With the firing of National Public Radio correspondent Juan Williams, the question loomed once again: Why do U.S. taxpayers pay more than $100 million annually to subsidize America’s most liberal radio network?
"NPR’s firing of Williams tells you all you need to know about the radical and thoroughly intolerant left," observed media analyst L. Brent Bozell. "Williams is a liberal, but still, he isn’t liberal enough."
He’s also black as well as Hispanic. He was born in Panana and came to the U.S. with his parents at age 4. However, he refused to fit the required liberal image of either African-Americans or Latinos. Instead, he had the nerve to defy his bosses at NPR and appear on Fox News, where he offered liberal rebuttals.
Increasingly, however, he showed independence, which the liberals cannot stomach. He was honest and candid. The week before Election Day, he commented on a Fox program that whenever he boards an airliner, it makes him uncomfortable to see people in Muslim garb on the plane. "It didn’t matter that he prefaced it with all the perfunctory and politically correct disclaimers about not being a bigot and we shouldn’t blame all Muslims for terrorism," notes Bozell. "Today’s left is void of any principles whatsoever. They can be as astonishingly offensive and insulting as they want toward Christians, and no one gets punished."
For example, on April 30 on NPR’s "Fresh Air," substitute host David Bianculli raved over the leftist musician Tom Lehrer for his song "The Vatican Rag." It has lyrics like this: "Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional, there a guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original."
Williams’ firing leaves no doubt what would have happened should an NPR host rave over a Muslim-mocking song satirizing all that bowing to Mecca, ritual prayers and women wearing full-body veils. Some speech is just not tolerated.
Blast Christians all you want. However, Muslims must be regarded with awe and respect.
Just months earlier on NPR’s "Fair Game with Faith Salie," the jokes were about Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his "secret" family recipes. "Boring holy wafers no more," one recipe began. "Take one Eucharist, preferably post-transubstantiation, deep-fry in fat, not vegetable oil, ladies, until crispy. Serve piping hot. Mike likes to top his Christ with whipped cream and sprinkles. But his wife, Janet, and the boys like theirs with heavy gravy and cream puffs. It goes great with red wine."
During the John Roberts Supreme Court nomination in 2005, NPR’s Nina Totenberg proclaimed orthodox Catholicism should be a disqualifier for the high court: "Don’t forget his wife was an officer, a high officer of a pro-life organization. He’s got adopted children. I mean, he’s a conservative Catholic, a hard-line conservative."
With the nomination of Sam Alito a few weeks later, Lithwick suggested too many Catholics were already on the high court.
So, the message is loud and clear – on NPR and other liberal venues, feel free to mock Christians and be as insulting and blasphemous as you wish. However, if you dare to utter a politically incorrect statement about Muslims – even in your spare time on another network, your career is over.
"A plane crash that killed 20 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August is being blamed on a crocodile that got loose onboard," quipped author Jay Tower. "I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this publicly and could get me fired from NPR, but when I get on an airplane and see there’s a crocodile, it just makes me nervous."
"Last week, NPR’s Chief Executive Officer Vivian Schiller took a break from her crusade for a government takeover of the media to swat a fly," snickered columnist Tara Servatius.
"With now-former NPR analyst Juan Williams suitably splattered across the evening news after politically incorrect comments he made on Fox News, Schiller can return to her real passion – the creation of a national network to ensure that in the future, you get your news from the government in general and NPR in particular."
"There were lots of slants on NPR’s firing of news analyst Juan Williams that reflect how surreal cultural liberalism has become," observed commentator Victor Davis Hanson.
"NPR is in some part either publicly funded or relies on a public brand to earn cash. Its charter is to promote the free exchange of ideas. Williams reflected the common experience of many Americans after 9/11 to tense up when someone in Islamic dress or otherwise identifiable as a Muslim boards an airplane — and then quickly explained why such an emotional reaction should not lead to prejudicial stereotyping.
"For NPR to prove that it is even-handed in censuring controversial speech, it would long ago have had to fire reporter Nina Totenberg for a long history of venomous partisan slurs, such as hoping Senator Jesse Helms and his grandkids might contract AIDS.
"Supposedly intolerant hard-driving Fox News has no problem with liberal Williams working for NPR. Supposedly soft-spoken, inclusive NPR has a lot of problems with Williams working for Fox. The asymmetry is quite astounding, especially when we factor in the public/private angle.
"A private, for profit company does not mind that Williams works for the public’s station whose views are considered liberal; but the liberal public station most certainly does care that Williams works for private, conservative Fox news.
"Isn’t the network that takes public money supposed to be the more tolerant? Fox knows its viewers don’t care whether liberal Williams works at a liberal network; NPR fears mightily that its intolerant audience can’t stand anyone who is associated with Fox?"
Incidentally, notes Hanson, a private corporation owns Fox, whereas, "we the people own NPR."
"Note the silence of the NAACP, which is usually the first to speak out when some African-Americans are deemed railroaded," added Hanson. "By its present vote here, the organization simply gives a green light to go after African-Americans tagged not entirely liberal.
"Does anyone think Williams would be in trouble had he moonlighted at MSNBC or PBS? Notice that ideologue and partisan George Soros just offered NPR nearly $2 million to hire 100 reporters – and NPR accepted the gift.
"If it is a publicly funded agency, why do zillionaires have the right to donate and determine hiring for their pet causes? Maybe Bill Gates can offer to hire some IRS auditors or Warren Buffet can fund a new branch of the Securities and Exchange Commission?"