Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good Riddance

Juan Williams has been released from NPR--he also appears on Fox quite often--for making the following comments on The O'Reilly Factor.

“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 the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Let's substitute the word Muslim with some others. Clergy. Indian. Police. Sikh. African. Clown. Wait, that one was him.

But he does have one thing going for him. He's not a bigot.

3 comments:

Spokane Al said...

I have a tough time following this. In August Williams said this:

"I think that this is a malevolent effort by people who are his critics to make him out to be the "other" in American life--that he's not "really an American," he's some sort of Manchurian candidate. . . I think it's the same people who say, you know, "This guy's a socialist." I think it's now about a third of Americans who--and overwhelmingly Republicans--who say he wasn't born in the country. People who want to say that he favors whites over blacks [sic] in terms of what the Justice Department is doing with the New Black Panther Party, it's about reparations for slavery. I think these are people who are uncomfortable with a black president, or uncomfortable with his policies. They don't like Barack Obama."

Here he essentially calls ordinary Americans racists because they are uncomfortable with the president and/or his policies and all was good at NPR.

And then he gets fired for telling us that he experiences some personal nervousness when seeing Muslims at an airport or on an airline.

This firing seems to come after pressure on NPR from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who by the way earlier this month bestowed a "lifetime achievement award" on Jew-hating ex-journalist Helen Thomas.

Hank, what am I missing here?

Hank said...

You're missing the context which you'll find in the transcript. (
www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2010/08/pundits-blame-the-victims-on-obama-muslim-myth-.html and scroll down about 3/4 of the way.) You'll see Williams is referring to Obama's critics, specifically rightwing
and Republican critics, and not all Americans. He made this statement while appearing on Fox News Sunday and it was in response to the Pew Research poll that showed the number of Americans who believe Obama is a Muslim has increased from 11% in Mar 2009 to 18% in Aug 2010 and those who believe he is a Christian decreased from 48% to 34% in the same time frame. Williams is the only panel member who brings up rightwing critics--all the rest say Obama's at fault for not proving he's a Christian and/or born in the USA--and Chris Wallace cuts him off.

What Juan did in his statement about Muslims on a plane was reinforce the labeling of all Muslims as responsible for the attacks of Sep 11, 2001.

Just as Helen Thomas paid for her mistake, Juan Williams pays for his. Well, except for that $2 million contract offer from Fox News today.

Anonymous said...

I'd be scared to get on a plane with either Williams or O'Reilly.