Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don Juan

Right wing reaction to Juan Williams’ firing by NPR over a comment he made on his TV job at Fox was as predictable as it was inane. John Boehner called NPR “a left wing radio network,” an accurate assessment if one accepts the premise that he speaks from the political center. Mr. Williams, who is understandably upset at losing a second job, called it “an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics.” He referred to “one party rule” at the network and went on to say that this sort of “enforced ideology” leads to “journalists being sent to the gulag.”

Apart from Mr. Williams’ hyperbole, I question his common sense. The comment at issue is that he worried when he saw people in “Muslim Garb” on an airplane. Offhand I’d say that trying to board a plane in full Islamic regalia with the intention of blowing it up has a Keystone Kops touch to it. As I recall the perpetrators of 9/11 were dressed in coats and ties. 

I’d like to know Mr. Williams’ take on ABC’s terminating Bill Maher’s “Politically Correct” show which, in contrast to NPR, made no pretense at impartiality. Maher’s infraction was  agreeing with a guest who opined that “cowardly” is a pejorative word that doesn’t apply to an act involving suicide.   

If NPR was remiss it was in keeping Williams on its payroll after he joined Fox, an organization whose “Fair and Balanced” logo is fast becoming a laugh line. His on air appraisal of Michelle Obama, during the week of her husband’s inauguration a year and a half ago, should have put an end to his double dipping. “…she’s got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer-dress thing going.” 

Williams must be skilled at saying different things to different audiences inconspicuously in order to have juggled these jobs as long as he did. Maybe he was hoping that nobody who listens to NPR would watch Fox? I agree with John Boehner’s implication that NPR, a taxpayer financed organization, must be impartial. But it seems to me that any transgression would favor his people, given their not too thinly veiled threats against the network. Then again I don’t think accurate news reporting would do them a bit of good. One thing on which we all can probably agree is that Fox must pay better for this sort of work than NPR.

1 comment:

  1. Very good thank you. I did run to Juan Williams defense immediately though because as often as I have seen mainstream and non-mainstream information services allude to Obama supposedly being Muslim and/or being a citizen of Indonesia, putting specific Muslim exemptions into his healthcare legislation that shows his favoring them as a religious group (blatantly not saying that also the Amish and many other religious groups have exemptions in the healthcare legislation) etc., I thought that might make many African American persons in the limelight want to express their distance from that religion if they had it. I mean to me it is some sort of double standard racism to be able to allude that such a prominent man of African American race mixture is Muslim and then on the other hand to expect that other African Americans might NOT also have felt that racist sentiment. So that obviously Williams may have thought he had to go in the opposite direction to distance himself from any alliance with the Obamas and/or Muslims. Because that was the first I had heard about his comment about Mrs. Obama and that was then I did not like him as much. But since I do not watch TV I don't get all of the news all of the time and I was clueless that he was always on Fox. That there would have already made me not like him as much.

    Anyway I also had no idea that it was a controversy that took Bill Maher off? Really? Is that what it was about? I am not quite understanding of the infraction there. If you have a chance perhaps you could say more. Boy without Bill Maher's show we would not have all of those classic moments of Christine O'Donnell. I would think that ABC would be re-thinking that cancellation. Or that someone else had not taken him up.