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Juan Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: My Two Cents on Amateur Professionalism
Spare Change | 22 October 2010 | David J. Aland

Posted on 10/22/2010 7:12:19 PM PDT by SpareChange

Juan Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: My Two Cents on Amateur Professionalism

By David J. Aland /// 22 October 2010

Juan Williams, a journalist of well-established liberal reputation, was in the habit of frequenting the opposition at Fox News, and was just fired from his post at National Public Radio for “violating journalistic standards.” Ironically, the firing says a lot about the sad state of journalistic standards at NPR, or the lack thereof: it never pays to preen about professionalism while behaving amateurishly.

A frequent visitor to “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, an outlet routinely derided by some as being a conservative bell jar, Juan has been an avuncular and well-mannered presence in the often chaotic hurly-burly of political talk radio and television. His opinions, even when not in line with his hosts, were always well-spoken.

This week, while making a point about American attitudes towards terrorists, Mr Williams noted that he finds himself nervous when boarding aircraft with Muslim passengers. He went on to note that this was not a very admirable reaction, but it was already too late.

All of the usual grievance factories swung into action. The Council on American Islamic Relations denounced Williams, and the Huffington Post huffed and puffed about his comments. It was apparent that none of his critics heard the full context of his remarks. They had heard enough.

Controversial comments are nothing new for NPR. Guests are free to comment on the irrelevance of religion in the public square, such as Sam Harris did while touting his book “Letter to a Christian Nation.” NPR actually sponsored a debate this month in which guests encouraged the idea that Islam was not a “religion of peace.” NPR coverage of the Gaza Flotilla incident was blatantly Palestinian in viewpoint. NPR reporter Sunni Khalid once suggested that Newt Gingrich favored lynch mobs. This is the same network where Nina Totenberg once fantasized about Jesse Helms and his grandchildren contracting AIDS. In this context, NPR Chief Executive Vivian Schiller says that Williams “crossed the line.” As a result, without meeting with him or even having the decency to call him on the carpet, NPR terminated their contract with Williams. Before the news had even sunk in, Schilling, appeared before the Atlanta Press Club took cheap ad hominem shots at Williams, comments which she later regretted through a spokesperson.

Let’s decompose this.

- Juan Williams is a news analyst for a radio network where provocative speech is rarely discouraged, but was canned for comments viewed (wrongly) as provocative.

- After claiming the journalistic high ground condemning his comments, the Chief Executive of NPR proceeded to take unprofessional cheap shots about Williams sanity.

- NPR has long chafed about Williams work with Fox News. “We were never comfortable with his comments” on Fox, an NPR executive was quoted as saying to the Washington Post.

- Howard Kurtz and Whoopie Goldberg have both posited that Williams was not fired for what he said, but where he said it.

- NPR has recently accepted a $1.8M grant from George Soros, the liberal millionaire to hire reporters to cover state-level political issues.

NPR cannot unblushingly claim political impartiality when liberal viewpoints routinely go unchallenged on the air. NPR cannot seriously claim journalistic purity when donors can dictate how their donations are used. NPR cannot claim that Williams was out-of-school when their discomfort with his association with Fox is as well documented as it is. NPR cannot even claim professional standards when the NPR Chief Executive’s first instinct is to smear Williams in a public forum, an act of extraordinary pettiness and unprofessional conduct.

The Left is desperate. In this election season, facing potentially historic losses to the most overreaching Congress in recent history, every organ of the Left is busy trying to demonize the opposition. NPR is no different.

In the end, Schillings comments nail it down: “We regret this had to happen during fund-raising week.” She should. There is already talk of stopping public funds to NPR. The buzz from conservative contributors is equally negative. NPR may wind up experiencing the worst fund-raising season in their history.

Americans have no patience with “public” institutions behaving in partisan fashion. Americans are also unforgiving of professionals behaving amateurishly. NPR is guilty of both. Firing Juan Williams may be the worst thing they’ve ever done, but it may wind up being the best thing that ever happened to journalistic integrity.

= = = = = = = = = = =

David J. Aland is a retired Naval Officer with a graduate degree in National Security Affairs from the U. S. Naval War College.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: charleskrauthammer; fairnessdoctrine; juanwilliams; muslims; ninatotenberg; npr; vanity; vivianschiller; williams

1 posted on 10/22/2010 7:12:21 PM PDT by SpareChange
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To: SpareChange

2 posted on 10/22/2010 7:19:17 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: SpareChange

Excellent article.

3 posted on 10/22/2010 7:23:15 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: SpareChange

Juan’s a really nice guy but I can’t stand people who drive down the center of road while parsing their words under the guise of some self serving, egalitarian, patronage, when they are most sincerely more comfortable on their side of the road.

Nope, you drive down the center of the road and eventually there’s going to be one hell of an accident.

This actually turned out to be a windfall for Juan. Good for him.

4 posted on 10/22/2010 7:33:49 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: SpareChange

Shuuush.... I hate to tell you this... Juan is one of the cuckoos...

5 posted on 10/22/2010 7:33:55 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: SpareChange

Nicely done.

I especially liked the comment about the “grievance factories.”

I’d like to read more of this man’s writings, I like his style,

6 posted on 10/22/2010 7:39:47 PM PDT by SueRae (I can see November from my HOUSE!)
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To: Vendome
while parsing their words

He didn't though. And he didn't waffle when called on what he said.

He said what he said: "I feel uncomfortable...." and owns what he said. And got fired from NPR for it, and owns that and moved on to a better gig at FOX.

That's not parsing words. That's saying how the cow ate the cabbage.


7 posted on 10/22/2010 7:44:14 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: hosepipe
Juan is one of the cuckoos...

I am specifically not going to disagree with that.

But I will observe that he just got a field exersise lesson that may make him rethink some of his assumptions.

Nothing like an OPFOR team scoring points to make one rethink the classics one didn't bother to read, like Tzun Tzu, Clauzwitz, Boyne, et al. (go light on Trosky, he didn't actually work out)


8 posted on 10/22/2010 7:52:41 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SpareChange

I didn’t agree with him very often, but his comments are reasoned and usually elicited an “ok - I see your point and it makes sense” reaction with me. What he said was reasonable. Who isn’t nervous when they see muzzies. Anyone that reads and believes the trash called the Koran can’t be considered reasonable or civilized. When an alternative energy source is developed, the middle east will be back to riding camels and living in tents.

9 posted on 10/22/2010 7:53:16 PM PDT by Mr_Peter
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To: Mr_Peter

Never heard of Juan until he showed up on FOX. I’m just sayin’...

10 posted on 10/22/2010 8:04:45 PM PDT by get'emall (I'd rather be Waterboarding.)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I wasn’t speaking of that incident. It was his demeanor in general of trying to ingratiate himself to an opposition view for the sole purpose of wanting to avoid conflict.

I prefer people who stake out a position that bears no hallmark of equivocation. But that’s just me.

Juan’s a nice and I’m glad he got an unexpected windfall.

11 posted on 10/22/2010 8:13:43 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: Mr_Peter

I have noticed that every islamist country that has no oil is an impoverished toilet bowl. Somalia. Afghanistan. Chad. Niger. Mali. Mauritania. Etc.

12 posted on 10/22/2010 8:13:43 PM PDT by FlyingEagle
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To: FlyingEagle

True. And when oil is replaced even Saudi Arabia will be in the shitter (pardon my French)

13 posted on 10/22/2010 8:17:40 PM PDT by Mr_Peter
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To: Vendome
Do you remember his interview with the FR Rep during the lawsuit year? About a decade ago?

I don't agree with him, but I'm not going to see him smacked around on FR either, after he was fair during that interview.


14 posted on 10/22/2010 8:29:23 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

So you don’t like my post?

I don’t recall the FR interview but it would interest me if you describe it a bit more.

15 posted on 10/22/2010 8:44:37 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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To: Vendome
Not about liking or not liking, just replying with facts.

You will have to do your own research on the interview itself, since you don't know about it.

I will tell you that it was cold in Richardson, Texas when I listened to it, I was in a red Grand-Am sitting in front of a major international telecom company's field office.

And the Towers still stood in NYC.


16 posted on 10/22/2010 9:07:09 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SpareChange

“journalistic standards” - an oxymoron if I ever heard one.....

17 posted on 10/22/2010 9:56:43 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: JRandomFreeper

I just have zero idea what interview you are talking about.

Heck, If you want me to go on some archeology dig, I have ADHD like everyone else around here.

18 posted on 10/23/2010 12:25:56 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it.)
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