Juan Williams: Fair & Balanced
6:15 PM, Oct 21, 2010 • By FRED BARNES
NPR’s firing of Juan Williams tells you more about NPR than it does about Juan. What a stupid thing to do! You’d think the folks at NPR would be delighted: He’s a strong, mostly liberal voice on the most popular cable news channel in the country. But I suspect that was outweighed by their hatred of Fox News in particular and the conservative media in general.
I have no doubt that Juan’s comments about Muslims were merely a pretext. There had been prior run-ins between NPR and Juan over his appearances on Fox. But fire him over remarks that most Americans would identify with? I didn’t think the loathing of Fox would cause NPR to do something so ideologically driven, unprofessional, and bigoted.
Liberals in the media – not all of them – regard Fox as illegitimate, as something less than honest journalism. The mainstream media, on the other hand, is the real thing. And NPR is solidly in that mainstream – that is, the elite, liberal press establishment. Fox isn’t.
I know many NPR listeners have been irritated by Juan’s appearances on Fox. So what? I’ve heard from Fox viewers upset over things Juan says. Again, so what? Should Fox be on the lookout for some pretext to fire Juan because he’s on NPR and expresses views that some in the Fox audience don’t like? Of course not.
Juan is a friend of mine. I’ve known him and his family for many years. I tell Fox fans who complain about him that he’s exactly the kind of journalist they should be thrilled to see on Fox. He’s open-minded and doesn’t automatically reject opinions different from his own. He often surprises me in what he says. I doubt if I surprise him very often.