Juan Williams Comments on Being Fired From NPR (VIDEO)
by Jeremy Taylor, posted Oct 21st 2010 2:54PM
Earlier this week, on 'The O'Reilly Factor,' Fox News commentator Juan Williams said he gets "nervous" when he is on an airplane and he sees men wearing "Muslim garb." In the wake of those comments, NPR fired Williams, who had also worked for the public radio station as a contract commentator.
Appearing on 'Happening Now' (weekdays, 11 AM ET on Fox News) Williams addressed his sudden termination by NPR:
"Wednesday afternoon I got a message on my cell phone from Ellen Weiss, who's the head of news at NPR, asking me to call. When I called back she said, 'What did you say, what did you mean to say?' and I said 'I said what I meant to say.' Which is that it's an honest experience in an airport when I see people who are in Muslim garb who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take, I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That's just the reality."
Then, according to Williams, Weiss accused him of making a bigoted statement, which Williams denied. Then Weiss told Williams that the decision to terminate his employment was final. There would be no further review of the matter, or opportunity for Williams, who had worked at NPR for ten years, to meet with management face-to-face.
There is more to this story than Williams' comments alone: NPR has long been uncomfortable with his dual role on NPR and Fox News. In fact, they had previously asked Fox News to stop mentioning Williams' affiliation with NPR when he appeared on the cable channel, because they believed it made it seem like Williams was expressing opinions on NPR's behalf, not just his own.
In 'The Factor' segment in question, O'Reilly had, at one point, mentioned Williams does work for NPR.
If Williams wasn't just fired for what he said, but also because of Fox News' continued mentioning of his NPR affiliation, that's fine. But NPR needs to say this publicly. If they don't, NPR runs the risk of looking callous and overly attuned to political correctness. After all, Williams was only expressing an honest emotion that many Americans would probably admit to feeling in similar circumstances. That alone shouldn't be a firing offense.