Thursday, February 12, 2009

NPR: Juan Williams' Opinions on FOX Just Too Far Right for Its Taste

NPR's Vice President of News, Ellen Weiss, has asked Juan Williams to ask that Fox remove his NPR identification whenever he is on The O'Reilly Factor, reports NPR ombudsman Alicia C. Shepard, even though NPR recognizes that Williams is a news analyst and is paid to voice opinions.

It seems that NPR listeners object to Williams opinions and want him off NPR.

The controversy started when Williams explained that Vice President Joe Biden could be a liability for President Obama. But so could his wife, Michelle, according to Weiss. Here is what was said on air:

"Michelle Obama, you know, she's got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going," said Williams. "If she starts talking, as Mary Katharine [Ham, a conservative blogger] is suggesting, her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross."

O'Reilly responded: "She's not going to do that."

Here is the video:

The remarks got him in hot water with management at NPR, as Shepard reports:

"Juan Williams is a contributor to NPR programs as a news analyst," said Ron Elving, NPR's Washington editor. "What he says on NPR is the product of a journalistic process that includes editors. What he says when he is not on our air is not within our control. But we recognize that what he says elsewhere reflects on NPR, and we have discussed that fact with him specifically in regard to his remarks on Fox News regarding Michelle Obama."

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