Friday, October 29, 2010

The Juan Williams Firing

I think NPR really blundered by firing Juan Williams for an offhand comment made on FOX News. First, there is the way he was fired--by phone rather than in person. This is incredibly shabby treatment of a valued employee who has enhanced the reputation of NPR with his insightful commentary over the years.

Juan has said that NPR has wanted to get rid of him for a long time because they didn't like his being on FOX news. If that is the case, why not call him in and say, "Look, we have a problem with your being on both networks. We need you to choose where your loyalties lie." Juan could then have chosen, and the problem could have been worked out on a cooperative basis, which is the proper way to handle employee problems.

The comment that he gets nervous when Muslims are on his plane should not have been a problem for anybody. It simply states what the vast majority of Americans no doubt feel. We seem to be unable in this country to even mention race without being accused of having nasty prejudices. Juan went on to state that stereotyping is wrong, so his comment could not have been fairly misinterpreted as carrying any kind of bigotry with it.

Shame on you, NPR. You are better than that!

2 comments:

Harley King said...

Amen! We don't know how to talk about race, religion and politics. I strongly agree with your comments and I am a big fan of NPR. We can no longer (if we ever were) be open and honest in public. We must hide behind masks.

chessart said...

Thanks for the comment, Harley, I really appreciate it. I'm sure we each could make a long list of examples of a misguided notion of "political correctness" stifling free speech.

Being a big baseball fan, I think I first became energized on this issue when John Rocker got the 45-day suspension for comments he made to an SI reporter. I felt that, as an unsophisticated country boy from the South, Rocker was merely expressing the same sort of culture shock that any country boy would feel on his first trip to NYC. Yet, Rocker gets 45 days, while a pitcher committing assault with a deadly weapon, which after all is what a beanball is, gets 5 days! Go figure!