It’s been nearly a week since NPR fired Juan Williams for honestly expressing his feelings on Fox News‘ “O’Reilly Factor”about seeing fully garbed Muslims boarding airplanes. His own personal feelings are shared by millions of other Americans, given what happened on 9/11:
when I get on an airplane, 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.
Prominent voices in the lamestream press have either ignored NPR’s outrageous action or have made contemptous remarks about Juan Williams.
The politically correct New York Times, for example, has said not a single word on its editorial page about the controversy. Often an advocate for free speech – at least when it comes to protecting its own rights as a newspaper – the Times evidently did not know how to handle a situation where free speech resulted in a politically incorrect statement on the cable news station that the Times despises.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was completely in NPR’s corner. She put the blame entirely on Williams’ shoulders:
This is not a first amendment issue. This is an issue of what your employer is okay with. And at Fox News, it is not only okay to talk about Muslims being scary on airplanes, it is expected. it is part of the agenda. It is what they are selling.
That’s fascinating coming from the very lady who as it happens, on the very same day that Juan Williams expressed his honest feelings about a major concern to millions of Americans on Fox, brazenly repeated a conspiracy-laden unsubstantiated charge on MSNBC against a former Texas Republican congressmen that he had
actually received advance notice that the Oklahoma City bombing was going to happen
When confronted with the facts, Maddow sort of apologized. However, MSNBC, her employer, did not bother to enforce any journalistic standard -like basic adherence to the facts - in her case.
Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, meanwhile, decided in his Swampland blog post entitled “Juan Dumb” to label both Williams and NPR as equally “idiotic”:
It was idiotic for Williams to say that he gets nervous when Muslims board airplanes.
It was idiotic for NPR to fire Williams for saying something stupid.
Once again, Joe showed how dumb and out of touch with reality he truly is. Williams did nothing wrong. He shared his own fears, yes, but did not say either that he was particularly proud of harboring those fears or that such fears were justifications for any special profiling against Muslims. In fact, while acknowledging his own fears, he told O’Reilly that we have an obligation as Americans to be careful to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in our country and to make sure that we don’t have any outbreak of bigotry: