During an appearance on Fox News‘ O’Reilly Factor Thursday evening, former NPR news analyst Juan Williams describes how he heard the news of his firing from National Public Radio (NPR).
O’Reilly and Williams speculate that NPR was pressured to fire Williams after he offered his opinion during a Fox broadcast earlier this week. Via RightScoop:
FoxNews.com also published a column from Williams Thursday in which he says he was “fired for telling the truth,” and describes how NPR tried to keep him from appearing on Fox News:
My point in recounting this debate is to show this was in the best American tradition of a fair, full-throated and honest discourse about the issues of the day. — There was no bigotry, no crude provocation, no support for anti-Muslim sentiments of any kind.
Two days later, Ellen Weiss, my boss at NPR called to say I had crossed the line, essentially accusing me of bigotry. 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. …
I asked why she would fire me without speaking to me face to face and she said there was nothing I could say to change her mind, the decision had been confirmed above her, and there was no point to meeting in person. To say the least this is a chilling assault on free speech. The critical importance of honest journalism and a free flowing, respectful national conversation needs to be had in our country. But it is being buried as collateral damage in a war whose battles include political correctness and ideological orthodoxy.
Though I often disagree with Juan Williams, I have great respect for him. This is an outrage.