I feel for Juan Williams, I really do. The dude should not have been fired, especially in the manner that he was. A phone call! They could’ve at least had Carl Kassle call him and leave a message on his voicemail.
But even more than that I feel for NPR. NPR is getting hammered in the press for being this liberal conspiracy to take over the world. (Full Disclosure: I would totally vote Tom and Ray of Car Talk into the White House. There is all of this talk of which party, the Democrats or the Republicans, drove the bus into the ditch and who is going to drive us out. Well, at least with Tom and Ray they can figure out what the hell is wrong with our bus and have a good time doing so.)
I find it more than ironic that NPR, which is largely listener supported, is being criticized for having an agenda by media outlets owned by major corporations with interests across the map. NBC, FOX, and CNN can’t scratch their butts without wondering how it is going to affect the sales of their sister company’s hemorrhoid cream.
The timing of the Juan Williams thing is like a perfect storm because many of the affiliates like the one here in Muncie are in the middle of their fall fund-raising campaign. Speaking of perfect storms, the station here in Muncie had their transponder taken out for a large portion of the day by high winds. Depending on what ridiculous position you are taking on the Williams firing, you might think that it is God’s or Allah’s will. Call me reasonable, but I think it was just a damn low-pressure system.
I love NPR. My goal in life is to be interviewed by Terry Gross. I met Garrison Keillor in an elevator, I listen regularly to On Point out of Boston and even had my call taken by the show one time, and like every writer in America I want to record a piece for This American Life and try on Ira Glass’s glasses. That’s why this Tuesday I’m donating $20 as part of my $10 for Tuesday project. Yes, I realize that the math doesn’t really work out. Get your own project. You know every time I get on a plane and see someone with a scientific calculator who looks like they have a handle on calculus, I get a little nervous.)