The Daily Aztec

NPR acted with double standard and liberal bias

by Staff

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Artwork courtesy of Opinion Editor Tom Hammel

By Patrick Walsh, Senior Staff

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech; these are two principles our nation was founded on, fundamental rights that will always be guaranteed to all citizens. Unless, of course, you work for National Public Radio.

Longtime NPR correspondent and frequent Fox News contributor Juan Williams appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s TV show to speak about Muslims and civil rights. Williams, a staunch liberal and supporter of the Democratic Party stated “If I see people who are in Muslim garb (on an airplane) I get nervous, I get worried.” William’s revelation of his feeling came prior to pointing out that all Muslims should receive civil rights. On its own, the comment is uneventful and really insignificant. Williams relayed a personal and admittingly unfortunate feeling that millions of Americans have experienced in our post-9/11 world.

The following day, NPR fired Williams for his statement. But that wasn’t the worst he got from his employer of ten years. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller had a press conference insinuating that Williams, an African-American Liberal, is a bigot. Schiller also mocked him by saying he should see a psychiatrist to discuss his political views now that he is leaving NPR. After dragging Williams’ credibility through the mud by claiming he was mentally unstable, NPR said he was fired in light of an emotional expression he gave on Fox News. His comment was not analytical commentary, which runs against what NPR holds its correspondents accountable to.

Really Schiller? Let’s look into that.

Was the news agency giving straight facts on March 23 when Cokie Roberts of NPR said “(Glenn) Beck is worse than a clown; more like a terrorist,” claiming Beck “is a traitor of American values” because of his beliefs?

Or how about when NPR’s Nina Totenberg equated our current Supreme Court as scandalous, attributing its behavior to “Watergate”?

Was it unbiased analysis when the hardcore left NPR “analyst” Dan Schorr called George W. Bush’s 2000 election victory a political coup d’état, and labeled the five justices who ruled in favor of Bush the “Gang of 5,” equating them to China’s Gang of 4, which massacred thousands of people who were against the Communist government?

What we have here is a gross double standard. It’s quite obvious employees of NPR must leave their personal commentary out of their public appearances, unless of course that opinion is of the Liberal agenda. None of the three NPR correspondents I listed were fired or reprimanded for their statements.

Williams has received overwhelming support by citizens of both sides of the political spectrum for what has happened to him. The so-called evil and right-wing Fox News even gave Williams a raise and contract extension.

The best thing to come out of this story is that NPR has been exposed for what it truly is: an apparatus of the political left. This, however, does not take away from the fact that Williams has lost his job and his sanity and morals have been questioned by his employer of ten years.

Industry insiders have come out and said this is all quite clear to them. It’s a well-known fact that NPR has been out to fire Williams for the past five years because he appears on Fox News to provide the Liberal perspective on many shows and guest hosts O’Reilly’s show when he is on vacation. For NPR, appearing on Fox News amounts to sacrilege. They have been trying to fire him at any cost for his “violation of NPR code.”

What’s worse is that NPR runs off public funding. Donors and taxpayers pay for its programming. If NPR wanted to censor its employees and produce a one-view program that would be fine with me, but when it is paying for this kind of tainted coverage on the taxpayers’ dime, funding must stop. O’Reilly and some Republican lawmakers are looking into cutting public funding for NPR because of this violation of free speech. Williams has been advised to take legal action against NPR as well.

I hope he does.

What Williams said was not a big deal and it was not racist. Williams has written many books about civil rights and has been a hard-line supporter for them throughout his whole career. I can promise you this, if Williams said he, as a black man, felt nervous or worried when he walked past a Tea Party rally, you would not hear a peep from NPR or anywhere else. Any conservative group is fair game for slander and mockery. The fact of the matter is NPR is isolated from both the left and the right for its obscene behavior. I’m happy to see both Republicans and Democracts cross  party lines to come together about  this issue. Even the Muslim Public Affairs Council has come out and condemned NPR’s actions and offered support for Williams.

So Totenberg, it sounds like your company is the “traitor to American values.”

—Patrick Walsh is a political science senior.

—The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

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