NPR’s decision on Wednesday to fire Juan Williams and Fox News Channel’s decision on Thursday to give him a new contract put into sharp relief the two forms of journalism that compete every day for Americans’ attention.Blah. Blah.
Mr. Williams’s NPR contract was terminated two days after he said on an opinionated segment on Fox News that he worried when he saw people in “Muslim garb” on an airplane. He later said that he was reflecting his fears after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nine years ago.
NPR said on Wednesday night that Mr. Williams’s comments were “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices.” According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman, offered Mr. Williams, who was already a paid contributor to Fox, a new three-year contract worth nearly $2 million in total.
After dismissing Mr. Williams, who was one of its senior news analysts, NPR argued that he had violated the organization’s belief in impartiality, a core tenet of modern American journalism. By renewing Mr. Williams’s contract, Fox News showed its preference for point-of-view — rather than the view-from-nowhere — polemics. And it gave Fox news anchors and commentators an opportunity to jab NPR, the public radio organization that had long been a target of conservatives for what they perceived to be a liberal bias.
Those competing views of journalism have been highlighted by the success of Fox and MSNBC and the popularity of opinion media that beckons some traditional journalists. That Mr. Williams was employed by both Fox and NPR had been a source of consternation in the past.
And this from the newspaper that long ago gave over its front page as an extension of the editorial suite. But I'll be fair: It's to the point when reading any purported "objective" news outlet that your bias radar should be set to maximum power. And we should be a bit grateful when we find a reasonable piece of unbiased news reporting. I never understood this until I became a blogger doing my own reporting. But as I've indicated numerous times here, today we have "a partisan press favoring the Democratic Party."
But be sure to read Juan Williams' essay at Fox News, "I Was Fired for Telling the Truth." (Via Memeorandum.) I've long admired Juan Williams (and I've read two of his books). But my admiration's only grown through all of this, and of course the response of the left simply confirms that ideology's complete intellectual and moral bankruptcy. There's is simply nothing beneath these people. Recall that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller slurred Williams by suggesting he should keep his feeling about Muslims between himself and "his psychiatrist or his publicist." The upside, and this is something that black Americans should think twice about, is that Williams was offered a new three-year contract totalling nearly $2 million. With so much poverty and lost opportunity in America's minority communities, we often lose sight of some of our greatest role models, and in Williams' case, one of our most thoughtful commentators.