Sanford D. Horn: Juan gone From NPR
The vigorous and immediate support of former NPR commentator Juan Williams, in the wake of his unceremonious dismissal via cell phone, from both sides of the aisle both politically and in the media speaks volumes – especially when Williams has been silenced, albeit only by NPR.
For a simple expression of his true feelings, that should he encounter Muslims in full Muslim garb aboard an airplane he would feel nervous, Williams was fired by National Progressive Radio. And the fateful words were not even uttered on NPR’s vaunted airwaves, but instead on the Fox News Channel as a guest on the O’ Reilly Factor, Monday, Oct. 18. (Williams said he would have repeated those same feelings on NPR.)
The outrage by the public over the Wednesday, October 20 firing comes, coincidentally, during their semi-annual beg-a-thon, or pledge week as National Pompous Radio calls it. The subsequent aftermath should, and will, affect NPR’s bottom line. This math will be seen in the form of subtraction of public donations, a multiplication of the ire by the rank and file as many listeners have called and e-mailed protesting Williams’ firing. These listeners are decidedly left of center as NPR is a liberal operation.
A liberal operation that claims it only receives 1 to 3 percent of its finding via the federal government, yet at the mere mention of congressional defunding, it cries poverty. Let’s look at that 1 to 3 percent. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives about $425 million annually from Congress, of which $90 million is absorbed by public radio – certainly nothing to sneeze at, even when dealing with trillions in debt and deficits. This is money that comes from the taxpayers’ pockets and can surely be used more efficiently. Public broadcasting is for ALL the public, yet it is far from balanced and most definitely advocacy programming supporting left of center causes.
Sorry, NPR, you can’t have it both ways. Congress should defund CPB and NPR immediately. Let them compete in the free market where they can sink or swim – they are not too big to fail and should no longer be funded by tax dollars. They can continue to receive the corporate grants and viewer/listener support that has come their way for years, but they will never receive another dime from me.
Yes, I have contributed to public broadcasting, particularly to my local radio station, WETA in Washington, DC for the sole purpose of supporting the classical music programming. But no longer. Actions have consequences, and National Propaganda Radio’s actions were careless, irresponsible and an affront to what a free and open press is all about in the first place.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, a document with which NPR may or may not be familiar, guarantees freedom of speech and press – a double whammy, yet NPR is guilty of violating Juan Williams’ rights on both counts.
National Pinko Radio not only crassly fired a revered commentator in their employ for more than a decade via cell phone, but added insult to injury when Vivian Schiller, NPR CEO mocked Williams in a public speech. Schiller said the firing was not a passing of judgment on what Williams’ said, which by the way, it most certainly was just that. Schiller then said Williams should have kept his comments between himself and his psychiatrist or publicist. In watching Schiller make those comments, one could clearly see the sneer on her face, which should be wiped off with her own dismissal.
Schiller said Williams’ violation of NPR’s journalistic standards caused his termination. National Putrid Radio must have the most obsequious of standards and demonstrated its adherence of clinging to the leftist orthodoxy that allowed other commentators to remain on the air for uttering infinitely more damning statements than Williams’.
Longtime NPR commentator Nina Totenberg said in 1995 the now late North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms or even his grandchildren should contact AIDS. So-called NPR humorist Andrei Codrescu said in 2005 that the evaporation of four million Christians who believe in the Rapture would leave the world a better place. In June of this year, National Palestinian Radio hosted a “balanced” forum following the Gaza flotilla incident in which none of the five panelists defended Israel. Such standards of excellence in journalism.
Williams’ dismissal brought immediate support from members of his own profession on both sides of the aisle. Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, both of The View, as well as commentators from MSNBC and other left of center media operations came to Williams’ defense. Clearly even they saw the potential writing on the wall regarding the erosion and stifling of First Amendment rights with the firing of a man of the character and caliber of work as a Juan Williams.
In addition to his radio and television work, Williams is also a noted author of numerous books, including Enough The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America – and What We Can Do About It, which I highly recommend.
Fox News, for whom Williams also works, stood by their man and put its money where its mouth and slogan are by extending his contract – defending the Constitution and demonstrating they clearly are fair and balanced.
With a recent infusion of $1.8 million from far left, anti-American, anti-free speech financier George Soros to NPR, it is obvious who is now pulling the strings. Juan Williams may just as well have been fired for his association with Fox News. Who’s next on Soros’ hit list? Mara Liasson? Either dance the NPR dance or dance alone.
The American public demonstrated that Juan Williams is not alone. Flooding the switchboard and crashing the website at NPR demonstrated support for Williams to the tune of roughly 8,000 to 60. The 60 coming from extremist CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and its supporters calling for retribution against Williams for what? Having the nerve to express his feelings.
It is amazing that as the American lexicon grows via politically correct euphemisms, the English language continues to shrink in terms of what words people can and cannot say. Every word is parsed beyond recognition. This is political correctness taken to the worst degree that it is actually a repudiation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is disturbing to the point of Orwellian. This is the epitome of censorship and as a publicly funded organization, it should not go unpunished.
Call NPR at 202.513.3232 (10-5 EST) or visit their website at www.npr.org. Inform them how much money you would have pledged, but won’t, due to the cowardly firing of Juan Williams. Then inform them your next call will be to your member of Congress to demand that NPR be stripped of its federal funding. We will speak with out wallets and our votes.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria.