Juan Williams was a senior news analyst at NPR (National Public Radio). He is also a news commentator on FOX News. He took his usual position on the liberal side of things while on the Bill O'Reilly show the other night. That evening, NPR announced it was terminating Williams' contract because "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."
One would think Williams did something totally horrific to deserve such a summary dismaissal. However, all he did was speak the truth. He said "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," Williams said Monday. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
He then went on the attack to get O'Reilly to stop characterizing all Muslims as jihadists and told him to "be careful." To which Bill said he would not be careful anymore. He stated that the liberals would have you believe it is a "small" number of the Muslim population that are terrorist but that, in truth, it was "nations; Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan . . ."
The contention of NPR was that his comments about being "nervous" on a plane with Muslims was not professional and "inconsistent" with their "editorial standards."
Many people, including Sarah Palin (whom I have an immense deal of respect for) are calling for the immediate defunding of NPR and PBS.
I disagree with defunding NPR and PBS. They are very important. The initial concept of funding public radio and television was to give a clear unobstructed voice to everything from news to education, entertainment and information, and to expand higher education to people who would not normally have access. It began with the Morrill Act in 1862 and was expanded (with matching public funding) by the Educational Television Facilities Act of 1962.
To defund them would be to give into the "controlled" media and education. NPR and PBS have a rich history of free education and speech. However, I agree that they have gone too far left and socialistic. Some regulating needs to be done, and it is within the right of the government and the people to do so. But these regulations must be Constitutional in nature and reflect the open dialogue they MUST represent, left and right and center. These entities have become far too political and must be de-politicized. If they are unwilling to do so, then by all means, it is within our rights to end their funding. To silence them all together would be a disservice and wrong. They in turn were wrong for silencing Williams and should be brought to task.
Many who would defund this public institution would argue that they have leaned too far to the left, and as is exemplified by the firing of Juan Williams, are stiflinmg the very freedom that allows them to exist. These same people, faced with the history and need for public radio and television, express a lack of hope that any regulation would work.
Therein lies the carrot and the stick. WE fund them. WE decide they have lost their way. If THEY don't correct their lean, WE sink the ship and move on. But to simply defund, we allow those who would control ALL media and education (regardless of their leanings) to win. In a sense, the publicly funded venues of NPR and PBS are our hedge against the age old adage that the victors write the history books. With publicly funded NPR and PBS doing their jobs correctly, we get all the good history with the bad. Thus, we learn not to repeat. And don't lose hope, as it has been the benchmark of the resiliency of America to weather ALL its past storms.
You may agree or disagree with me and that, by the very founding of this country, is your right. But if you have continued to read thus far, and have begun to let at least a little new thought to creep in from what I have been saying, then I will have considered my time well spent and my job done. Think for yourselves and stop listening to every bit of rhetoric, from right or left, and taking it for gospel fact and truth. But hey, this is just me, Thinking Out Loud.
Have a great day.