Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little More About Juan Williams

I don't really have anything new to add to what I said last week, but hopefully I can say it a little better.

Juan Williams wasn't fired from NPR for saying a racist thing. He was fired because his job there was as a news analyst, someone who boils down news stories and makes them easier to understand. Suppose Juan Williams is called upon to explain the Kenneth Gladney "beating" on NPR and last week he had said this on another network: "Well personally, it's pretty obvious to me that the Teabaggers are a bunch of liars." Or if he had simply put quotes around the word beating. You would not trust his version of the Gladney story.

Similarly, even measured as he was on O'Reilly, Williams reavealed a prejudice that excludes him from fairly covering most of the important stories nowadays. And he was measured. Look at this: “Wait a second though, wait, hold on, because if you said Timothy McVeigh, the Atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality at military funerals, very obnoxious, you don't say first and foremost, we got a problem with Christians. That's crazy.” So in context the comment that is said to have gotten Williams fired is very mild indeed. In fact, that's a viewpoint I frequently espouse myself, and just like Juan I can't seem to get any traction with it.

I can't see into the minds of NPR executives but I suspect the real problem is that Juan is working for Fox at all. Just being associated with that network is admitting that you are no longer interested in fairness and balance. Pop quiz: who is the sexy liberal at Fox? Estrich? Colmes? Juan Williams? They're stacking the deck in every way they can come up with to battle their percieved bias in the rest of media. It should be their job to balance within the network, not the entire media landscape. Why? Because they advertise themselves as a whole drink, not a tonic.

(Yes I know Colmes doesn't work there any more. He was too charismatic for them.)

Anyway, Williams is not hurting much from his firing. He signed a $2 million contract the next day and celebrated by guest-hosting the Factor. I'll be interested to see when THAT happens again!

1 comment:

Patient said...

This little video joke about Williams puts in perspective.

Juan Williams spending too much time around and around NPR (1:33)

Dark humor: a bird, a wind turbine, Pop Goes the Weasel music and News Hour sound alike music. (no ambient sound )