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NPR was Right to Fire Juan Williams
By Ali Younes — Alicia Shepard, NPR’s Ombudsman was right when she described news analyst and commentator Juan Williams in 2009 as a person who “tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox.” Mr. Williams’s double-faced journalism life finally caught up with him two days ago and was fired by NPR for his anti-Muslims comments and for reasons best said by Shepard in 2009. Williams who said during last Wednesday interview on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor” that “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 comments shows stupidity and ignorance about Muslims and others for that matter. His comments are akin to asking African Americans during the civil rights era, himself included, to paint their faces with white paint so they won’t make racist whites “nervous” on a bus or train.
It looks like that NPR has finally had it with double-faced Williams. Williams who in the past have insulted first lady Michelle Obama during the presidential campaign with an obvious racist remarks when he said on Fox that Michelle Obama is prune to “ blame America” for everything by saying “I am a victim” in reference by Williams to the 1960s civil rights era. As a result NPR prevented Mr. Williams from identifying himself as an NPR analyst when he speaks on Fox channel. Now the question is not why NPR fired Williams; rather it should be what took them so long to do that.
The right wing Fox News channel which is a powerful national platform for racists and fanatics in this country, has Williams on its lineup as the token African American man with “some” civil rights credentials so it can claim that is a “fair and balanced” organization, which is anything but that.
The firing of Williams from his job at NPR is a courageous move by NPR which adds to its credibility as a non-biased news organization that strives to bring the news and commentary as objectively as possible. NPR’s move is commendable because it is rare that a major news organization fires a national figure for his apparent racism against Muslims. In America, often times it is the Arabs or Muslims who normally get fired from media organizations if they misspoke or said something critical.
Fox where the electricity of hatred, war mongering and racism fills the air often leads the charge against any Arab or Muslim American issues whether it is the rights to build a Muslim cultural center in downtown Manhattan, or to be treated equally and with respect.
Fox is home to racists in the mold of Bill O’Reilly, and political leaders and possible presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee, people who made it a career to bash Muslims and Arabs and blame them for acts of terrorism they have nothing to do with. This is not a call to silence Fox News despite its racism, because even racists have the right to express their views in a healthy democracy, but it is dangerous and an ominous sign when the racists and bigots among us might become our leaders.
Ali Younes is a writer and political analyst based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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