October 21, 2010 by staff
Stokely Carmichael, Reports from Washington -
As National Public Radio endured a storm of criticism on Thursday of his decision to Juan Williams, newsanlyst for his comments about Muslims, Fox News moved aggressively to turn the dispute in its favor by signing Williams to a larger role in the cable news network.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes gave Williams a new three-year contract last week, in an operation that amounts to almost 2 million, a considerable blow up from his previous salary, the Washington Bureau Tribune has learned. The partner of Fox News, now appears exclusively and more frequently on cable news network and has a regular column on FoxNews.com.
“John has been a strong advocate of liberal views and his term began on Fox News in 1997,” Ailes said in a statement, adding a jab at NPR: “He is an honest man whose freedom of expression is protected on Fox News on a day basis. ”
Meanwhile, conservative leaders lashed out NPR for the firing of Williams and calls for cutting public funding for the organization of the media. By midafternoon Thursday, more than 4,900 comments were published on NPR.org, including many people who said the media organization was bowing to political correctness and unfairly punish Williams for expressing their personal views.
“In an arrogant move the NPR itself exposed to the leftist thought police are actually” read one typical message. “After this November’s election I hope that one of the first things the new Congress does is take the money to this poor excuse for public radio.”
The dispute began Monday night when Williams, a contributor to Fox News, made an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor.” In a conversation with Bill O’Reilly about how the fear of t*rror*sm affects the perceptions of Muslims, Williams noted that harbored some concerns, even as the author of books on the civil rights movement.
“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a fan …. But when I get on an airplane, I have to tell you, if I see people in Muslim dress and I think, you know, are identifying themselves first of all Muslims, I am concerned. I get nervous, “said Williams.
He noted that it was unfair to cast all Muslims as extremists.
On Wednesday, NPR, said Williams was to end his contract, saying that his words “were inconsistent with the editorial standards and practices, and has undermined its credibility as a newsanlyst for NPR.”
The abrupt break came after years in which the role of Williams in Fox News caused internal stress in the organization of public radio. Many NPR listeners registered complaints about comments made in the cable news channel, in particular the comments last year in which he described the first lady Michelle Obama has “Stokely Carmichael is present in a designer dress thing” and saying she could become “a burden.”
In response, executives at NPR Williams requested the application of Fox News did not identify him as ananlyst for NPR, when she appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Dana Davis Rehm, NPR senior vice president for communications, said in an interview that Williams’s comments violated the ethical rules prohibiting internal NPR journalists go in other media and to express “views that air in his role as NPR journalist. ” The guidelines also prohibit NPR journalists to participate in programs which promote learning and speculation rather than ananlysis based on the facts. ”
Rehm said Williams had been warned several times in the past about making personal comments that violated the policy.
“This was not the first time we feel John crossed the goal in terms of what is possible foranlysts and journalists from NPR as a whole,” he said. “We felt we really had no choice. And not without regret, and it was a decision that was taken lightly by any means. We appreciate the work he has done.”
Williams told Fox News on Thursday he was fired by phone and surprised that he was not given the opportunity to defend.
“It is not a bigoted statement,” he told Fox News in an interview on cable news network ran throughout the day. “In fact, in the course of this conversation with Bill O’Reilly, I say we have an obligation that Americans care to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in our country and to ensure that we have no instances of intolerance. But that is not a reality. You can not ignore what happened on 9 / 11 and you can not ignore the connection Islamic radicalism, and you can not ignore the fact that even recently said in court about this is the first drop of blood in a war Muslims in America. ”
Fox News made the most of the incident, re-run a package on the controversy throughout the day. Williams was scheduled to appear on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday night to address the issue and will guest host the program on Friday.
Meanwhile, NPR has been criticized by conservative leaders like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, Twitter, “NPR defends the first amendment law, but the fire or if u exercise. John Williams: I like the hypocrisy of the left is wrong fire him. ”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who presented a program on Fox News, NPR said it now plans to boycott and declining requests for interviews.
“NPR has been discredited as a forum for freedom of expression and the protection of First Amendment rights of all and has become the politically correct fuel provider and protector of the views that lean to the left,” Huckabee wrote on his blog, adding: “It is time for taxpayers to begin making cuts in federal spending, and encourage the new Congress to begin with NPR.”
NPR receives no direct federal funding for their operations, but between 1% and 3% of its and 160 million budget comes from competitive grants awarded by the publicly funded institutions such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Fund Arts. Since 2009, NPR received and 8 million in competitive grants from the CEC for the development of technology and journalism initiatives. He also received a one-time grant and 78 million between 2007 and 2009 to upgrade the technology of satellites.
NPR stations and receive 90 million in annual appropriations of the CEC, which represent 10% of their income on average.
Rehm said that it was inappropriate for politicians to bring the issue of federal funding in an editorial decision, adding that he hoped the controversy would not affect financial aid for public radio. “The seasons are fundraising season, and it is unfortunate that this has happened at this time,” he said.
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