It is so delicious watching the talking heads explode over National Public Radio, or as it now likes to be called, NPR, firing Juan Williams. Because he dared to speak honestly about his feelings regarding Islamics in full garb on airplanes.
Now so there is clarity as to what got the panties and undies in a bunch at NPR, here is what Mr. Williams said:
Political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality. I mean, look Bill [O'Reilly], I'm not a bigot, you know the kind of books I've written on 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 are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week. He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts. But I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it's not a war against Islam.
The above is from Wikipedia.
So, if I get this right, when someone speaks the truth, it gets him or her fired? Even it one makes such a truthful statement in a great context of not overreacting to those Islamics in full garb?
In NPR land, why of course.
And just for good measure, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller had this lovely comment in regards to Mr. Williams' comments:
"Williams should have kept his feeling about Muslims between himself and his psychiatrist or his publicist."
WOW! Amazing. From the land of tolerance and down-the-middle coverage of news and current events.
Guffaw! Guffaw! Guffaw!
It appears to Mrs. Schiller that Mr. Williams is somehow irrational for being honest about how he feels when he enters on a plane and there are people in Islamic clothes.
Now that the background is out of the way, the thrust of this post is the fact that the media critic for the Left Angeles Times, James Rainey, is bashing NPR, NPR has lost this battle. Big time.
Now, anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I loathe the Left Angeles Times. Especially people like Mr. Rainey. But, as a broken clock is right twice a day, Mr. Rainey is very spot on in this column.
Mr. Rainey explains that Mr. Williams did not just make the now infamous comment. That he was trying to explain his own anxiety in an overarching theme that Islamics should not be painted with a broad-brush as terrorists and the like.
I especially like this paragraph from Mr. Rainey:
I thought this was the sort of candid conversation about race and ethnicity we were supposed to have. Didn't President Obama suggest that only open dialogue would chip away hardened misconceptions?
Why yes indeed, the Dear Leader, President Obama, did make that comment. And then stuck his nose in a local police matter in Cambridge, Massachusetts involving the arrest of a Black professor by White police officers.
Memo to Mr. Rainey.
Unfortunately, you may have not read the fine print about that conversation. It has to be on the terms of the so-called victims, not the reality of the moment.
Mr. Rainey gives one of the justifications of Mr. Williams' firing from ethics guidelines provided by NPR.
NPR journalists "should not participate in shows … that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis," reads the pertinent section.
Hmm, wouldn't that kind of sort of put NPR out of business? I mean, are all of their current events programming "fact based analysis"?
Once again, Guffaw! Guffaw! Guffaw!
And Mr. Rainey points out that a former colleague, Mara Liasson, NPR Washington correspondent, is a regular Fox News Channel contributor. Mostly on Special Report but also on Fox News Sunday.
And in a bit of honesty, Mr. Rainey writes about Nina Totenberg and her rather opinionated comments about the late senator Jesse Helms and a wish that he or a family member get AIDS? And Mr. Rainey rightly asks the question. Should Miss Totenberg been fired for such an inflammatory comment.
Well, she still has her job. And the great Charles Krauthammer literally gave her the hammer about that on another Washington gab fest show. Coincidental, that was on PBS television.
What happened to Mr. Williams and the reaction of the media community shows one thing. That NPR needs to be put out of any government funding whatsoever. Even if taxpayer dollars only make two to three percent of the annual budget, it is too much. Same for PBS.
If these two public entities make it on donations of listeners and watchers and augmented by money from private entities, then they essentially are no different that the Discovery channel. Or the History channel.
In other words, to be a full part of the public broadcast family, one should be paying for the privilege.
So, get a cable box or a satellite dish.
Psst. I have to tell those who won't do that something.
We are in the 21st century. This is a new communication age. The same need for a public broadcasting company as when these started in the 1960s is not the same as today.
The other, instructive bottom line is that when NPR loses even an ally like the Left Angeles Times, it may really have numbered their days on the taxpayer dime.