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The Shameful Firing of Juan Williams



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The only thing that Juan Williams said that could possibly be construed as offensive is that he gets nervous when he sees identifiably Muslim people getting on a plane–a feeling that is no doubt shared by many millions of Americans. The tenor of his remarks was clearly that this was a regrettable association, along the lines–as Kevin reminds us–of that long-ago Jesse Jackson comment. Juan Williams is as about as anti-Muslim as Jesse Jackson is anti-black. Indeed, consider everything else he said. Williams went on to speak up in favor of those “people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it’s not a war against Islam.” He warned against painting with too broad a brush: “If you said Timothy McVeigh, the Atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality at military funerals, very obnoxious, you don’t say first and foremost, we got a problem with Christians. That’s crazy.” He said that, in the German context, the problem is not Muslims, it’s “extremists.” And he cautioned against rhetoric that might incite anti-Muslim violence: “I don’t know what is in that guy’s head [the guy who slashed the New York City cabbie a few weeks ago]. But I’m saying, we don’t want in America, people to have their rights violated to be attacked on the street because they heard a rhetoric from Bill O’Reilly and they act crazy.” I would say it’s unbelievable that NPR would fire Williams over this, but, of course, it is believable, and shameful.



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