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by Rich Trzupek
Juan Williams put it simply: "I was fired for telling the truth." That's about as succinct a summary of the situation as you're likely to find. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller terminated Williams' contract because he veered off of the leftist reservation, and to make things even worse from Shiller's point of view, he did it on Fox. If Williams is one of the tens of millions of Americans who gets nervous when he's around people dressed in Muslim garb, NPR believes that he ought not mention it, or – as Schiller said – he should discuss his problems with "his psychiatrist or his publicist." Schiller would eventually apologize for that demeaning insult, but it's far too late for NPR to recover from this fiasco. Liberals, conservatives and even some Muslim groups expressed shock and disgust over this assault on free speech and open discussion.
Williams' sin, according to NPR, was that expressing his personal feelings violated NPR's code of conduct that forbids their on-air talent from taking a position on "controversial issues," from participating "…in shows that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis" and from expressing opinions on other shows that "…they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist." At least that's the official version, as expressed in an internal memo that Schiller wrote explaining her decision. One suspects that the Council on American Islamic Relations had something to do with it as well. CAIR was outraged by Williams' remarks. In a statement, CAIR said that "NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats."
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