Posts Tagged ‘National Public Radio’

Declaration of Independence is still revolutionary

July 7, 2017

National Public Radio has a long-standing custom of broadcasting the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July.

This year NPR sent out the Declaration of Independence on Twitter, and was accused of sending out radical propaganda.   They thought the Declaration referred to President Trump, not King George III.

It goes to show that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are like the Bible. More people say they believe in them than actually reading them.

I can remember newspapers years ago doing man-in-the-street interviews about excerpts from the Declaration or the Bill of Rights, and showing how many average Americans regarded their country’s founding ideals as dangerous and radical.

Actually, this country’s founding ideals are dangerous and radical, but in a good way.


Some Trump supporters thought NPR tweeted ‘propaganda’ | It was the Declaration of Independence by Amy B. Wang for The Washington Post.

Exit Juan Williams

October 26, 2010

I don’t think any journalist or academic who is doing a good job should be fired for making a single offensive statement, however stupid.  In most cases, though, the statement that gets the person fired is not the real reason, but a last straw coming after a whole lot of other things.

One example is Lawrence Summers, who was fired as president of Harvard University after saying that women may have genetic limitations that keep them from the highest level of achievement in mathematics.  This came after he had antagonized just about every major constituency in the Harvard academic community.  Casey Stengel is supposed to have said that the secret of management is to keep the players who hate you away from the ones who haven’t made up their minds.  Summers hadn’t learned that lesson.  If he had, I think the controversy over his remark would have been allowed to blow over.

Some people seem to be able to get away with anything, and others lose their jobs over the least little thing.  In most cases, the difference has to do with their relative value to their employers.  There are exceptions.  Phil Donahue’s morning show was canceled by MSNBC in 2003, despite its being MSNBC’s highest rated show, because he was critical of President Bush.


Juan Williams

In the case of Juan Williams being fired by National Public Radio, the occasion for his firing was his statement to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News about how fear of people in “Muslim garb” was understandable.  I believe the underlying reason was the conflict of interest between his role as an anchor for NPR and his role as a commentator for Fox.  He took his credentials based on NPR’s reputation for objectivity and professionalism, and put them at the service of Fox News’ inflammatory propaganda aimed at stirring up ethnic and religious conflict.  NPR could have have tolerated this situation indefinitely.  Williams had to choose whether to be a journalist for NPR or a token liberal for Fox, and he chose the more lucrative option.

NPR put itself in a bad light in the knee-jerk way it responded to Williams’ statement.  It would have been smarter and classier to have quietly declined to renew his contract the next time it came up.  But I don’t think NPR would have acted as it did if management were not already displeased with Williams’ role on Fox.


Muslim garb

October 24, 2010

[10/24/10] Ex-NPR commentator Juan Williams last week commented as follows on Fox News.

I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week. He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts.

Click on Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things or look below to see pictures of people in Muslim garb.