Thursday, October 21, 2010

NPR: Feckless, Gutless and Intolerant

The story posted below was the last NPR story that I will post. The firing of Juan Williams, one of the most fair and even correspondents I have heard in recent years made me sick to my stomach. I will never post a story from NPR again, nor will I ever consider donating money to them. If a letter is circulated asking congress to defund them, I will sign it. They are not even liberal in outlook. They are politically correct and intolerant of free speech.


  1. You don't consider his remarks racist? Also, this is not a free speech issue. You're protected from government censorship. This is between an employer and an employee.

  2. No, I don't. He is just giving voice to a feeling based on many different events in the recent past. He didn't say he didn't like Muslims. He didn't say "I move to the other side of the street when I see one of 'them' people coming." All he said was that he got a little bit nervous.

    Jesse Jackson once said that if was walking down a deserted street and there was someone behind him, if he turned around and discovered it was a white person, he felt better. Why? Not because he is racist but because, despite being a minority in this nation, African Americans commit more crimes than whites. Every major terrorist attack in recent memory has been committed by Muslim extremists. You don't have to be racist to be a bit nervous.

    Regarding his employers: my concern is not whether or not NPR is a public company, my concern is the rationale by which they fired Juan Williams. If they are so concerned about offending people, why didn't they fire Nina Totenberg who called Tea Party members "tea baggers" and wished that Jesse Helms would get AIDS. She was not even reprimanded.

    Organizations like NPR, which claims to be an objective news organization, believe in free speech only when it comports with their political and social views. When it doesn't it is branded as "intolerant."

  3. Every major terrorist attack in recent memory has been committed by Muslim extremists.

    I believe that Robert Pape at U. Chicago has done some looking into that claim, and found that it isn't true. Over the last 30 years, the biggest predictor of terrorism is whether a democracy has troops in an area that some militarily inferior group thinks of as either sacred or their own territory. Religiosity isn't a big factor. (Now that I think of it, I believe his research is on suicide terrorism, so it might not directly contradict what you wrote.)

    Regarding Williams and NPR, I've always enjoyed hearing him on the radio, and I'm sad their giving him the boot. From what I can tell, it doesn't look like they have good reason to fire him, either. But, that said, there's no way I'll switch from NPR to AM radio or Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter). For my money, they offer the most balanced news and commentary.

  4. AMW, you may be correct about the first part. I am relying on anecdotal evidence and should have backed up the claim before I made it. On the other hand, there has been no attack done recently in which the responsible group said "we just want you gone." I wonder if it might be more correct (again, I have not done the research) to say that they find democracy a direct threat to the theocratic construct that they have and they want all traces to that gone. This may be why they bomb places like India and Bali. Those nations have no military presence in the home nations of these terrorists, but they represent capitalistic democracy.

  5. Jim,

    If you read the proclamations of, say, Osama bin Laden, it is very clear that his primary (stated) opposition to the U.S. - as of 9/11 - was based on military bases in Saudi Arabia, support for Israeli policy with regards to the Palestinian question and the oil embargo on Iraq.

    Regarding India and Bali, I'm a little less clear. The Bali bombing was at a place where a lot of westerners congregate, no? I think it was sort of a proxy attack against the US, UK, Australia, etc. India is more or less a democracy, and it has had a prolonged occupation conflict in the Kashmir with Pakistan.

  6. I don't know if it's that simple, AMW. The writings of Islamicists in the Al Qaeda Reader do include the issues you mention, but particularly in bin Laden's open letter to the people of the US. The other writings, translated from Arabic and more in the form of ideological reasoning for violent jihad, leave little doubt that there is little if any room for compromise.

    The Islamicists' number one enemies in these writings seem to be the Muslim country governments that have "sold out" to Western or secular influence, while the second is anything standing in the way of Islamicist triumphalism.

    While it is important to realize that this doesn't represent all Muslims, it is also important to take seriously the threat posed by the extremists. That threat must be dealt with, not swept under the rug in the hope that it will disappear.

  7. Hi, Mike.

    That's a fair point. But then, we have to be honest about who the threat applies to. My main objection is to the simplification that Islamicists hate the West because we're such good guys and they can't stand that about us, and so they're going to try to kill us no matter what we do. In point of fact, they hate the West because we prop up governments and pursue policies that they're opposed to. We can end their threat to us pretty effectively by ceasing said support and policies.

    Now maybe those policies are worth the added risk. Maybe they have benefits to us that simply outweigh that risk. That's an honest discussion that's worth having. But that's not where the national/political discussion is at. And frankly, I think that the current national/political discussion isn't worth having.

    (This is one more reason I'm bitter at the last administration and exasperated by the current one.)