Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams, NPR, Federal Funding

Just wondering...I've read several articles and heard differing media viewpoints about NPR's firing of Juan Williams for comments he made while on a Fox News program last week. I listen to NPR on a pretty regular basis and find that their journalistic approach to reporting is pretty "middle of the road". (That means that the left finds it too conservative and the right finds it too liberal.)

One of the funniest things (funny in a weird way, not a ha-ha way) that has come about from the firing of Williams is the sudden desire to punish NPR by cutting federal funding. This move, of course, comes by conservatives in the House. I wonder...if Williams had been fired for comments that he made on Rachel Maddow's show, would House liberals be crying to slash funding to NPR?

If Congress is looking for places to cut expenditures (and they should be), then let's cut expenditures because Congress doesn't need to be in the broadcast business...not because we don't like the decisions that are being made at NPR (like firing one of our buddies). Catering to the desires of Congressmen for federal dollars is the kind of corruption that has brought us to the disastrous debt and favor currying that dominates our political landscape today.

Is Congress sending the message, "If you want our federal funding then you'll hire the reporters that we want you to hire and report the news the way we want you to report it?" or are they really trying to cut spending?

As much as I like NPR, I'd be all for cutting federal funding along with a host of other budget items that could be cut to reduce the budget. But let's face it--calling for the cuts as a punitive measure just goes to show that Congressmen are acting like bullies that abuse their power to get their own way.

For the record, I think that NPR's firing of Williams for his comments was an overreaction. Obviously, it seems there was more to the firing than his most recent comments and he would have had to make a choice sooner or later--Fox News or NPR. Like so many other employers, NPR apparently couldn't just go to him and say that you no longer fit what we are looking for in a reporter/employee. Simple honesty in relationships doesn't seem to have much of a place in the employer/employee venue these days.

So what do you think...or do you even care?



Bilbo said...

I think the firing of Mr Williams was an appalling overreaction to his remarks (which are no more and no less than what many of us wish we could say out loud, anyhow). But more worrisome is the immediate rush to use the incident as an excuse to cut NPR funding. I listen to NPR regularly (and agree with John's assessment that it's relatively middle-of-the-road), and absolutely hate their hard-sell fund raising weeks...but should they receive Federal funding? Probably not. Not because of what they say or how they lean politically, but because the government shouldn't be funding them anyhow, and because they are being used as a convenient excuse to make a budgetary decision Congress is too spineless to make on its own. I have more thoughts on the subject, but can vent them in my own blog and leave the space here for others.

Mike said...

It was an over reaction.

And there are a lot better places to cut than NPR. How about the farm subsidy program. (the 'we'll pay you to not grow anything' program)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sorry to see him go--can't stand to listen to him.

Following "I am not a bigot" with "but let me say something demonstrating my ignorance and bigotry" was appalling. This, on top of the egregious sexual harassment issues he had at WaPo--who wants this guy in the workplace anyway.

Cash your checks, Juan. But you've still got issues.


Bandit said...

This all started last week when Bill O'REALLY! made statements on "The View" causing some of the ladies to walk off the stage. From that, both sides tried to make their case on who was right. Juan got caught up seemingly being on Bill's side.
I'm sick of it all! To me this whole political atmosphere is no different than a couple of 8 year olds arguing on the playground. I'm right, your're wrong. then get others to agree with your point of view.