Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams Fired at NPR

When I saw this in prime time the other evening (yes I watch O'Reilly -- so shoot me) I immediately had two reactions. The first was, Juan, that's a little creepy. He was confessing what is in fact a predjudiced emotion, and in a tone that suggests that such a feeling is understandable, perhaps even rational. The second was that he had just damaged himself.

Little did I know! Soon Williams was fired from his decade-old job at National Public Radio by means of a phone call -- no discussions, no meeting, no appeal, and despite his having a contract. (This last may mean he can sue them. I sure hope so!)

What amazes me is that he made this statement in illustrating the idea that political correctness can make it impossible to discuss reality as it exists. I guess NPR doesn't do irony. They also don't seem to care about the PC (but sensible) things Williams went on to say in this interview (see the above link.)

If we are going to discuss prejudice, people have to be able to confess to it. And the idea that it can be understandable is one of the views that have to be defended. That is an indispensable part of the process of assessing the truth of such ideas. NPR has made a mighty move to paralyze such discussion.

Update: Here is an article with an online poll on whether NPR should have fired Williams. Even though the site is one that would attract people who appreciate "politically correct" concerns, the vote is overwhelmingly "no." This is heartening!
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