White supremacist blogger Robert Stacy McCain, who just can’t seem to get me out of his head, tweets this morning:
How long before Charles Johnson denounces Juan Williams as an extremist Islamaphobic nutjob? #NPR
Thanks for thinking of me, racist cretin, but here’s the thing: I don’t believe Juan Williams is an “extremist Islamophobic nutjob.” In fact, in some ways Williams was giving voice to a fear and prejudice that many Americans share. But is that the behavior of a responsible journalist — to echo populist prejudices back to the masses? (Yes, I know that’s Fox News’s whole raison d’être; I said “responsible” journalists.)
The key point is what NPR said about the firing: his remarks were “inconsistent” with their standards and practices. Williams’s remarks contributed to the constant drumbeat of Fox News incitement against Muslims, essentially reassuring Bill O’Reilly that his prejudice was understandable and justified. And since NPR had previously distanced themselves from Williams’s appearances on Fox News — they requested that he not be identified as an NPR contributor when appearing on Fox — there’s obviously more than a little history of friction behind this.
In the context of everything else going on with Fox News, these statements were incredibly irresponsible, and damaged Williams’s ability to appear as a rational commentator.
I think Williams finally went over the line, and will probably now be appearing on Fox News with more frequency; it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he knew very well those remarks would get him fired.
And Fox, of course, is going to work the angle to death that Williams was “speaking truth” to the NPR libruls.
Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart is doing his best to leech off this controversy by threatening not to appear on NPR until Williams is reinstated:
I refuse to be guest on NPR until Juan Williams is reinstated. I suggest all BIG editors, contributors follow same course.
So this isn’t all bad.
UPDATE at 10/21/10 10:52:47 am:
And of course, the queen of right wing idiocy is also jumping on this like a shark on chum, calling on President Obama to refudiate NPR: Sarah Palin: Juan Williams: Going Rogue.
Juan Williams: Going Rogue. NPR should receive NO fed tax dollars if it operates as intolerant, private radio. Mr. President, what say you?
I’m sure he’ll get right on this.