My Year With Juan Williams

During the fall of 2009 I was an Intern on NPR’s Weekend Edition, where Juan Williams would frequently be a commentator. The few interactions I had with him he was always very nice. I have nothing negative to say about him.

One of my main jobs as an intern was to sort and open the mail. Almost every week after Mr. Williams would speak on Weekend Edition we would get at least one hand written letter addressed to Weekend Edition (I am not sure how many NPR as whole would receive or e-mails) about how we needed to identify Mr. Williams as a Fox News Contributor when we introduced him on-air. We did not see the need, so we did not do it.

Well I am sure you have heard since Mr. Williams was fired from NPR for his comments he made on Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about how he “gets nervous” when boarding a flight with some who indentifies “themselves first and foremost as Muslims”. I believe NPR was in the right to fire him over those comments, because it did bring down his integrity as an unbiased journalist, plus it also goes a bit against all his books and comments on civil rights.

Fox News quickly signed Mr. Williams to a three-year $2 million contract and expanded his role on the network.

This past weekend he was a member on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace panel. They were speaking about the possible Republican Presidential nominees for 2012. Of course Sarah Palin was brought up. Williams stated, “there is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can’t stand on the intellectual stage with Obama”. The rest of the panel kind of laughed off.

I think he is right. But now republican/ right wing commentators/bloggers are saying this might be the end of the Williams Fox News love affair.

If Fox gets upset with Williams over his comments, then that is proof that it is agenda driven network. When NPR fired Williams, he made a statement that painted a negative image about people who identify themselves as a Muslim. NPR president Vivian Schiller stated in a note sent out to member stations:

“News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.”

He went over the line. Williams current statement was about a political figure, who is also paid by Fox News, that he believes will not win the 2012 Presidential race. The only reason Fox News would be upset about this statement is if they want Palin to win the election. If they do not, then this is just another comment made on a Sunday morning show.


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