washington Post story. “I better bite my tongue at this point,” he said.

NPR.org’s The Two-Way blog has links to blogosphere coverage and a comment thread that’s approaching 100 postings. Politico reports that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who joined as a Fox News commentator after his 2008 run for the Republican presidential nomination, is calling for the new Congress to cut NPR’s funding.

  • James Owens

    Though interesting and informative though this story is, why did you find it more important (or worthy of covering) than the rather comprehensive study just released by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting? Their study provides the context that the Williams story probably needs. They found that PBS overall prefers the sources and opinions of white male conservatives to anyone else. They also found that “Although public opinion has consistently opposed the Afghan War for over a year (PollingReport.com), public television’s primetime news show featured no guest identified as an opponent of the war or expressing antiwar views.” http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4177
    I hope you might take some time and write about this in an upcoming entry. Thanks.

  • Robert

    Hi James,

    Current did cover that:
    http://currentpublicmedia.blogspot.com/2010/10/fair-examines-pubcasting-in-latest.html

    It’s only a few blog posts ago. Just sayin’…

  • Mike Poller

    NYT reports stations receiving calls from “viewers” who are promising to stop “watching”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/business/media/23williams.html

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