On one hand, yeah what he said may have been a bit insensitive, but I don't know if it was grounds for firing him. Seriously look at this:
Yeah that may make people uncomfortable, and yeah it's against the norm, but was it worth firing him over?
Like I get why CNN fired Rick Sanchez, you can't let someone be a public figure for your company go around saying that jews control the media. That makes the entire company look bad.
With this though, I feel like they could have suspended him or at least ignored the statement entirely. And if the statement was going to cause controversy (I didn't see anything until he got fired) maybe interview him on NPR or at least attempt to start a discussion with the issues he has.
But I still understand that what he said may have upset people... I just don't know if it warrented firing him.
I just read an article on this today and it is, once again, a money and PR issue. NPR has to weigh the value of their employee against possible reputation and financial damage that it could have on the company. If they don't think that he's worth it they'll have no trouble axing him. Isn't NPR pretty liberal anyway? I mean, I don't listen but that's what I've heard. There's no problem with that, but it doesn't seem to be the type of opinions they support. That's just my theory though.
Except here's the main problem that I have with the whole subject.
Juan was speaking as a guest on another show from another network in an entirely different medium than NPR's format (On TV and not Radio). Plus, he was speaking SOLELY for himself, and his OWN PERSONAL point of view regarding his OWN feelings and reservations. He was speaking purely as himself, for himself about himself. He wasn't representing NPR, he wasn't there to be NPR's spokesperson, nor was he there to promote any NPR programs or shows. He was on the TV show simply as someone who is familiar with the news, familiar with the way that the Civil Rights Movement worked, and the way that political correctness makes people afraid "to offend". In a way, it would be like working at McDonald's (random pick) but going to Popeye's Chicken (Random) and saying that you hate pizza, then being fired from McDonald's because you hate pickles.
To be fired because you are stating your own personal opinion is always dangerous. It puts forth the image that the company that fired you, doesn't WANT anyone who is able to think for themselves nor anyone that is able to formulate their own opinions or decisions. Plus, it's also running the risk of backlash against the company that fired you because it paints them as someone that is incapable of having anyone who isn't a mindless drone.
In fact, I don't think that Juan was fired because of what he said, but because of where he was... on Fox Network talking to Bill O'Riely.
That's not quite it. Juan Williams was a public figure and represented NPR. Therefore when he expressed his opinion and it was something that could be considered very controversial, they didn't want that opinion reflecting back on NPR. Your analogy doesn't hold up because of the level of visibility involoved. As a McDonald's employee, unless you were some sort of public spokesperson for the corporation, a comment like that is something nobody would care about. As long as he was identified as working for NPR and on National television there is a chance that people might link his comments in a negative way with NPR. This is the reason why every DVD with commentary has a disclaimer when you start it up. Expressing opinions on such a wide scale like that is very much like walking on eggshells for a business. Do I personally think that NPR firing him was right? No, but I'm just saying that this isn't an ideal world and that's just how these companies work.
Was he on the show as "Jaun Williams", or was he on the show as "For NPR, representative Juan Williams"? There is a big and huge difference.
Look, we all know that Bill Gates owns Microsoft. But if Bill Gates goes around town saying that he hates all the Ipods in the world, no one is going to say that he's speaking directly for Microsoft but for Bill Gate's only personal feelings on Ipods in general.
So why is it that when Juan Williams speaks, every word out of his mouth is some how or another tied directly to NPR. Even when he speaks away from the microphone and as a individual person? If NPR is going to fire Juan for speaking for himself, then they SHOULD have someone standing over Juan each time he sits down to eat at a restaurant and orders something off the menu. NPR should send someone to Jaun's house and tell him which movies to watch on Netflix. NPR should have someone standing over Jaun's bed telling him which books to read before going to sleep. NPR should send someone with Juan each time he goes shopping to be sure he picks the "Correct" brand of Peanut Butter. Because clearly NPR doesn't believe that Juan is capable of having an opinion of his own.
Jaun Williams might have been one of NPR's more familiar voices at one point. But the way that NPR has reacted to this whole thing makes me more concerned about NPR's ability to determine someone's ability to have what they HIDE BEHIND.... Freedom of Speech.
You and I can express our viewpoints on whatever we feel. We're not journalists. We don't work for a publicly funded network that has to be seen as unbiased. In his position in the media, where there is an understood veil of impartiality, Williams simply could not afford to do that. Let his opinion stand silent till he writes his memoirs. Now if he reports on the topic of Muslims or Islam one may be well warranted to question whether his story is truly impartial considering his recent remarks.
And for me it doesn't even have to be about the subject at hand or actual "political correctness". If he went on a show saying, for example, that he's only ever driven GM cars and he thinks others just aren't as safe, the next time he does a report on Ford safety issues I'd be a bit wary.
And we don't look to Bill Gates for facts. He's not a journalist. If someone's in the news game, I don't want his opinion on anything. I want facts.
That line for your first link should read "Juan Williams himself points out the fact that he thinks no "journalist ethics" were breached." I know that there is a caveat in the journalists code of ethics which says that you should not impose your values on others; what he did by making those comments.
As to your second link, I'm not sure what you were getting at. Was it that the other guy should have been reprimanded? He's not a journalist so it doesn't matter if he spouts his opinion.
I agree with you to a point, MDS. Firing someone over a personal viewpoint is a dangerous road to take, especially in journalism or the media. It makes exactly the statement you just made: You are not allowed to have an opinion.
However, Juan IS also a journalist himself. A journalist is suppose to have an even and open viewpoint on all matters. Their job is to report the facts and story in an honest and balanced manner, and let the people make up their minds about how they feel about it and why. Appearing on the O'Reilly Factor and Fox News, a network that openly mocks journalism in all forms, and making this statement IS HIS RIGHT.
But it also removes him from that balance. He can no longer been seen as someone that can give a balanced and open report of the news, but someone with a set bias toward a certain kind of people. Whether this is legitimate or not, he damages his credibility as a journalist. I would not talk to not do an interview with this person because I KNOW he has bias. And now he's on Fox News, which only reinforces the idea that he IS bias and possible has racist viewpoints toward Muslims no matter what he states.
And thanks to O'Reilly's recent Foot-Insert-To-Mouth moment on The View, he can now look forward to being identified with that idiot for quite some time.
Dude ninety percent of everything Bill O'Reilly says is a foot insert in mouth moment. I love it when someone gets into a debate with him and then actually quotes things he has said in the past to refute what he is saying in that particular interview. It's fun to watch himself bullshit his way out of that.
Except he wasn't on the show as a "news reporter who is reporting the news". He was there as a guest to express his own personal point of view regarding topics, and discuss the possible implications from data available to him at the time.
Had he been the host of the show, or reporting on a news story himself, and added the comment into his reports, then by all means fire his ass on the spot. But as a person who is acting on individual basis, even to the point of starting his statements with "When I..." or "I feel..." or "In my opinion..." he's there as an individual.
This whole this is just another example of some of the paranoia from political correctness. Isn't it odd, that Jaun gets fired and we've got this big huge warning on every DVD that the "opinions expressed aren't......."? It's because as Juan was pointing out, people are AFRAID to appear politically incorrect regardless of the facts that are in front of their faces.
I don't think a news analyst should be airing his personal views or opinions on anything on any platform. If they want to remain credible, they should keep anything that would lead to suspicions of a slant or bias in their reporting to themselves. He was stupid to use first person perspective in his little anecdote.
I think you are confusing the job of a news analyst with a journalist, or news reporter. When reporting the news you shouldn't give your personal opinion, but when you are on a news show based on opinion, and Analysis of the news then you obviously have to give your opinion. How can you think about something analytically, and not develop an opinion about it?
I disagree. You can and will develop opinions during analysis. I don't think it was wise of him to present them in this forum as his own. Considering his position as an employee where there could be one set of values while making contribution to another network with differing standards, he should be acutely aware of what he says and how he says it. He could have just as easily said there could be (or is) sentiment towards a certain way of thinking, never directly implicating himself in such sentiment. It would still have pushed the discussion forward.
"If they see people who are in Muslim garb and some think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, they get worried. They get nervous."
I feel this would have been as effective while keeping Juan out of hot water. If he wanted to simply present for the sake of shock value someone who wrote about civil rights and equality showing what could be interpreted as racist leanings, he may have succeeded only to be faced with failure on another front.