Juan Williams and NPR

Juan Williams and NPR

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 4:41pm

Read NPR CEO Vivian Schiller's statement regarding Senior News Analyst Juan Williams.

NPR has terminated the contract of Senior News Analyst Juan Williams, due to remarks made on The O'Reilly Factor on Mon., October 18, that were inconsistent with NPR's editorial standards and practices.

Here is a statement from NPR CEO Vivian Schiller:

First, a critical distinction has been lost in this debate. NPR News analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.

Second, this isn’t the first time we have had serious concerns about some of Juan’s public comments. Despite many conversations and warnings over the years, Juan has continued to violate this principle.

Third, these specific comments (and others made in the past), are inconsistent with NPR’s ethics code, which applies to all journalists (including contracted analysts):

“In appearing on TV or other media . . . NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows . . . that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”

More fundamentally, “In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist.”

Unfortunately, Juan’s comments on Fox violated our standards as well as our values and offended many in doing so.

Vivian Schiller
President & CEO, NPR

Comments about NPR's decision can be shared with NPR's Ombudsman Alicia Shepard by logging on to NPR.org/ombudsman or by calling 202-513-3245.



Juan Williams

The CEO of NPR should be summarily sacked for conduct unbecoming. Her recent firing of Williams was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to suppress free speech on the part of someone whose opinion differs from her own. She apparently sees nothing wrong with abusive language from NPR staffers to the left of center. And to think that people associate McCarthyism only with those on the right. Well, I am glad that Schiller and Silverstein have cleared up that misconception.

A Letter from the President

jparker's picture

WXXI President Norm Silverstein presents a perspective.

Juan Williams

I will not support WXXI this year since NPR has fired Juan Williams simply because he expressed himself concerning a fear of flying with people who could hijack his airplane. This censorship of reporters is inconsistant with all NPR reporters and shows a bias that I cannot support. Consider me no longer a supporter of NPR.

Juan Williams

I will not support WXXI until it issues a statement severing itself from NPR and the likes of the people who would make decisions such as these!

Diminished Respect for "Public" Broadcasting

Have we come to the point of thought control, where a person expressing "nervousness" in a situation must sacrifice his job. NPR should have classified his beharior as "double-plus-ungood"

Juan Williams

WXXI needs to drop NPR and get their news feed from a credible source; NPR is absolutely the weakest link in the chain for this radio station and is the reason I stopped contributing to WXXI several years ago. Codrescu, Totenberg, now Schiller herself - NPR is patently guilty of the bias that it enjoys charging others with!

Juan Williams

NPR's reasons for firing Juan Williams are legalistic and sanctimonious. All they have managed to do is to give dramatic proof that their claims (so oft-repeated during pledge drives) to be a source for objective, dispassionate news coverage are, in fact, false. Juan Williams was too conservative for them, so he got the ax. It's as simple as that. Most NPR programs are aimed toward a liberal audience and are dominated by left-leaning commentators. I used to agree with much of what I heard on NPR a decade ago when they were more centrist. Now I find their news coverage has an inevitable left-leaning bias to them. So much for NPR's objectivity. And, with the firing of Williams, so much for their integrity.

Poor Timing

Firing one the few black analysts @ npr isn't helping wxxi's pledge drive.

Then again, what Juan said was pretty dumb. A supposed civil rights correspondent should have had more care when he ported that old stereotype " black people on the street make me uncomfortable" into the fresh and exciting context of arabs on planes.

Before muslims and blacks of course, we all had to hold down our hair lest we be scalped when buying gas at the reservation. Thats just common sense.

Juan Williams Firing

What happened to Mr. Williams is wrong. He was expressing how he felt personally and was not expressing an opinion. Other people at NPR have stated much worse things and still are employed by NPR. There is definitely a left and right bias at NPR which My wife and I do not support. This is still America where free speech is cherished; but maybe not in your organization. I strongly recommend that you denounce NPR's treatment of Mr. Williams. As long as you side With NPR and their obvious agenda
I will not support you in the future.

NPR should go

Stop carrying NPR. Why would anyone donate to WXXI knowing that some of that money will have to go to NPR to carry their programming? I won't, and I will tell anyone I know not to.

If NPR were consistent in their treatment of all their people, including those that don't go on Fox, it might be a different story. They have targeted a particular news organization and the truth be damned.

WXXI will not see me until NPR is gone.

A liberal decries NPR hypocrisy

I have loved NPR for 30 years. Even though I agree with much of what I hear on NPR and WXXI, the ability to disagree with diverse opinions has been a hallmark of why I listen to WXXI and NPR. Now I am extremely offended by the double standard that Ms. Schiller and Ms. Weiss have shown in firing Juan Williams. They condemn him for what I think was a mild comment, yet they allow Terri Gross and Diane Rehm to make much stronger statements without comment. There is a clear and offensive double standard. I recognize the bias of Bob Smith, yet he makes an effort to offer a voice to other views. Ms. Schiller and Weiss do not. Shame on them. I hope you are voicing your concern as well. If not, then please at least voice mine.

big mistake

Schiller has made a big deal over claims that NPR is neutral and not biased. This sends that position to the shredder.

Under her leadership NPR has gone from mildly left to radical left. The lovefest with George Soros amounts to a sale of NPR to a Billionaire, and now her abrupt firing of the ONLY black on-air personality confirms what the Right has been saying -- NPR is now a mouthpiece for the radical Left. Her gratuitous slam of Williams seeing a psychiatrist was just sophomoric.

Locally, Bob Smith's promotion of liberals like Louise Slaughter and various City Democrats, while ignoring or denigrating GOP/conservative/Tea Party positions and people, adds some local flavor to the Leftward drift. You've lost me, wxxi.

So let me get this

So let me get this straight...Nina Totenberg hoping that Jesse Helms and his grandchildren would get AIDS is "consistent with NPR's ethics code;" and doesn't "violate our standards as well as our values?" And Bill Moyers calling Republicans the Taliban also upholds NPR's high ethical standards?

OK thanks, just wanted to be clear on that.

Juan Williams

As a member, your network does not have our support. Center yourself or leave ROCHESTER NY. This is an outrage. You should be ashamed of yourself. Where is your journalist ETHICS? No more, not one dime. We are telling our family, our friends, co-workers not to support you. Most are Independent voters and you made a HUGE MISTAKE. You are a disgrace to Rochester NY. Shame on you...

Juan Williams

I'm done with NPR, I have supported Public Radio for a long time, but this is the end. Juan Williams is one of the most highly respected journalists in America. You'ver lost me as a listener and supporter. You've really made a mistake that may be have long reaching repercussions.

Juan Williams

Sorry...I will not support your network. Get center or leave Rochester. Where are your ETHICS? We are informing our famlily and friends, co-workers of your incompetence and ignorant judgement in the decision of terminating Mr. Williams contract. You should be ashamed, we may not always agree with Mr. Williams, but we do not need your network or NPR to tell us what we need to hear. Here is a quarter...disgraceful.

Juan Williams

I don't usually agree with Juan Williams and his political views, but what NPR has done to him is appalling!! If I were an WXXI member, I would cancel my membership; if I had pledged a donation, I would not fulfill it. This is truly shameful! Whoever is responsible for cancelling his contract should be fired!!