NPR Gives Juan Williams the Ax: PC Gone Wild?
Veteran commentator Juan Williams, who shuttled between gigs at liberal NPR and conservative Fox News, became the latest victim of the PC juggernaut that has cost some prominent American journalists their jobs this year.
Williams confessed to Fox host Bill O’Reilly that he gets nervous when he sees traditionally clad Muslims on planes. Apparently that was enough for publicly funded NPR, which had received hundreds of complaint e-mails from its PC-progressive fan base. (Of course, O’Reilly stirred up a hornet’s nest on The View last week by brazenly insisting that Muslims had attacked the World Trade Center. )
Williams was simply expressing a personal opinion, and he was careful to couch it in those terms. But obviously we’re no longer permitted to express personal opinions about protected minorities, especially if we’re also employed by a famously liberal media outlet.
As far as I’m concerned, Williams’ real mistake was that traditionally clad Muslims aren’t the ones we have to worry about. No self-respecting terrorist would be silly enough to call attention to himself on an airborne mission by sporting flamboyant Muslim garb.
The larger issue, of course, is that the climate of political correctness is muzzling legitimate opinions and concerns that most of us feel from time to time. It’s not healthy to keep strong feelings muzzled; they have a habit of finding an outlet eventually — sometimes explosively. Granted, we don’t want to encourage malicious statements about minorities, but we’re compromising our freedoms if we submit to the rule of extreme PC in the media.
Interesting, too, that the three prominent journalists who have been sacked recently over unguarded politically incorrect statements are themselves members of “protected” minorities: Helen Thomas (Arab), Rick Sanchez (Hispanic), and now Juan Williams (black and Hispanic). Maybe white Anglos have learned all too well that we’re not allowed to speak our minds these days.
Then there’s Mel Gibson — but he doesn’t have to worry about what his employer will say.
Anyway, my remarks are just the preface to a brief, fair-minded and insightful column I found at The Atlantic this morning. Read it here.