Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams: free speech isn't the issue

Due to my now years long boycott of idiot pundits that only raise my blood pressure without enlightening me, I haven't followed Juan Williams work at all outside of reading the occassional blog post or tweet. But I've read enough so that my first reaction to his being fired by NPR for making that intemperate remark on Fox was: No great loss to journalism. He was a lousy analyst.

As for whether he should have been fired for making this remark, well probably not, but that's not the point. And to all the usual suspects howling about free speech and First Amendment violations, it's not about that either.

As Glennzilla explains, this is mainly about applying equal standards to paid speech in the media. The right wing brigade who are trying to make a martyr out of Williams, didn't raise the same objections to others who were similarly and summarily fired for their speech, like Octavia Nasr at CNN, Phil Donahue at MSNBC and Helen Thomas being kicked out of the White House briefing room. Hell they cheered wildly about Helen.

No, it's not fair that Williams, or any of the others, got fired under similar circumstances. But life isn't fair and lots of ordinary people get wrongly terminated every day. This is the reality in corporate America. Seems to me the answer isn't to lionize or demonize any single person, but to fight for equal standards for everyone. And within that context and given the current rules of engagement in our political discourse, it seems to me that NPR was at least correct in dumping Williams, regardless of whether or not he is really a bigot.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]


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Blogger said...

Dang, once again you have crawled inside my brain and extracted my thoughts! Yes, this is a silly thing to fire Juan Williams over but it was the final straw, I suspect. All that other crap he pulled, saying Michelle Obama's default position on anything was to "blame American first," etc. I was tired of the constant bullshit.

And he'll land a show on Fox, be their token "liberal," and all that. No tears over here.

2:09:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I really didn't follow him at all, but that's the impression I got from people who do. NPR was just looking for an excuse. I'm not sorry they found one either.

2:26:00 PM  

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