How long has NPR been itching to fire Juan Williams?
His recent statements admitting his fear of flying in planes with “people who are in Muslim garb” and who “are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims” provided the impetus, of course (never mind that none of the 9-11 terrorists were wearing any identifying “garb”). But Williams, an award-winning reporter who spent more than two decades covering politics at the Washington Post, has been tacking right for years.
There was the time when Bill O’Reilly got into some trouble for expressing surprise, after a visit to Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, that “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’ ” Williams defended him, saying of CNN, “They want to shut you up, they want to shut up anyone who wants to have an honest discussion about race.”
But the turning point may have been this appearance on The O’Reilly Factor in March of 2009, when Williams told Bill O, “When I say something that doesn’t hold to the orthodoxy of the far left, they are far more vicious and personal, ad hominem…than anything on the right.”
Right of wrong, he’d probably second the notion today.