The Daily Show: Picking a fight with Fox News
With midterm elections only days away, let's completely ignore politics and talk about the firing of Juan Williams from NPR. It's the nation's top story - I know you've heard about it.
All the news outlets have been talking about Williams' firing, so I've got to cover the staffing decisions at NPR because this story is hot, really hot - Chilean miner hot.
Except that Williams' collapse took place not underground but under the harsh lights of "The O'Reilly Factor."
"When I get on a plane if I see people who are in Muslim garb and they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous," Williams said on the show.
Yup, that's what got him fired. It was a direct violation of NPR's Never Say Anything Interesting Policy. They take great pride in that.
So NPR played into their stereotype as a network of condescending liberal elites, but in the light of day they might want to walk their decision back a bit. Or they could just call him a crazy person.
"Juan feels the way he feels. That is not for me to pass judgment on. His feelings that he expressed on Fox News are really between him and his psychiatrist or his publicist, take your pick," said NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller.
Ah, they decided to go with crazy.
Are you kidding me, NPR? You're picking a fight with Fox News? They gave Williams a $2 million contact just for you firing him.
NPR, you just brought a tote bag of David Sedaris books to a knife fight.
Williams has names like Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Karl Rove behind him. Fox News even went so far as to ask if "NPR was an agent of a jihadist inquisition." Yeah, that really happened.
That's Fox. They follow the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force, shock and claw. Even if NPR can muster a counter-attack, Fox wins that fight every time.
I guess there's only one thing left to do - the eulogy.
"He's an incredibly gentle and kind man," said Shepard Smith.
Guys, you already gave him $2 million. You don't have to woo him.
Of course the firing of a black journalist - a champion of civil rights and a man who's clearly felt the sting of racial profiling himself - for confessing prejudices is an interesting jumping-off point for discussion.
Even our senior black correspondent Larry Wilmore said he's a little conflicted because, as a black man, he is sometimes afraid of people in Muslim garb on planes.
Of course, he also said that as a black man, he's scared of "these mother f---ing snakes on this mother f---ing plane."
Then again, that may just be feeding into the stereotypes. Maybe we should be trying to change people's minds, instead.
But if white folks aren't going to make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should why should Arabs take the time to make the distinction between decent white people and racists?
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