Thursday, October 21, 2010

POLITICO: Williams Defends His Statement About Muslims

Juan Williams was back on Fox today defending his statements concerning Muslims, the very statements that earned him a pink slip from his employer, NPR.

As reported by POLITICO's On Media blog:

Juan Williams took to Fox to discuss the circumstances of his firing today, saying it happened over the phone and he was given no chance to come in and make a case for himself to the news organization that had employed him for a decade.

He said he got a voicemail Wednesday afternoon from Ellen Weiss, NPR’s senior vice president for news. When he called back, she asked him: “What did you say? What did you mean?”

He defended his statements.

“I said what I meant to say, which is that it’s an honest experience that, when I’m in an airport, and I see people who are in Muslim garb, who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just a reality.”

Weiss said “that crosses the line,” and went on to say that he had made “a bigoted statement,” Williams said.

“It’s not a bigoted statement,” Williams said he argued back. “In fact, in the course of this conversation with Bill O’Reilly, I said that we have, as Americans, an obligation to be careful to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in the country. And to make sure we don’t have any outbreak of bigotry.

“But, that there’s a reality. You cannot ignore what happened on 9/11. And you cannot ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism. And you can’t ignore the fact of what has even been recently said in court with regard to ‘this is the first drop of blood in a Muslim war on America.’”

According to Williams, Weiss said the decision to fire him had been made “up the chain” and “there’s nothing you can say that will change my mind.”

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