Friday, October 22, 2010

NPR is Not Liberal: It is in the Grip of Hard Core Leftists Who are Determined to Stamp Out Free Speech

The firing of journalist Juan Williams by National Public Radio in the US has unleashed a firestorm of protest that has untied conservatives and many actual liberals (as opposed to socialists in liberal clothing) in protest against this unjust and disgraceful action.

If you are unfamiliar with the basic facts of the story, you can go here or here to get them.

In a column in the Washington Post entitled "Juan Williams, truthful dissident," Reuel Marc Gerecht writes:
Did journalist Juan Williams, who was fired Wednesday by NPR, show unacceptable insensitivity or unforgiveable stupidity when he expressed anxiety about Muslim airplane passengers during an interview with conservative TV host Bill O'Reilly? Free speech shouldn't guarantee immunity from the standards of basic decency, but Williams's comments were hardly a firing offense. We would all be better off -- Muslim Americans first and foremost -- if we could have a more open discussion about Islam, Islamic militancy and what Muslims, here and abroad, think it means to be Muslim.
I wonder if it ever occurs to the deep thinkers on the Left that their supposed "defence" of Muslims as a certified victim group actually hurts Muslims? If they ever did realize the damage they were doing, would they care? Gerecht again:
This friendly approach is probably, unfortunately, counterproductive. So far, it's unlikely that Muslim self-criticism -- our ultimate salvation from Islamic holy warriors -- has improved under Obama. Judging by the satellite channel Al-Jazeera, a vibrant hodgepodge of all things Arab, the opposite current, fed by Western self-doubt, appears to be gaining force. By being nice, we suggest that nothing within "Islam" -- by which I mean the 1,400-year-old evolving marriage of faith, culture and politics -- is terribly wrong. By being kind, we fail to provoke controversy among Muslims about why so many Muslims from so many lands have called suicide bombers against Western targets "martyrs" and not monsters. Worst of all, by being considerate we fail to echo the great Muslim dissidents, deeply religious men such as the Iranians Abdolkarim Soroush and Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, who see that something has gone very wrong within their country and their civilization. The president would do well to be more nuanced in his outreach to the Muslim world, giving more sustenance to those who see its systemic problems.
Gerecht is right to suggest that the liberal approach - embodied by the Obama administration and the EU - is not working to get Muslims to be more self-critical. It is only empowering and emboldening radicals. Gerecht is also right in pointing out that we are not doing anything to empower or support the Muslim dissidents who bravely speak out against Jihad. Look at the totally passive and servile approach taken by the Obama administration to the unrest in Iran. The message was clear: you try to overthrow the mullahs and you are on your own. They might as well take the Statue of Liberty down, crate it up and ship it back to France. Even France is showing more spunk these days than the US

Juan Williams has had a long and distinguished career as a journalist for the Washington Post, as a news analyst at NPR and as the author of several best-selling books on the African-American civil rights movement. The attempt to silence him by the powers that be at NPR appears to arise from NPR's hatred of Fox News. Even Williams, a liberal, has been astonished that it has been liberals who have tried to silence and smear him while conservatives have stood up for him and defended his right to speak freely. And so another liberal is mugged by reality.

The last word goes to Juan Williams, who explains how he feels about the whole situation on the Fox News Network.


Gordon Hackman said...

I've been somewhat wary of NPR for some time now. I have listened to them with some regularity for years and many of their programs are well produced, enjoyable, and even thought-provoking. I have, however, come to believe for some time now that there is a danger in NPR.

The best way illustrate the danger is by comparing NPR to conservative talk radio. Much of conservative talk radio is openly one-sided in it's perspective, often hyperbolic, emotionally charged, and, in some cases, even hysterical or angry (think Michael Savage.) Most of the programming of NPR, by contrast, is delivered in an even-toned, reasonable, objective seeming manner, which, for many listeners, masks the possibility that a point of view is present. I do think that NPR is dominated by secular, left-wing views thought not out of any intentional conspiracy, but rather because those are the views that are simply the ambient intellectual atmosphere among our educated classes and cultural gatekeepers. As such, I think many people, including Christian friends and family members, listen to NPR and accept the viewpoints expressed through it as if they were objective and neutral, and are thus influenced by it's perspectives without realizing it. I still listen to it, but I try to listen with my critical faculties engaged concerning the assumptions behind the viewpoints being expressed or the way that facts are presented.

Craig Carter said...

I think your observations are astute. NPR's reasonable tone can very well deceive people into thinking that it is objective.

But Charles Krauthammer recently pointed out that the amazing thing is that even though the liberals/socialists have dominated the media for decades (it was even worse before Fox), the American people have not adopted their viewpoint and are still conservative by a 2:1 margin. This is a testimony to the ability of ordinary people to resist lies even when they are presented as the voice of reason and objectivity. (This drives liberals crazy, by the way!)

I am amazed that the liberals are so intent on shutting down Fox and conservative talk radio even though they control 80% of the media. They really don't like a clash of voices and opinions. They really would like no competition in the arena of ideas. Socialism seems to me to be inherently and irremediably totalitarian in character.

You can see this in the fact that they hated the fact that Juan Williams was on Fox even though he was there to represent their perspective. They don't want a debate or a conversation; they want to crush the opposition out of existence.