Friday, October 22, 2010

All Hypocrisy Considered...

I was asked about the significance of my post yesterday linking to the Anchoress' assessment of the firing of NPR's Juan Williams.

For those not familiar with the story, Juan Williams, a news analyst for NPR, was fired this week for comments he made in a conversation with Bill O'Reilly on FOX. He described his own apprehension when on an airplane with people dressed in Muslim garb, in order to make his broader point of overcoming one's own prejudices. NPR stated that Williams' comments were not in keeping with their expectations that their news analysts don't divulge their personal opinions on controversial topics and that Williams has long been pushing the envelope, so to speak.

It sounds innocuous enough, but the story quickly unraveled to show that there is a much more cynical back story going on. In my opinion, and I am not alone, as the overwhelming majority of the 8000+ comments on the NPR website can attest, NPR has lost its veneer of credibility as an objective media outlet, a credibility which was already on shaky grounds.

NPR has long been criticized for its left-leaning bias in its reporting and staffing. Myself, I used to listen to NPR daily at work (metal building=bad radio reception) and appreciated its in-depth coverage of a wide variety of issues, but after beginning to listen on occasion to conservative radio, I began to hear admittedly conservative viewpoints that were either never given airtime on NPR shows, or given short shrift with sneering contempt. Growing up in CT, I had been immersed in liberal think all through my education, and this was a turning point in my own political thought and understanding. I started to recognize the bias inherent in NPR, and as I started investigating, recognized it in other mainstream media outlets as well, especially in the networks ABC. CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. I began to see that the veneer of objectivity was just that- a veneer, a thin layer to cover up one material to make it look like something else.

In full disclosure, I don't have cable, and so I don't watch FOX. I have no vested interest in defending FOX, but it's clear to me that the reason FOX was able to gain the audience it has is because the public had been yearning for quite some time for a news outlet that wasn't blatantly left-leaning. (So don't fill the combox with "FOX isn't fair and balanced! They're not objective either, they're conservative!!!" I'm not making the case that they are, just that they obviously fill a void to provide counter-balance to the main-stream-media.)

That being said, Juan Williams was fired because of his relationship with FOX. It's interesting that he was fired the day after NPR announced it received a donation for $1.8 million dollars from George Soros, a multi- billionaire who not only has stated as his hopes the collapse of the U.S. dollar, but also a one-world government, who is also supporting organizations that are targeting FOX in general, and personalities on FOX in particular. It on the face of it smacks of blacklisting, and therefore, the suppression of free thought.

Speaking of free thought, aren't news analysts paid to voice their opinions? If you take NPR's stated reasons for firing Williams at face value, why is Nina Totenberg, whose comments about Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Jesse Helms were far more scathing, personal and controversial, still employed by NPR?

No, NPR showed its true colors here. The CEO of NPR made some pretty outrageous comments yesterday about the firing, suggesting that Williams should have kept his opinions between him and his psychiatrist, implying that such thoughts are only appropriate for psychological analysis, and not appropriate for a discussion about race and religion in the public square. And that's where it shows that NPR is not interested in free speech, free thought, or rational discussion, only groupthink that passes the Politically Correct Police. Criticism of muslims is: Simply. Not. Tolerated. That's what Williams' true crime was. Speaking about his gut reaction to riding on an airplane next to people of the same religion as some other people who, in the name of their religion, hijacked airplanes and crashed them into tall buildings.

The politically correct transgression in this case is in parallel to Shirley Sherod's firing from the Department of Agriculture this year. In her case, Sherod, a black lady employed by the Agric. Dept., was shown on video talking about her inital hesitation in helping white farmers. She was quickly fired, and rightly so, for she did, in fact, admit that she didn't help white farmers as much as she could have because they were white, but in the course of that video, she was trying to explain how she overcame her initial hesitation in helping white farmers, to realize that the struggles she ought to help overcome had nothing to do with race. Juan Williams did not act on his apprehensions, he did not discriminate or express hatred, he did not suggest that all or even most are Bad People (TM), but merely that he had a gut reaction to sitting on a plane next to Muslims, given the history of 9/11.

But NPR shows that not transgressing PC boundaries is far more important than expressing honest emotions in a rational debate about race and religion. But given the Soros connection, I wonder if there is something more going on here. Soros, I think, has bought and paid for this institution of the media in his attempts to achieve his goals.

Oh, and since the NPR CEO belittled the tax money that goes to support NPR, then I agree that maybe it's time to pull the funds since she doesn't think it's that big of a deal anyway?

1 comment:

PattyinCT said...

I wouldn't be so upset about this incident, if NPR was more astute in defending all religions equally. Christians and Catholics take a regular beating on the NPR network and on her affiliates. People cannot and should not be forced to relinquish their bias, unless they relinquish all of it. You cannot defend the innocence of Muslims out one side of your mouth, and attack the Catholic Church out the other side, and then try maintain the facade of being "fair and balanced". Now that's something of Psychological proportions!
A great media outlet that I happen to subscribe to is Catholic News Service ( Not only is it Catholic, but it presents the entire story. The drawback here is that a majority of the reporting is in the printed word, in the form of articles - not something you can listen to in the car or at work.
Another great resource, which happens to be conservative, is the Heritage Foundation. All of their articles site sources and are very well written and thought out. Yes, they lean to the "right" but at least they don't make outrageous claims without backing them up. I have yet to see substantive efforts in Williams' case. Yet another nail in the coffin for NPR - imho.