Gone Juan: A Faux Liberal NPR Should Have Canned Long Ago

Gone Juan: A Faux Liberal NPR Should Have Canned Long Ago

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It didn’t take long for the predictable to happen when NPR canned faux liberal analyst Juan Williams. Fox’s Bill O’Reilley, perennial GOP gadfly Newt Gingrich, Tea Party grand-mistress Sarah Palin, and the shrill pack of right-wing talk-show hacks and bloggers screamed bloody murder and demanded that so-called “left-leaning” NPR be defunded.

They played the First Amendment card and claimed that Williams had a right to utter his silly, bigoted crack about Muslims making him nervous. He did have that right—and NPR had the right to can him, not for the remark, but for saying it on another station while he was still a key fixture at NPR.

Whether intended or not, Williams’s crack carried the implicit endorsement of NPR, since he wore that hat as well. Williams’s longstanding play at talking out of both sides of his mouth on right-wing commercial Fox and cautious, middle-of-the-road public network NPR finally caught up with him. It should have long ago.

NPR, if it had an ounce of the integrity and fairness that it incessantly brags about, should have dumped Williams long ago for an equally great offense: his two-decade con job as a liberal civil rights expert and supporter.

Williams never missed a chance to boast about his two-decades-plus stint with the “liberal” Washington Post and tout his track record of authoring books on the civil rights movement. He sold himself as a man who backed, even championed, the civil rights struggles of the past, and whose sworn mission was to accurately and instructively chronicle those struggles. Here are a few of the titles that he used to sell this self-serving image of himself as Mr. Civil Rights: Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965.Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, This Far by Faith: Stories from the African-American Religious Experience, I'll Find a Way or Make One : A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience.

But Williams was a fraud. This was more than apparent in the clashes I had with him on Fox, when he instantly assumed the requisite attack-dog role and jumped on any criticism of the dumbest inanities from black conservatives.

That was a consistent pattern with Williams. He fronted himself as a Dr. Jekyll moderate— a thoughtful and balanced commentator who strived for fair and accurate analysis of issues on NPR. But he would quickly transform himself into a raving, take-no-prisoners, right-leaning Mr. Hyde on Fox— bashing Obama and civil rights leaders and shilling the GOP line on race.

Still, Williams couldn’t have gotten away with this con job without the wink-and-nod complicity—or disingenuousness—of NPR. NPR officials certainly were not clueless about their analyst’s two-faced con. Williams was there for all to see, shaking and nodding his head in agreement with every conservative flack who paraded across the stage on “The O’Reilly Show” and other conservative gabfests. His confrontational style on Fox fit in neatly with the tone, temper and rabid-right echo-chamber of the network.

No, NPR knew exactly what Williams represented and stood for—and it was not balance, moderation or liberalism. Williams, in fact served a purpose for NPR. The network has sweated—and at times has been scared stiff by—the conservative hitmen who for years have kept their hawk-like watch for any hint of a “liberal bias” on publicly funded radio and television.

Williams was their answer—and in some ways their protective cover. After all, how could NPR be accused of liberal bias when one of its most prominent commentators is a guy who routinely flashes across Fox?

The truth is, NPR needed Williams far more than he needed them—that is, until he became a liability. Yet Williams’s phony liberal front was, and should have been, a liability from the start. The pity is that it took an outrageous, bigoted crack by him for NPR to do what it should have done a long time ago— given him the boot.

Now the question is: given NPR’s past terror of losing even a nickel of government funding for being “too liberal,” will the network cave at the criticism by Palin and company and bring Williams back? Stay tuned.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson


 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

Talk about a hack, Earl, you have surpassed yourself with your close minded view of the world. You should stick to your coffee shop politics and trying to impress your little group of fans.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

NPR did exactly the only thing it could under the ridiculous circumstances, and I am a long term card carrying Republican. We'll see how God votes concerning the rabble rousing attempt of Juan Williams; the Bible is full of what God does to those who mock him, and God doesn't need anyone's help to show that He is real! ""There is no wisdom and there is no counsel against God."" Not even the duplicitous network that the man moved to can help him. He just help to bring them down. Which is O.K. with me. I'm busy helping those who are making their ways straight, so I'm glad that the wicked fall by their own wickedness, and we can simply continue to do good and speak real peace.
Coronella Keiper in Rhode Island

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

NPR is right and Juan Williams ought to have honored his agreement to be a cool and logical analyst. If he had any amount of self respect, he would have quit before trying to wear the illogical and paranoid label. He and the network he went to now can destroy each other. And I'm a long term card carrying Republican, so there!.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

Get over it, "right wing."

If Williams had clarified his statements - by saying that irrational fear should not become a good reason for treating all Muslims as extremists - and if he had stuck to doing so, this may have turned out differently.

On the contrary, he is eagerly supported BECAUSE he acknowledged a fear of Muslims in traditional attire, which fits into a steady Right-wing attempt to demonize Islam as a "radical religion." It is for that reason that I support NPR's decision, and will even start pledging as a result.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

The whole thing makes my head spin. I've been a contributor for years. I've given my last dime and listened to my last minute. This is really a shame. Thumbs down, NPR.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

The whole thing makes my head spin. I've been a contributor for years. I've given my last dime and listened to my last minute. This is really a shame. Thumbs down, NPR.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

Faux Liberal? How incredibly un-original.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

Mr Williams had the backbone and all the other male attributes to state for what the majority of Americans consider when flying. Those who don't are probably lying or made of jelly--NO GUTS TO STAND FO ANYTHING!!! JUST KEEP APOLIGIZING UNTIL ???????

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

Earl, you are dead wrong, and I do not think you have a clue that you are. From a long time NPR supporter that is outraged by Juan's firing.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

At least you aren't bitter.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 21 2010

At least you aren't bitter.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 22 2010

Why don't you mention this Earl?

Andrei Codrescu’s 1996 Christmas-time insult on NPR (not just on another network, but on NPR itself) against a deeply held tenet of Christianity commonly known as “the Rapture” from the Latin word rapere meaning “to be caught up,” when Christians who are still alive at the time of the event will instantly be taken up to heaven.

Of that Christian doctrine, Codrescu said:

“The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place.”

Anonymous

Posted Oct 22 2010

What about this Earl? (my previous post attempt appears frozen)

Why don't you mention this Earl?

Andrei Codrescu’s 1996 Christmas-time insult on NPR (not just on another network, but on NPR itself) against a deeply held tenet of Christianity commonly known as “the Rapture” from the Latin word rapere meaning “to be caught up,” when Christians who are still alive at the time of the event will instantly be taken up to heaven.

Of that Christian doctrine, Codrescu said:

“The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place.”

Anonymous

Posted Oct 22 2010

"...cautious, middle-of-the-road public network NPR..."

Hahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhaahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 22 2010

"...cautious, middle-of-the-road public network NPR..."

Hahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhaahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 22 2010

"...cautious, middle-of-the-road public network NPR..."

Hahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhaahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 23 2010

Thank you, Earl, for telling it like it is about Juan Williams, and sadly, NPR, a network I listen to almost every day and mostly enjoy. But I enjoyed and respected it a lot more before Gingrich declared war on it in the mid-1990s.It has not been the same since. And it's a shame. Juan Williams was a joke. His "analysis" on NPR was insipid nonsense. He never said a word that helped deepen my understanding of the news, and he never meant to. It was, as you so rightly pointed out, a con game gleefully played by both sides. Let FOX have him. In the bosom of that craven house of faux news clowns is exactly where he belongs. I can only hope that NPR develops some integrity and replaces him with a well-respected African-American analyst who will give us a perspective on the news that is informed and insightful. I hope I'm not hoping for too much.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 23 2010

I keep reading all these articles about Juan Williams and the authors all point out his million dollar salary from Fox News. Why then no mention of George Soros and his million eight dollar donation to NPR?

Anonymous

Posted Nov 30 2010

"cautious, middle of the road" NPR let one of its employees rant about Jesse Helmes deserving to contract AIDS and die...or at least his grandkids should. I guess being in the middle of the road is about cautiously hoping other people's grandkids die of AIDS. Are you in the middle of the road Earl? By your title on this "article" I assume Juan was fired for not being middle of the road enough...your middle of the road. The one where Jesse Helmes' grandkids die of AIDS.

The funny thing is that Juan is now making millions because of this. NPR should have kept him in their employ so he could be punished monetarily. No one listens to NPR anyways. Most people had never heard of it until FOX mentioned them. I've never heard of you either. I must have missed you in the fast lane as I passed you by in the middle of the road. Stay healthy Earl

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