williamsapNPR Chief Executive Vivian Schiller isn't sorry about firing longtime news analyst Juan Williams last week, but now says she regrets how the network handled the episode.
Schiller, who has come under fire from conservatives, said that NPR still "stand[s] firmly behind" the decision to terminate Williams' contract after he commented about getting nervous when flying with passengers in Muslim garb. However, Schiller said that she regrets that she and other NPR managers "did not take the time to prepare our program partners and provide you with the tools to cope with the fallout from this episode." (Read Schiller's full memo here.)
Schiller said that the decision was "made to protect NPR's integrity and values as a news organization" and that Williams had been warned in the past to "avoid expressing strong personal opinions on controversial subjects in public settings, as that is inconsistent with his role as an NPR news analyst."
The abrupt dismissal has been a hot topic across the media world, with several more takes this weekend, including the Atlantic's James Fallows on "why NPR matters" and PressThink blogger and NYU professor Jay Rosen digging into NPR's definition of a "news analyst."
But NPR has probably taken the most lumps in recent days on Fox News—the cable news network where Williams made the controversial remark and just signed a $2 million contract to continue as an analyst. On Sunday, Fox's Brit Hume said that firing Williams for his comment—and not other NPR staffers expressing opinions—represents a "howling double standard."
"And I think it is simply this: that in the culture of NPR, appearing on Fox is a sin," Hume said on "Fox News Sunday." "And in the culture of NPR, for an African-American man like Juan, regardless of his extraordinary stature, to be there and be kind of a Bill Cosby liberal, not a down-the-line liberal, is a sin as well."
You can watch the "Fox News Sunday" segment with Williams and Hume below:
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