On Thursday, the NPR Board of Directors announced it has concluded an internal review of the firing of senior analyst Juan Williams for comments on the Fox News Channel. In what a spokesman called “two distinct pieces of news,” the internal review came with the resignation of Ellen Weiss, NPR’s senior vice president for news, the one who fired Williams over the phone. Weiss, whose husband Rabbi David Saperstein is an adviser to President Obama’s faith-based initiative, told Williams he didn’t have enough remorse for his comments admitting fear of Muslims:
"She took the admission of my visceral fear of people dressed in Muslim garb at the airport as evidence that I am a bigot. She said there are people who wear Muslim garb to work at NPR and they are offended by my comments. She never suggested that I had discriminated against anyone. Instead she continued to ask me what did I mean and I told her I said what I meant. Then she said she did not sense remorse from me. I said I made an honest statement. She informed me that I had violated NPR's values for editorial commentary and she was terminating my contract as a news analyst."
Williams chose not to participate in the review (perhaps knowing his view of the firing was already quite public.) The idea that Weiss's departure is coincidental doesn't come across in the Board's findings:
One laudable practice at National Public Radio is reading listener reactions on the air. On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, they noted several listeners objected to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik stating Fox offered "voracious conservatism" while MSNBC merely offered "leftward tilt." Anchor Michelle Norris relayed:
The Pew Research Center last year found that public trust in the media was at an historic low because of those perceived slants. Well, several listeners thought our story had a bit of a slant. Stan Henney of Longmont, Colorado, writes: The reporter described Fox News as voraciously conservative, and MSNBC as tilting to the left. Both are subjective, not objective descriptions. I personally think that while some Fox personalities can be aggressive, MSNBC does a lot more than just tilt.