Just a quick observation about NPR’s decision to terminate Juan Williams after he expressed his fear of Muslims on airplanes during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
To me, Williams was clearly a victim of Rick Sanchez syndrome. That is, Williams was not an asset to NPR, and management was probably happy to stumble upon an excuse to get rid of him. Williams is a supremely uninteresting occasional commentator who will not be missed. What he said was offensive, but if he were a star he’d have been let off with a suspension and an apology.
I’ll add that many people hold the views that Williams expressed. That’s not an excuse. But if NPR hadn’t acted so precipitously, and if Williams were up to the task, Williams might have helped lead a national conversation on the Islamophobia that now pervades this country.
NPR made a mistake in firing Williams, but he should have quietly been let go a long time ago.