It shouldn't be shocking that as many NPR stations are conducting pledge drives of their liberal audiences, NPR has found a pretext to fire its longtime analyst Juan Williams for an appearance on Fox News. NPR listeners have complained loud and long that NPR analysts should not dignify that right-wing media outlet with their presence. Williams admitted on The O'Reilly Factor "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."
It should be noted that the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent around a press release on Wednesday afternoon. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad called for action against Williams: "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR." The New York Times somehow omitted CAIR from its Juan-is-gone story.
Saying that Muslims scare you after 9/11 or the failed Christmas Day bombing over Detroit is apparently "inconsistent" with and intolerable of NPR's editorial standards.
"Tonight we gave Juan Williams notice that we are terminating his contract as a Senior News Analyst for NPR News," NPR said in a statement.
"Juan has been a valuable contributor to NPR and public radio for many years and we did not make this decision lightly or without regret. However, his remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR. """''''''''''''''''''"''
Alicia Shepard, NPR's ombudsman, told the minorities-in-journalism blog Journal-isms by e-mail, "My office spent most of Wednesday fielding phone calls and emails from NPR listeners angry and upset by what Juan Williams said about Muslims. We got at least 60 emails and that was in response to something he said on another network. My job is NPR’s content – not Fox’s. While this must have been a tough decision since Juan joined NPR in 2000, I think NPR’s management made the right call."
Williams is conferring with his wife and has made no public statement.