Thursday, October 21, 2010

Should journalists have tenure too?

I just learned that NPR fired veteran journalist Juan Williams for supposedly making anti-Muslim remarks during his appearance on O'Reilly's show on Fox. Here's what he said:
"Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
Being a longtime listener and supporter of NPR, I must confess I was surprised both by Williams remark, and by NPRs decision to terminate him. While William's remark is obviously politically incorrect, having listened to him for so long, it is hard for me to imagine that he is the kind of bigot, he is being made out to be.

As Jacob Heilbrunn comments in the Huffington Post.
Williams won't be the loser for leaving NPR. NPR will. At some point political correctness overwhelms common sense. Yes, their [sic] should be taboos when it comes to public discourse. Some taboos are necessary and even vital.
[I also think he means "At some point common sense overwhelms political correctness."]

Not the greatest day for NPR.


Milieu said...

I don't think that's required as outspoken ppl will speak out. Others will hide behind any excuse even if they had tenure.

Sachin Shanbhag said...

True. In academia too.