Juan Williams, the longtime NPR analyst who was fired last October over comments he made about Muslims on Fox News — only to be then given a fat new contract by FNC chief Roger Ailes — had a lot to say about Thursday’s resignation of NPR news SVP Ellen Weiss, the woman who fired him.
Via the Fox News transcript:
“I think it is good news for NPR if they can get someone who I think has been the keeper of a flame of liberal orthodox out of NPR. The idea that she was someone who just had the executioner’s knife for anybody that didn’t abide by one single way of thinking, which was her way of thinking. I think she represented a very ingrown, incestuous culture in that institution that’s not open to not only different ways of thinking but angry at the fact that I would even talk or be on Fox. Angry at the fact that people have different perspectives and that a conservative perspective might emerge either on Fox or even NPR. To my mind, this is good news for NPR for people who care about news in America.
“She essentially called me a bigot for saying that I feared and felt when I am in airports and about to get on a plane and see people dressed in Muslim garb a moment of anxiety about that presence. That statement she said was evidence of bigotry, that she felt there was no longer any place for me because I crossed the line of her journalistic standards. What I think I crossed was her politically correct line in the sand. When I said to her ‘we can talk about this, have you heard the whole interview with Bill O’ Reilly?’ She said she didn’t need to hear anything else, review anything else. She said there was nothing I could say to her to change her mind.”
On NPR CEO Vivian Schiller and the internal NPR investigation: “I had nothing to do with that investigation because I didn’t know if they were going to further defame me in order to justify their actions. I didn’t have anyone representing me at the table. I felt it was better for me to keep my distance. I am free to comment on what has happened now, but they have made their decision and can live with it. They have a culture there is not open to real news, that is not open to all points of view, that is not open to the real world around us and to the many different dynamics, perspectives and life stories that animate America.”
On NPR’s future: “They’ve got to see what comes next. What has happened in the past is that you had someone like Ellen Weiss there at the top of the news division and she was pushing out anybody who had a different point of view about the world or the news or bringing different kinds of stories to the table. [Ellen Weiss] has kept along her pals and her friends who all think alike. It has become highly ingrown if not incestuous in terms of their perspective. They protect each other and push everybody else out. You’re not one of us, not one of the original team. It goes to the point even of people who are young, people who are different races. It is a very difficult environment in which to present and report the news. The question is do they simply go back and get someone else who is also part of that culture or do they start to break out and acknowledge we have responsibilities to the wider world. We can’t pretend that we are somehow special, that government funding through the member stations is going to protect us from what the world thinks and what the world views us to be.”
On NPR issuing a statement praising Ellen Weiss: “I can’t help but say what a contrast in the way they treated me. If they want to be Pravda and issue propaganda like that, fine, but I think everybody knows the real story here.”