Juan Williams is the latest journalist to feel the ax for making comments not in line with editorial policy. National Public Radio (NPR) fired Williams from his position as senior news analyst not because of anything he said or did on NPR. He was fired because of anti-Muslim remarks he made while appearing on the “The O’Reilly Factor” this past Monday, according to The Washington Post.
Juan Williams: Muslims Make Him Nervous
The comments which led to the firing of Williams revolved around his admitting to Bill O’Reilly that he gets “nervous” and “worried” when he boards a plane and sees “people in Muslim garb.”
NPR Cuts Juan Williams Loose
NPR’s official reason for firing Williams was because his comments “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.” Because NPR attempts to be an objective source of news, although some claim the group has a liberal bias, it makes sense that NPR wants its staff to retain journalistic objectivity and not be perceived as biased.
Juan Williams: Human, Free Speech
The former news analyst was using his First Amendment right to free speech when he appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Regardless of how anyone feels about his remarks, it’s difficult to avoid seeing the irony when a group of journalists fires someone over expressing himself. Had the remarks been made directly on an NPR broadcast, the firing would be more logical.
Free Speech vs. Editorial Policy: A Brief History
Juan Williams is not the first journalist, nor will he be the last, to be fired over controversial remarks.
Helen Thomas: June 2010
One of the most familiar faces at White House Press conferences, Helen Thomas was forced to resign. The long-time White House correspondent was forced out after 60 years.
According to Yahoo! News, Thomas said of the Jews, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.” She continued to say that the Palestinians are “occupied” and that the Jews should “Go home” – to Germany, Poland, America and “everywhere else.”
Because she said Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and that Jews should “go home to Poland and Germany,” Thomas lost her longtime position.
Four Journalists and Satire: July 2010
One big don’t in the world of news and journalism is satire. Satire should be left to The Onion. Four journalists from the NBC affiliate KARK in Little Rock, Arkansas, were fired for posting satirical videos littered with profanity to YouTube, according to Radio Business Report.
Rick Sanchez: September 2010
CNN fired Rick Sanchez after he called Jon Stewart, the popular host of “The Daily Show,” a “bigot,” according to CBS. His remarks took place not on CNN, but on Sirius XM’s radio show Stand Up With Pete Dominick.