also posted at the CENTURY Blog
- Republican politicians are pushing to strip NPR of federal funding-which accounts for a small portion of its budget, all received indirectly via Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding of local stations and of foundations that support NPR.
- Some commentators are saying Williams’s first amendment rights have been violated, missing the distinction between one’s right to free speech and one’s duty as a journalist to exercise this right while upholding the standards of good reporting and analysis.
- Others have even suggested that NPR acted out of racism. (Williams was one of the organization’s few senior black reporters.)
- Members of local NPR affiliates are talking about withholding pledges. Pastors I know are saying they will never again give to public radio — pastors who also argue against congregation members withholding donations because of mistakes by church leaders.
Our national conversation has become a kneejerk festival, celebrating whoever can have the most sensational reaction in the shortest amount of time. I’m all for honest dialogue about prejudice and fear, about public funding of the news, about the distinction between sound reporting and jabbering-head TV. By all means, let’s talk.
But please, let’s think before we speak.
Update of a more reasoned perspective:
- Aziz H. Poonawalla, “Muslims caught in the middle of debate about them”
- NPR CEO sorry for how she handled Juan Williams firing
image by anonymous