ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing October 22, 2010, on the World Magazine website.
National Public Radio is a monument to political correctness. Its acronym might better be thought of as “not professionally responsible.” It is not a left-leaning organization. The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans. NPR has fallen over completely for the “progressive” agenda. It is supine. Horizontal. And the actions of NPR president Vivian Schiller in firing Juan Williams are just the most public example of NPR’s bias.
Juan Williams has done more than any other journalist to chronicle the history of the civil rights movement, to show the strong role of faith in sustaining black Americans through centuries of slavery, segregation, and oppression. To brand him as being guilty of bigotry is simply mind-boggling.
But Schiller added supreme insult to that injury. She denied Juan a face-to-face meeting with NPR execs so he could defend himself. This is staggering. Schiller actually gave a public speech in Atlanta in which she said the feelings Juan expressed on Fox News were a matter “between him and his . . . psychiatrist.”
The conservative pundits exploded at that reference. The assumption they drew, not unreasonably, was that Schiller was questioning Juan’s sanity.
I don’t think so. You can see from the tape of Schiller’s comments that she hesitated. We expect her to say “between Juan and his conscience” or “between Juan and his God.”
For people of the left, going to an analyst is the functional equivalent of Catholics going to confession.
What was truly outrageous was to have NPR mid-leveler Ellen Weiss give Juan the heave-ho over the phone. Juan Williams is the only black man on NPR’s regular roster. That speaks volumes. No black person should be fired over the phone. That’s because no white person, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian should be fired over the phone either. When you work for an organization for 10 years, aren’t you entitled to that simple gesture of respect?
Juan has surely suffered a blow to his considerable dignity. But Fox News has manned up. The cable channel’s president Roger Ailes has stepped in to offer Juan an expanded role–with a reported $2 million contract. Juan has a catlike ability to land on his feet.
Still, political correctness is a growing danger. Look at Fort Hood. Only political correctness could explain how an open traitor was coddled for years. Such false tolerance had lethal consequences.
And the fact that Nidal Hasan is being charged with only 13 murders–and not as yet being charged with the death of the unborn child of one of his victims–is another indication of political correctness. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act applies on military bases, too. Despite the fact that this is federal law, the Obama administration is unlikely to concede that an unborn child could be a victim of violence. It’s above their pay grade.
Nidal Hasan’s screeds were remarked upon, were complained about. But since he was the only Muslim psychiatrist in the Army, those complaints were stifled.
When a group of imams–Muslim clerics–at the Minneapolis Airport in 2006 began behaving suspiciously, an Arabic-speaking passenger complained. They were loudly denouncing U.S. foreign policy, grumbling that the United States had “killed Saddam” and was pursuing Osama bin Laden. They seated themselves strategically throughout various sections of the USAirways aircraft. They demanded seatbelt extenders but none of the Imams were overweight.
These “flying imams” were booted off the flight and questioned by the FBI. They sued the airline, and also the
Metropolitan Airports Commission, the FBI agents, and the passengers who had reported their conduct. (Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, the man who put the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993 behind bars, describes the whole “flying imams” case in his powerful book Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.)
I respect Juan Williams and I’m grateful that he will be compensated generously for his ordeal at NPR. But I am concerned for all those Americans who do not have Juan’s prominent public position. If they can treat Juan Williams so shabbily, what will they do to the flight attendant, the pilot, the TSA employee, the airport baggage handler? These folks are our first line of defense.
By the grace of God we survived the case of the flying imams. We were blessed that an alert street vendor blew the whistle on the SUV of the Times Square bomber–just in time. When Detroit-bound passenger Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to set off the explosives in his BVDs last Christmas, we were spared tragedy once again.
But as the horror at Fort Hood demonstrates, we need a vigilant citizenry. We need to overcome political correctness for the sake of our security.
A good way to start is to let the NPR execs–like Vivian Schiller and Ellen Weiss–know that there are consequences to their politically correct misconduct.
Congress should defund NPR. The case for doing so was overwhelming before this egregious incident. Firing Juan Williams is just the cherry on top of the defund NPR cake.