Thursday, October 21, 2010


Whatever you think about NPR's firing of Juan Williams, this ABC News story suggests a defense of Williams that's no defense at all, at least in a society that makes at least some effort to remain reality-based:

Did Juan Williams Say What Most People Are Thinking?

...On an appearance of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," on Monday Williams, 56, said, "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about 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're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

... Williams' remarks reflect a view so widely held among Americans that his dismissal has raised accusations of overly sensitive political correctness. According to two recent polls, Williams' remarks reflect the opinions of many Americans, leading some observers to suggest that Williams was fired for saying what everyone else is thinking....

So that should be the standard? A news organization must keep a journalist on the payroll who violates the organization's code as long as what he or she says is "what most people are thinking"?

So, if "most people" in America are creationists, or don't believe that humans are having an impact on the climate, then NPR should be forced to retain a science correspondent who doesn't believe in evolution, or who thinks sunspots cause global warming?

As Andrew Sullivan noted this morning:

What percentage of traditionally garbed Muslims -- I assume wearing a covered veil or some other indicator and being of darker skin -- have committed acts of terror? And, of course, the 9/11 mass-murderers were in everyday attire, to blend in. So was the Christmas Day undie-bomber. The Fort Hood murderer was in US military uniform, for Pete's sake.

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