I am a National Public Radio listener. I almost always listen to Morning Edition on the way to work, All Things Considered on the way home from work, and the NPR lineup on Saturday morning. I’ve heard Juan Williams express his opinions on NPR countless times.
When I heard that NPR had fired Williams for comments he made on Fox News, I was surprised. When I read his full comments, I was even more surprised, and when I heard that NPR had concluded that his comments were inconsistent with their internal policies, I was shocked. Are we really to the point where making an honest comment about feeling concern, in a much broader context, is sufficient to give rise to a dismissal? And what exactly are the NPR policies that were violated? As a listener, don’t I have a right to know what kind of speech codes NPR is applying to its commentators? (And, incidentally, why didn’t those codes prevent me from hearing countless droning Daniel Schorr commentaries that inevitably circled back to the Nixon era?)
I know that many people consider NPR to be a bastion of liberal bias, but I’ve always appreciated its presentation of the news. It profoundly disappoints me that NPR would give a long-time, respected commentator the boot for expressing honest views that cannot even remotely be construed as hate speech. I am appalled to hear about this kind of censorship, and it causes me to lose enormous respect for NPR as a member of the news media.