From abc NEWS:
Juan Williams, who was fired from his job at NPR after comments he made on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” this week regarding Muslims, fired back at the radio station on Friday while guest hosting “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“My comments about my feelings supposedly crossed this line, some line, somewhere. That crossed the line?” Williams said.
He then mentioned Nina Totenberg’s comments on NPR in 1995, when she stated that if there were “retributive justice,” former Republican North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms or one of his grandchildren will get AIDS from a transfusion.
An NPR spokeswoman said Totenberg has repeatedly apologized for her comments.
Conservative leaders including Sarah Palin have called to cut off NPR’s funding in the wake of the controversy. According to NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm, NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller has stated that management was standing by its decision to fire Williams. Since his termination, Williams has been hired full-time at Fox News in a reported $2 million, three year deal.
Williams told “Good Morning America” in an exclusive interview Friday that his firing, for saying Muslims on planes make him “nervous,” was the result of a personal and politically motivated vendetta which the veteran newsman described as “vindictive.”
Williams pointed to a flip comment by Schiller who said Williams’ comment should have been shared with his “psychiatrist or publicist,” and not the public.
“It’s personal. I don’t know why she has to get low,” Williams said.
Schiller later apologized for her crack, and Williams said he does not have a psychiatrist.
Then get one, and stop the fekkin’ whining. Seriously, is this really news? Are we really supposed to wring out hankies over this asswipe getting fired when there are so many people out of work? It’s not like he’s going to starve. But let’s go on…
Williams made his comment about being nervous when he sees Muslims at airports or on planes was made Monday on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor.”
NPR said the comment conflicted with their commitment to unbiased reporting. But Williams, who is paid to give his opinion, told “GMA” he had long been in the cross-hairs of NPR management who are upset that he also worked for right-leaning Fox News.
“This is one of the things in my life that’s shocking. I grew up on the left. I grew up here in New York City and I’ve always thought the right wing was the ones who were inflexible and intolerant. Now, I’m coming to realize that the orthodoxy at NPR, as it’s representing the left, is just unbelievable,” he said.
“And especially for me as a black man, to somehow, you know, say something that’s out of the box. They find it very difficult… I think they were looking for a reason to get rid of me. They were uncomfortable with the idea that I was talking to the likes of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity,” he told “GMA”‘s George Stephanopoulos.
Williams has previously scrapped with NPR management, including over comments he made comparing Michelle Obama to Stokely Carmichael and dressing down his bosses publicly when they stood in the way of an interview with President George W. Bush.
Williams hasn’t apologized for his remarks about being nervous seeing Muslims on planes, insisting instead they were part of a longer conversation his NPR bosses took out of context. Williams said he was making a point about how one individual’s fears should not trump the civil rights of other people.
News of Williams’ firing stirred a backlash across the political spectrum with liberals, conservatives and veteran journalists chastising NPR for his dismissal.
“If you are someone who is giving your opinion, then you’re allowed to give your opinion,” ABC’s Barbara Walters said Thursday on “The View.”
William Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard wrote, “Do the powers-that-be at NPR think Juan Williams is a bigot? Do they think a traveler who has a reaction (fair or unfair) like the one Juan describes, in our age of terror in the name of Islam, is a bigot?… I suspect the powers-that-be at NPR pretty much think what Juan thinks. But the standards of political correctness must be maintained.”
“NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats,” Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad told the Associated Press.
NPR receives some funding from the federal government and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said he plans to introduce legislation to end federal funding for NPR.
From First Read at NBC News:
If history is any precedent — especially if Republicans win control of Congress — assignment editors can probably plan on a Washington D.C. press conference featuring Big Bird and Oscar in the next few months.
In the wake of NPR’s decision to fire political analyst Juan Williams for his remarks about Muslims, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint announced Friday that he will introduce legislation to nix federal financing for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds NPR and PBS programming. (In fiscal year 2008, public radio and TV received 13.8 percent of its total revenues from CPB appropriations.)
The sentiment, echoed by conservatives from Rep. Eric Cantor to Sarah Palin, could set up a rerun of congressional Republicans’ previous attempts to reduce or eliminate taxpayer funding for public broadcasting often labeled left-of-center by critics.
Efforts to reduce funding for public broadcasting date back to President Richard Nixon, who was irked by what he perceived to be anti-Administration bias on its public affairs programs. In 1973, he vetoed appropriations for the Corporation, which later agreed to shrink its control over programming decisions.
Newt Gingrich led another charge in 1995, labeling PBS “a little sandbox for the rich” and promising to “zero out” funding for public radio and TV.
More unsuccessful calls for defunding came in 1999, when it was revealed that Boston public broadcasting station WGBH had shared its donor list with Democratic Party leaders.
And in 2005, CPB chairman (and Bush appointee) Kenneth Tomlinson renewed allegations that public broadcasting are liberally biased. But after a House subcommittee voted to completely phase out the government’s grant to underwrite the programming, a powerful lobbyist showed up in Washington to rally support to reinstate the funding — Clifford the Big Red Dog. House Democrats held a press conference near the Capitol featuring the cuddly character, kids with handwritten posters, and boxes of petitions from viewers. The full House restored the money.
So, will this year be the one that the funding is finally eliminated? If it is, it will be a spending cut brought to you by the letters G, O, and P.