The Guardian Celebrates Six Months in U.S. with Journalism Debate

Juan Williams and Charlie Rose/Getty Images for The Guardian

The Guardian, the iconic U.K. newspaper, branched out across the pond last year. Last night, it was time for the tabloid to reap the rewards. Rather than a simple party, The Guardian made it a creative thinking process for the several hundred invited guests.

The newspaper provided a debate between commercial pressures and journalistic standards. CBS This Morning‘s Charlie Rose was the engaging moderator.

The panel featured someone who knows first-hand about the pressures of journalistic standards. Juan Williams was dramatically fired by NPR in 2010. Williams, who remains a contributor to Fox News, has had time to reflect on his ugly end to an 11-year tenure.

“It’s not fun being called a bigot and a bad journalist,” Williams tells FishbowlNY. “The degree to which it was about assailing my personal reputation, struck me as Kafkaesque. I didn’t know what to make of it.”

Williams was terminated by NPR for making comments about Muslims on The O’Reilly Factor. On the show at the time, Williams said, “I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Williams says he will get a different reaction from viewers, usually based on gender.

“Men say to me, ‘Fox took care of you. You have a place, you make money, you’re ok.’ And women say to me, ‘Are you alright?’ Because I think they are more aware to have your name dragged through the mud like that is pretty upsetting.”

But the opinionated Williams does have a home at Fox, which was connected to his NPR firing. He’s been an Fox News analyst since 1997.

He says Fox News knows now to draw big numbers, with equally big personalities.

“It’s smart and entertaining programming that is highly engaging,” Williams says. “So people find this worth spending the time there.”

Despite the block of one-sided shows in the evening, Williams says the cable network gets a bad rap when it comes to being known as a Republican party mouthpiece.

“Fox has strong reporters during the daytime hours,” Williams acknowledges. “But clearly the biggest draw in cable news are people like Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow. These are people who have dominant personalities, strong opinions to offer, and the audience goes to them [for] what they are saying about the news of the day.”

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