Better And Better

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proving his point, exactly.

I've always prided myself on being able to look at and try to understand the opposing viewpoint, even when I don't agree with it. Sometimes it's admittedly for irritainment, but often I'll review a viewpoint that I may believe is largely biased, in search of actual content. For the last 18 years, I've listened to a lot of National Psocialist Radio. I can't help it-- the stories are longer, the soundbites are longer, and sometimes the stuff in insightful. Other times while shouting at my windshield, I would have to call it incite-ful.

While Nina Totenberg and the rest can drive me nuts with their bias on occasions, I've generally been pretty impressed with one of their news commentators, Juan Williams. Don't misunderstand me-- I disagree with his views a lot. But I've respectfully disagreed with the man. He's not an idiot. He doesn't just parrot PC speech. But he's by no means on any particular wing of the political spectrum.

I was a bit surprised to learn that Fox News had him as a political contributor, but apparently, they hired him before they had decided to become The Voice Of The New Conservative. (Yes, I'm just as irritated at Fox as I am at NPR. Maybe more so, because Fox doesn't even hide that they're bending their broadcasts right, apparently in an attempt to straighten out the left-biased other reporting.)

It didn't surprise me at all that Juan Williams would be on as a guest on "The O'Reilly Factor." After all, Bill O'Reilly routinely takes on guests that he disagrees with, lets them say something that he finds discordant, and then talks over them, drowning them out to the glee of his followers. It's so common, it's hardly even an ambush anymore, as anyone that he interviews that has even seen his show knows that he's going to do it.

I suppose that Juan Williams thought that, given his other status as a paid commentator for Fox News, he would get a little professional courtesy out of Bill O'Reilly, and would be allowed to finish his point before being interrupted in a discussion about whether it was correct to generalize all Muslims as dangerous. Williams, who was making the point that it was wrong to make such sweeping generalizations, opened a comment with a disclosure of how he personally had a long way to go before he could drop his own stereotypes, citing an example of how he had felt uncomfortable on an airplane with several traditionally-dressed Muslim persons. He was then cut off, and that comment was left to hang, out of context.

Today, NPR has fired Juan Williams, saying remarks "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

Apparently, the Council on American-Islamic Relations had complained.

I'm confused. The NRA has complained about how Nina Totenberg has shown blatant anti-2nd Amendment bias in her statements, but she hasn't been fired. (For that matter, the only time she has been fired was when she got caught plagiarizing, back in the '70s.) So you can rail against a constitutionally-guaranteed right on-air, but not candidly admit elsewhere (in a non-journalistic capacity) that you are overcoming personal biases that you find distasteful?

The meat of what Juan Williams was arguing with Bill O'Reilly about, at the time of the discussion at issue, was political correctness. And as Alan said to me this morning, "of course, NPR proves his point about paralyzing political correctness."

And so it goes.

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3 Comments:

At Thursday, October 21, 2010 2:09:00 PM, Blogger DMP said...

I think he got fired for being honest and human.

 
At Thursday, October 21, 2010 4:22:00 PM, Blogger suz said...

I've always liked NPR, because it gives more than headlines and soundbites. Sure, there's bias, but there are also more FACTS than I can find almost anywhere else. I'm deeply disappointed in the firing of Williams. NPR just gave away credibility it can't afford to lose. (I rarely watch TV, but BBC World News also gives better coverage than most American outlets. *plug!*)

 
At Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:11:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Juan Williams didn't toe the party line... NPR can't have honest journalists tell the truth.

I think he'll be MUCH better off on Fox.

 

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