Williams Wades Through Aftermath of Muslim Comments

By Andrew Gauthier 


On Wednesday afternoon veteran journalist Juan Williams had a phone conversation with Ellen Weiss, NPR’s SVP of News, in which Weiss informed him that his employment with NPR had been terminated. The conversation was in response to an appearance Williams made on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. In a conversation with O’Reilly, Williams admitted that he gets “nervous” when he boards a plane with Muslims.

According to Williams, Weiss asked him, “‘What did you mean to say?'” To which, Williams responded, “‘I said what I meant to say, which is that it’s an honest experience.”


Williams appeared on Fox News on Thursday morning and recounted his phone conversation with Weiss. According to TVNewser, the interview was conducted by Michael Clemente, Weiss’s counterpart at Fox News.

Williams’ firing has been a catalyst for critical discussions about everything from the rights and responsibilities of a political analyst to what it means to be a “bigot.” Here’s a round-up of what people are saying…

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
“There’s a larger trend here, the increasing tempo of journalist firings around the issues of Islam, terrorism, and Israel.” More…

Jay Bookman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The truth is that as a commentator and analyst, Williams has been skating on his reputation for a long time, and the ice was getting thin.” More…

Glenn Greenwald, Salon
“Williams’ trite attempt to glorify his bigotry as anti-P.C. Speaking of the Truth is inane, as his remarks were suffused with falsehoods, not facts” More…

William Kristol, The Weely Standard
“I suspect the powers-that-be at NPR pretty much think what Juan thinks. But the standards of political correctness must be maintained. Pressure groups speaking for allegedly offended Muslims must be propitiated.” More…