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Juan Williams firing about money, not free speech - Comments (0)
Derek Smith - 11/5/2010
FYI by Derrick Martin
Juan Williams firing about money, not free speech
A few weeks back, NPR correspondent Juan Williams was fired for making on-the-air remarks that were seen as disparaging towards Muslims.
He made them on Fox News. Which is interesting because anything that is uttered on Fox News is typically off-the-wall in terms of its accuracy and shock value.
And as usual, the right-wing crazies have completely manipulated this story and turned it into something that it clearly isn't.
The rest of the “mainstream” media? They continue to shirk their responsibilities by choosing to ignore the real issue.
This isn't about Juan Williams and his right to free speech. Juan Williams can say whatever he wants to about Muslims, about gays, about Jews...about anyone.
NPR simply reserves the right to not employ him.
The most important factor in this case that is conveniently being ignored by the right-wing media is that Williams was making his statements as an employee of NPR.
Williams was introduced as an employee of NPR. The subtitle below his face on the screen said “NPR Commentator.” He wasn't talking to Bill O'Reilly as simply Juan Williams, dude off the street. There's a huge distinction here.
And as such, NPR (as would any employer) would have a significant vested interest in what comes out of Juan Williams' mouth.
Let's play “pretend” and I think you'll get the point.
Let's pretend I worked for the City of Detroit, and I was asked to come onto a Detroit radio station as a city employee and provide commentary. Let's pretend I was asked, “So Derrick, tell us how a born-and-raised South Dakotan feels about working in and for our lovely city.”
Let's pretend my response would be, “Well, I'll tell ya. It's a little scary getting to-and-from work surrounded by all these black people. Each day I wonder if today's the day I get jumped or killed.”
How would any reasonable....reasonable.....(that automatically eliminates anyone from Fox News) person expect my employer to respond? A reprimand? A firing?
Just ask yourself this simple question: What would your employer allow you to say in public if you were speaking to the public as a representative of your employer?
I think the point is clear.
The distinction is that when we are not speaking under the auspices of our employer we enjoy greater flexibility with regard to free speech.
But again, Juan Williams was making his statements as a mouthpiece for his respective employer, NPR.
End of story.
But it isn't the end of the story. I predicted (and it has already come to fruition) that Williams would pick up a sweet deal with Fox News.
How sweet? How does $2 million sound?
Well played, Mr. Williams.
Your former employer, NPR, had been hounding you for years about remarks you make as their commentator. You then go on (of all venues) O'Reilly and make remarks you know will get you into the hottest of hot water.
You get fired. You throw gasoline on the right-wing nutso media fire. And then you cash your $2 million check.
Hear that laughter? It's Juan Williams laughing all the way to the bank.
And the people at whom he's laughing?
Anyone who watches “mainstream” media.
We need to stop giving in to these contrived media events. We are the fiddle. And the media is Itzhak Perlman, center stage in Carnegie Hall, playing us as if it were his last show ever.
But that's just what I have to say. And writing strictly as a private citizen, I'm as free as anyone else in saying it.
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