Anyone who starts off a statement with “I’m no bigot, BUT….” is usually a bigot.
NPR Ends Analyst’s Contract After Comments on Muslims
NPR has terminated its contract with Juan Williams, one of its senior news analysts, after he made comments about Muslims on the Fox News Channel.
NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night.
The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”
Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly.
He continued: “I mean, 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.”
Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Mr. Williams said.
NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”
The public radio organization said it thanked him for many years of service. Mr. Williams did not immediately respond on Wednesday night to an e-mail seeking comment.
Mr. Williams’s contributions on Fox raised eyebrows at NPR in the past. In February 2009, NPR said it had asked that he stop being identified on “The O’Reilly Factor” as a “senior correspondent for NPR,” even though that title was accurate.
Alicia C. Shepard, the NPR ombudswoman, said at the time that Mr. Williams was a “lightning rod” for the public radio organization in part because he “tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox.”
Ms. Shepard said she had received 378 listener e-mails in 2008 listing complaints and frustrations about Mr. Williams.