Free speech died in America on October 18, 2010. During an interview on Fox News, commentator Juan Williams said that when he boards a plane and sees “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."
For honestly expressing a view shared by millions of Americans, Williams was fired by his liberal employer, National Public Radio (NPR).
Williams is a liberal who has been employed by NPR for ten years. Throughout his tenure at NPR, Williams has been a source of controversy. It seems the publicly funded company was never comfortable with Williams appearing on a “fair and balanced” network. The management at NPR did not like Williams giving credibility to conservatives and actually agreeing with them on occasion.
According to their statement, NPR fired Williams because his views regarding Muslims were “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.” In reality, NPR fired Williams because he had the audacity to make a politically incorrect comment. His statement was also based on the sad reality of a post 9/11 world. In the past ten years, almost all terrorist attacks against Americans have been committed by radical Muslims. A media commentator should be able to honestly express a legitimate concern about his personal safety.
In contrast, true honesty is not allowed on the media airwaves. Our country is the home of the 1st Amendment, yet genuine freedom of speech has been under attack for years. In the process, the stifling forces of political correctness have been gaining ground. As political correctness silences free speech, the media casualties have mounted.
Today, Americans can no longer speak freely about religion, race, politics, or even sports. Liberal watchdogs are ready to pounce on any comment that is “over the line” and add another victim to their ever growing list.
What is particularly upsetting is that there is a clear double standard among the media elite. A liberal has license to say almost anything with no repercussions. For example, in 1995, NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg said that if there was “retributive justice” in the world North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms would “get AIDS from a transfusion or one of his grandchildren” would get it. Of course nothing happened to Totenberg, who remains with NPR today. If this type of hateful statement had been made about a liberal Senator, another member of the media would have been fired.
At NPR today, the policy is clear. Only liberal commentators are welcome and they must appear on strictly liberal media outlets. This policy should disqualify NPR from any public funding. NPR should be free to spew nothing but liberal nonsense during its programs, but it should not be funded by the hard working taxpayers of this nation. No federal funding should be allocated toward any biased news operation.
NPR should be forced to compete with other liberal media outlets for support from liberal donors. If it succeeds, it can continue to be a bastion for liberalism. Otherwise, it should be allowed to fail as many other media outlets in the past.
If it is cut loose from the federal dollars, NPR may suffer the same fate as that other liberal radio outfit, Air America. Despite plenty of liberal media support and promotion, Air America went bankrupt as listeners and sponsors did not materialize.
Similarly, National Public Radio should be allowed to go bankrupt. Hopefully, this unfortunate incident will generate so much outrage that it forces our federal government to stop picking sides in politics and supporting only liberal media outlets that specialize in political correctness.
Jeff Crouere is the Host of “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. He is the Political Analyst for WGNO-TV ABC26 and a Columnist for selected publications. For more information, visit his web site at RingsidePolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected]