Juan Williams, Lawn Jockeys, and the Clarence Thomas Rule

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Slate's Will Saletan echoes Matt Welch, and also makes a convincing argument that the Juan Williams fiasco bears a resemblance to the Shirley Sherrod debacle—as with Sherrod, partisans took video of Williams talking about overcoming his own biases deliberately out of context to make him look like a bigot.*

Meanwhile, over at the "glibertarian"-baiting Balloon Juice blog, in a post defending NPR for firing Williams over insensitive comments, "business and economics editor" DougJ calls Williams a lawn jockey,with no apparent sense of irony. He later added a strike-through and changed the insult to stooge, but it's clear from his responses in the comments thread (at least as of this writing) that he isn't particularly apologetic about his initial choice of words.

More interesting, DougJ's post defends NPR's actions not just because of Williams' comments about Muslims, but because in DougJ's opinion, Williams' political views are too conservative for Williams' race and NPR affiliation, thus giving black-guy-from-NPR-approved cover for the Fox News hate machine.* Hence, "lawn jockey."

Which brings me to the Clarence Thomas Rule.* It goes something like this: When a black person expresses views that liberal elites have deemed unacceptable for black people to hold, it is permissible for good liberals to respond by implying that said black person is either too stupid or too corrupt to think for himself, and to then call that black person racist names. In fact, not only are both responses permissible and not racist, they are a recommended way of displaying your open-mindedness.

(*Obligatory disclaimers: I defended Shirley Sherrod from what I thought was a shameless smear. I find much of Fox News unwatchable (and MSNBC, for that matter). I think the Williams firing was ridiculous, but I also disagree with Williams on a host of issues, including some of the opinions he expressed on that particular episode of O'Reilly. I think Clarence Thomas has ruled correctly on some issues in his time as a Supreme Court justice, incorrectly on others. I do not think that he is stupid.)

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  1. WTF disclaimers? Even here you have to specify that talking about e.g. Fox News in less than drippingly hateful terms doesn’t imply that you worship at the grave of Robert Byrd? We’re all screwed…

  2. “Williams’ political views are too conservative for Williams’ race and NPR affiliation, thus giving black-guy-from-NPR-approved cover for the Fox News hate machine”

    That’s a strange view considering that Williams is supposed to be the liberal on most Fox shows he was on.

    As a part owner of NPR I think firing Williams is stupid. His comments are taken out of context, but even so they simply express a feeling many Americans have.

    However, I think it’s easy to understand the firing from this perspective: media outlets are terrified of offending groups, first because of accusations of bigotry, and second because, well, groups by definition have lots of viewers/listeners in them. I could see a private agency, regardless of its ideological bent, dropping someone for something like this. I’d find it lamentable then too though…

    1. I’ve heard Williams speak on NPR and never once have I assumed he was a conservative.

      1. He’s not a Conservative.

        He’s just a particularly honest and fair-minded progressive.

      2. He’s fraternizes with the enemy. He’s a winger-lover.

        1. Does that mean he only gives oral sex to rats?

    2. No, they are only terrified of offending leftist minorities (not rightwinged or libertarian minorities), and muslims.

    3. media outlets are terrified of offending groups

      Really? Have you watched or listended to Savage, Glenn “apocalypse now” Beck, Maddocow, Olberdoodle, Ed “I think I shit my pants” Schultz, O’Really, Rimjob….

      Cable and radio media outlets love this shit. Why do you think Ailes had a contract at 9am this morning. Because FN is a business that recognizes as revenue potential and NPR is a publicly funded shit stain.

      1. Yeah. MSNBC especially, which promotes itself as a legitimate cable-news organization, is on the attack 24/7, the climax of every hate-filled day being the Olbermann/Maddow Axis.

    4. As a part owner of NPR, I’d like to sell my shares, please.

      1. i keep trying to short mine but the govt always covers. f’ing b.s.

    5. MNG,

      Williams *was* the liberalish one on Fox. Balko’s comment goes to the point that Fox doesn’t exactly choose extreme lefties to provide their “balance”.

      1. You most not seen some of the other liberals Fox lets on. Ever witnessed Bob Beckel? What about that Colmes guy? Sheesh. It behooves Fox to let liberal nuts on their shows, because it shows what they really are like, and that’s why people watch Fox.

      2. Which is actually kind of odd, considering that it would be so much easier for them to portray lefties as inseane zealots by hiring an actual socialist to represent them.

    6. It’s not a strange comment when you take into acocunt that the commenter in question probably considers it treason to the liberal cause even to appear on FOX.

  3. It’s interesting to me how those who attack Thomas for not thinking like “his kind” should seem a lot like those conservatives who attack rich people like Soros/Buffett etc., who espouse liberal economic views…

    1. When exactly have you heard conservatives attack Soros or Buffett by saying that “as rich people, they’re betraying their class by be liberal?”

      I’ve heard them be attacked for having liberal economic views, but I’ve never heard conservatives argue that “rich people ought to be conservative.” Indeed, I’ve often heard conservatives try to claim that the super rich tend to be liberal, because taxes don’t mean much to them, they can afford big government, they want to make it harder for other people to become rich like them, rich people like big government because they can get it to favor them, etc. Instead, conservatives try to emphasize small business owners, etc. They tend to overstate the case about how many of the rich are liberal, but in general conservatives try to run away from the “rich == conservative” stereotype, not towards it.

      I don’t see how the cases are comparable.

      1. You’ve never heard them attacked for “biting the hand that fed them?” Because that’s happened on this very site mucho times.

        1. I must admit to being bemused that someone savvy enough to amass a lot of wealth would not know enough about economics to disavow liberalism.

          I don’t know that I’ve ever attacked them for their ability to live with such heaping doses of cognitive dissonance, though.

          1. Soros makes quite a bit of his wealth from things like currency arbitrage and market displacements that are a result of government interventions. It’s precisely because he’s not under any pretentions about the freeness of various markets that he’s able to amass such wealth. If we ever moved to a system with less government subsidization of business and sound currency, he would lose his crystal ball.

          2. I have attacked wealthy liberals for using their politics as a means of distracting attention from their own wealth while pointing the finger of redistribution at others (e.g., wealthy, multimillionaire Hollywood producers and movie stars complaining about greed on Wall Street). I have attacked wealthy liberals for having a personal interest in using government spending and contracts as a means of perpetuating and increasing their wealth. But I do not recall declaring them “traitors to their class.”

            In fact, as I recall, that is a liberal conceit used by people like Paul Krugman to praise men like FDR, who were wealthy yet liberal. It has never been a conservative argument.

            1. Oh, I almost forgot…I attack wealthy liberals for wanting to raise my taxes while creating tax breaks for themselves or finding tax avoidance schemes that the rest of us do not have. Can you say, “Charles Rangel?” “Timothy Geithner?”

              But that has nothing to do with being “traitors to their class.” That’s simply being a bastard.

        2. Soros and Buffet are rich because of government largess.

          I expect them to be left wing statists.

          I don’t understand why Google founders are not libertarians….but I don’t understand why a ton of people of all economic shades are not.

        3. I’ve heard libertarians and conservatives attacked by liberals for “biting the hand that feeds them” for not properly appreciating all the tremendous value that government does for them and made their wealth possible.

          I’ve heard “biting the hand that feeds them” applied to antiwar protestors or anti-ROTC advocates at university who don’t appreciate what our military does, etc.

          “Biting the hand that feeds them” is a universal complaint in politics, ranking right up there with insinuations of being anti-American, another thing practiced equally. And it’s not the same sort of thing as breaking group loyalty with a minority group.

          Conservatives and libertarians in general are NOT billionaires, and do not view Soros and Buffett as “one of us betraying ourselves” in the way that you allege about Justice Thomas.

          1. I’ve heard “biting the hand that feeds them” applied to immigrants that people think should be more grateful for coming here instead of asking for more welfare. (Again, all these things are in the viewpoint of people doing the criticizing.)

        4. More generally, libertarians will attack *anyone* in a mostly capitalism country who opposes capitalism for “biting the hand that feeds them,” because capitalism has made them better off than socialism would. And conservatives will attack *any* American similarly, because America is the greatest country in the world and has given them so many advantages.

        5. Was it conservatives that did it, or people on this site? You’ve accused both. The two groups have minimal overlap on a Venn diagram.

    2. I attack soros for his methods and his history within the market. Soros is also a slippery fuck when it comes to his policies. Devalue the dollar more we need it, and I can make a fortune off it. Nothing like rent seeking at the leveraged expense of the American public.

      Buffet is just a marketing machine and a liar to keep his image up, which is now what a significant portion of BRK-A is about. He trades, he owns more than simple house, he owns a fleet of private jets… he isn’t the little thrifty old man he likes to portray himself as.

      And yes the do bite the hand that fed them since most of their actions within government are rent seeking actions dressed up as philanthropic endeavors. They don’t like free markets since you have no advantage. But a market where you can influence policy, now that’s a place to hang your hat when you’re a billionaire.

    3. I know you’ve already been taken to task, but a point that hasn’t been made yet is that you’re failing to distinguish between the fact that even when wealthy people are attacked for their economic policy ideas, it’s not something inherent to the wealthy person. It’s not like George Soros is genetically wealthy.

      But there are people who think Clarence Thomas should think, vote, act, and make judicial decisions based solely on the color of his skin. That’s a far, far cry from suggesting that people who are wealthy should understand economics better than to be liberal.

    4. Great argument! When I don’t like Buffet because he wants to increase my taxes or increase the size and power of the federal government, that is exactly like some sancitmonious libereal dbag using racist slurs on Clarence Thomas. Therefore, it is OK to use racist slurs when referring to Clarence Thomas. Yee Haaa! Your logic skills kick ass.

  4. I’ll take a drive to
    Beverly Hills!
    Just before dawn
    And knock the little jockeys
    Off the rich people’s lawns
    And before they get up
    I’ll be gone

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y72cWf59Alo

  5. Well said, Radley. Perhaps this will present a new opportunity to shed light on some of the hypocrisy of the left, after all these years, in attempting to “own” the black vote.

  6. If you ask black people why they hate Thomas they will say that he pushes policies that harm black people and provides a black face that those who advocate such policies can use for “cover”. They think of himself as a useful idiot at best…

    1. Think of him, not “himself”

      Sheesh it’s late…

      1. Such a thing? A lot of black people wanted him on the court because he is black. They didn’t care about the Anita Hill shit or the abortion crap. The “Uncle Tom” business is simple white-liberal instigated racism.

        1. Yeah dudes, all black people love Clarence Thomas. Only white liberals hate him…

          1. Nobody ever talks about how the judge killed all of them sheep outside of Elko before he was The Judge.

          2. Yeah MNG, all black people hate Clarence Thomas. All blacks same!

            1. Not all, just most. The last poll I saw (which was years ago I admit) had Thomas favorable among blacks at around 30%.

              1. I bet that number approaches 90% of you tell them he’s a black man on the Supreme Court and don’t tell them he’s conservative. This assuming a shit ton of people of all races have no idea who he is because they don’t follow politics.

              2. The peckerwoods power-boys are doing the polling.

            2. There was an article in, as I recall, Ebony magazine a while back, about black people that all the other black people would like to “give back”. One was Clarence Thomas. The editors and publishers of Ebony essentially said, in just about so many words, that Thomas was a betrayer to his race and they did not want to be associated with him as a black person. One of the reasons they gave was that he tended to rule against things that Democrats were in favor of.

              So yeah, a lot of black people don’t like Thomas because they perceive him as being a race betrayer. And I have heard on the radio and read on line plenty of black people calling him an Uncle Tom.

              It’s pretty despicable, really.

          3. Didn’t say all, you twit. But all peckerwood liberal-progressives, that’s closer to true.

      2. Ahhh…it’s gotta do a Klanner’s heart good to see the term “race traitor” resurrected.

    2. If you ask black people why they hate Thomas

      Never heard anyone other that smug prog crackers say that they hate Thomas.

      they will say that he pushes policies that harm black people

      And just what policies would those be?
      You mean like gun control? So only the cops and crooks are armed?

      Or do you mean the liberal plantation system that public education has become?

      1. You forgot Thomas’ comment on the Kelo decision about it being about “Negro clearance” or some such.

        1. Did he say that during arguments? That would be something. My assumption is that he said it after the fact when it was too late to mention to his liberal counterparts on the Court in front of everyone perhaps influencing their decision. That’s my problem with Thomas. Opening your mouth sometimes hurts you, but always keeping it shut can hurt everyone, considering his job.

    3. So what you’re saying is that it isn’t very much like Soros or Buffett at all, contrary to your previous comment. Why exactly do policies need a billionaire for “cover?” Is “this must must be good, all the super rich love it” really a winning political strategy?

      Most politicos spend time trying to convince you that the rich interests oppose them.

      1. Liberals like to point out rich entrepenuers who advocate that the rich need to pay more taxes because it seems to them to say “see, even the rich themselves acnowledge how right this is!” Ditto conservatives with Thomas, Connerly etc. “See, even this black guy says…”

        1. Actually, I have never heard any conservative use that argument.

          1. I heard it recently, only sans Thomas and add Bill Cosby.

        2. I’d have to agree, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone credible say this. I have seen credible people on the liberal side trot out buffet to argue for more taxes and so on. The old secretary meme.

          1. I guess I fit your scenario somewhat, MNG. I do hate rich people who argue for more taxes. Why? Because it always comes across as “now that I’m rich, you little people can up and fucking pay.”

            They remind me of (when Central Florida was a high growth area) the people who had moved here in the past year, but were now fighting against “rampant growth”. Of course – you’ve already bought your fucking house, what do you care about anyone else?

            1. And this is what black people who hate Thomas say: now that he has benefited from civil rights he wants to cut it off for other blacks.

              I’m not commenting on how “true” it is, that is the claim and it’s similar to yours (nice it only took about two posts after the “I don’t think anyone would say that” comments for someone to say that, jesus some of you guys don’t pay much attention to your own movement sometimes, “living in the fishbowl” I guess).

              1. What “civil rights” does he want to cut off to blacks?

    4. If you ask most black people why they hate Thomas they will look at you blankly for a second and then say ‘Thomas who?’ If you say Clarence Thomas, chances are they’ll say ‘I don’t know no Clarence Thomas’.

      What? That’s what’ll happen.

      The few that MNG talks about can be stymied in a similar fashion. After they say that he pushes policies that harm black people ask them which ones. That’s when you’ll get that uncomprehending stare from most of these.

      Most black people don’t give a damn who Clarence Thomas is. Of the ones that do, most are parroting the Dem party line.

      That’s just how it is.

      Oh, probably none of them think of him as a ‘useful idiot’….the term is not in their lexicon.

    5. If you ask black people why they hate Thomas they will say that he pushes policies that harm black people and provides a black face that those who advocate such policies can use for “cover”. They think of himself as a useful idiot at best…

      And then if you ask them to name those “policies” or explain a ruling he made, you would see who the “useful idiot” truly is.

      The majority of people, black or white, hold many views simply because they heard others praise or demonize the subject.

  7. Waiting for Tony to weigh in with a scolding lecture on Political Correctness.

    1. He already did so on a previous thread.

  8. Racism from collectivists who think that the color of your skin should determine your views? I can’t believe it! Collectivists…being racist? It’s un-possible!

    1. I don’t think it is so much thinking the color of one’s skin determining how they think. They see the guy as taking active part in harming their community…

      Talk to black people about him and they will say this…It’s not unusual for embattled minorities to feel this way about members who seem to support policies that community tends to oppose.

      1. Everything you just said is completely mired in collectivism (repeated mentions of “community” based solely on skin color), so doesn’t it completely reinforce my point?

      2. I have not talked to a single black person who thought Thomas was intentionally trying to harm blacks. At most they disagreed with his political views, without any personal rancor.

        1. I had a group of friends who all agreed that Thomas was an “Uncle Tom”.

          That kind of reaction is by no means specific to any particular race, of course. That kind of charge–different shades of “treason”–is leveled at just about anybody who goes against the groupthink…especially in a political context.

          White Supremacists call them “race traitors”, Asian people used to sometimes call people “bananas” for being “yellow on the outside, but white on the inside”… “Rockefeller Republican” kinda has that shade of “treason” too.

          1. the correct term is “twinky”, you cauky.

          2. Jews call such people “kapos”. Let’s not pretend, though, that there isn’t another side of the coin: certain groups like to adopt minority members as pets whose value extends only to their minority status, which provides plausible deniability to charges of bigotry or whatever.

      3. Rev Wright lives in a gated community with a bunch of White people, does this exclude him from the ever elusive Black community?

        Or is it only if a Black man dares think for himself he is considered a house negro like Clarence Thomas is.

        The NPR bitch just walked into the fields and wrongly accused Juan Williams of raping her and then lynched him yet I hear nothing from the ever elusive Black community of which Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been appointed to speak by White liberals in legacy media.

        However, it is fucking bizarre the so called Black community don’t see progressives for the overt and covert racism that progressivism has represented since the days of Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger.

        Too bad some clever journalist will never ask someone like Obama how the fuck Blacks disproportionately aborting themselves in comparison to other races gives Blacks a voice in a democratic republic. Oh wait…never mind! Blacks have Obama, Jesse, and Al to keep them poor Blacks in the fields far away from the house.

        How dare that fucking Juan Williams unshackle his chains and voice his opinion unapproved by White progressives.

        1. Rev Wright lives in a gated community with a bunch of White people, does this exclude him from the ever elusive Black community?

          Nahh! The black “Community” doesn’t want their car stereos stolen either!

        2. You are repeating the same collectivist and groupthink fallacy you are arguing against with your comment on abortion, writing of it as if it is a choice to be made by “the community” rather than each individual.

          1. No I’m not. I’m simply pointing out the irony of every vote counting in a democratic republic and the disproportionate number of abortions by Blacks compared to other races.

            Even the Black Community’s official speaker (as appointed by White progressives in legacy media) the Rev Jesse Jackson was pro-life before he ran for the presidency and flip flopped on the issue.

  9. Disgraceful decision by NPR. As others have noted, they took Williams’ comments out of context and used that as a cover for his termination. And it doesn’t even make sense; Matt W’s observation re: being Islamophobic vs. expressing it explicitly was spot on.

    Time for NPR to drop the facade and go private.

  10. People who feign indignation over lying are lazy. They are just appalled that someone actually expects them to put some effort into discovering the truth.

    1. What would that truth be?

      1. What would that truth be?

        Tsk. Tsk. Just another Libertarian asking for a hand out.

        1. Just another liberal being obtuse.

        2. Shit….Is this the real fatman….deigning to grace us with his presence?

    2. What does this even mean?

      D-level trolling. The only reason you didn’t get an F is that you’re so obtuse I can’t tell how stupid you are yet.

      1. Where do you get the silly idea that you are qualified to pass out grades?

        https://reason.com/blog/

        That’s not exactly a convincing argument, and not only because it’s the real-world actualization of liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias’s defense of lying in the name of some greater political good.

        1. Did Mr. Rosen offend you? Tell me on the insecure doll where he touched you, Matthew.

          1. If I told you I would have to lie to you and we all know how much you hate that.

            1. I bet it was the inflated ego. It’s okay Matthew, we’re here for you.

              Jack Stuef already made it through our world-reknowned insecurity rehab (but has already fallen off the wagon, sadly).

        2. OK, that response just moved you to an F. Congratulations.

          1. Tony, you are not fooling anybody. Nobody is going to buy the idea that Episiarch is going to lame shit up by missing an obvious joke, or by mistaking a Mathew Yglesias paraphrase designed to make MY spoof his original for the common variety trolling you do every day. We know you have a hard on for Mathew and his latest fuck up must hurt you ever so much, but to post under Episiarch’s name to give your bullshit authority it could not possibly achieve on its own makes you a mendacious fuck.

          2. Shit, remove the MY spoof from the above post, it flows better.

            Another thing Tony, you think you fooled us with that copy and paste job so in that sense you successfully got the Episiarch tone, but what you didn’t know, turdface, is that those two quotes were originally aimed at me. In that context they were pretty good, but here, they are just dumb. Even when you use other people’s material you come across as a retard.

            1. Tony? Stick with calling him Pissarch, anonopussy.

              1. Let me be clear because there is a lot of stupid going on and it ain’t me, babe. IT WASN’T FUCKING TROLLING UNTIL YOU IDIOTS RESPONDED!

                I clearly represented this as a derogatory opinion of Mathew Yglesias from the start, you homos. What the fuck is wrong with you ignorant jackasses?

                How could you possibly interpret People who feign indignation over lying are lazy. They are just appalled that someone actually expects them to put some effort into discovering the truth. as anything but a joke?

                It’s like you all jumped in to a big nekad pile of stupid. You need to get away from one another for a dew weeks so you can see the daylight, you fucking head up your asses inbred witless troglydites.

              2. Warty|10.22.10 @ 1:41PM|#

                Tony? Stick with calling him Pissarch, anonopussy.

                That is a reflection on the stupid shit that goes on in this forum. I am not about to give out info a potential client can find with ease on here. Some of us have professional lives that need protecting. I know that may come as a suprise to a slack jaw fuck like you, but it is what it is, and if you don’t like it, well, I don’t fucking care if you live or die.

    3. Great post, Yglesias!

      I know how much you value lies.

  11. In fairness a lot of the “Thomas is stupid meme” originated in what was saw as his lack of qualifications and the fact that he doesn’t speak much at oral arguments. Both were pretty bad/strange.

    However, those who have kept that meme going far past it became more and more evident that Thomas was a sharp justice with his own fairly well defined jurisprudence have less excuse.

    1. As I’ve understood it he doesn’t speak because he puts the weight of his argument on the documents. I’ve seen more than one source say the guy reads all the paper work (which has to be a shit ton) cover to cover and makes his decision based on this.

    2. MNG shouldn’t we just pull the race card and call it a day? All this thinking is making my liberal brain hurt.

  12. It’s not racist if you don’t like the person.

  13. Which brings me to the Clarence Thomas Rule.* It goes something like this: When a black person expresses views that liberal elites have deemed unacceptable for black people to hold, it is permissible for good liberals to respond by implying that said black person is either too stupid or too corrupt to think for himself, and to then call that black person racist names. In fact, not only are both responses permissible and not racist, they are a recommended way of displaying your open-mindedness.

    I’ll send you the bill for my keyboard you ruined via orange juice sprayage, Radley.

    +1

  14. Very well said, Radley.

    You shall never work at NPR.

  15. I think Clarence Thomas has ruled correctly on some issues in his time as a Supreme Court justice, incorrectly on others.

    Thomas is the best justice on the Supreme Court. The bar is set pretty low….still he is the best.

    In other news the republicans are mumbling about defunding NPR. i listen to NPR a lot….and i think stopping all federal funding to NPR would be great.

    1. I agree, defunding NPR would be great.

    2. +1

      If they published the per-member difference they would have to raise in order to make up the difference, I would probably pay it.

  16. I don’t care who NPR hires or fires and why.

    …as long as they’re not using my money, what difference should it make to me?

    1. P.S. Yeah, I know. That’s what makes it funny.

  17. “Slate’s Will Saletan echoes Matt Welch, and also makes a convincing argument that the Juan Williams fiasco bears a resemblance to the Shirley Sherrod debacle…”

    I hate to beat a dead horse here, but if this debacle resembles anything we’re all familiar with–it’s the Weigel faux pas.

    The Post hired Weigel to cover the Tea Party, and after evidence of him apparently disparaging the Tea Party went public, it would have been really hard to sell his credibility under their masthead without compromising their own journalistic integrity. Whether the Washington Post’s journalistic integrity is something you or I think was compromised is completely beside the point–it’s what his employer thought about what was best for their own integrity that mattered.

    This Juan Williams deal is the same thing. How does a guy that’s come out as saying that he’s personally afraid of Muslims cover issues involving Muslims without compromising whatever standard of integrity NPR wants to project?

    If it wasn’t for it being a publicly funded institution, I wouldn’t give a damn either way about who hires or fires Juan Williams. Indeed, one of my standard complaints about publicly funded institutions is that they don’t fire people for not working in the institution’s best interest… If managing that isn’t a management issue, then what is management for?

    What the various reactions to this tells us about NPR and all the people elsewhere in the media commenting on this is interesting though. But I don’t see this as a free speech issue or a bias issue at NPR.

    I don’t care if NPR is biased, really. I don’t care if anybody else is biased either.

    1. I don’t care if NPR is biased, really. I don’t care if anybody else is biased either.

      I want to be that way and sometimes i am…but i slip.

      The minutia and intensity of this stuff often carries me away.

      At least for me it is hard to meet that standard.

      1. “I want to be that way and sometimes i am…but i slip.

        The minutia and intensity of this stuff often carries me away.

        At least for me it is hard to meet that standard.”

        We all have a human tendency to assume that if everybody knew everything we knew–they’d all come to the same conclusions we did.

        And that just isn’t so.

        I talk to creationists like that sometimes–they’re convinced that if scientists told the truth, they’d see that creationism was just as scientific as evolution.

        I think that kind of thinking is behind the Fox News/NPR legions too. Each of those outlets have legions of enthusiasts who are absolutely certain that their news outlet is “fair and balanced” or “objective”–and both legions seem to be equally convinced that if the other side just listened to the truth…

        I know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who think that everyone would be Republican if only they just stopped listening to NPR and started watching Fox News.

        I know there are hundreds of thousands of NPR listeners out there who are convinced that if people just stopped watching Fox News, then they’d stop being so Republican.

        And that just isn’t so.

        I think that’s got it completely backwards. I’m not a libertarian because I hang out at Hit & Run; I hang out at Hit & Run becasue I’m a libertarian.

    2. How does a guy that’s come out as saying that he’s personally afraid of Muslims cover issues involving Muslims

      Except that’s not what he said.

      1. You’re right. It was worse.

        “But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

        He’s supposed to cover issues involving people who make him nervous because of what their clothing supposedly says about them…and he’s supposed to cover them objectively?!

        How do you think NPR’s Muslim listeners feel about being covered by someone who they make nervous becasue of what they wear and what he thinks that says about them?

        This isn’t a civil rights issue. If you do something that makes it harder for your employer to employ you–you can get fired. That’s part of what makes America great.

        The guy taking orders at McDonalds better not say not anything to offend any of the customers–if he does, then his employer probably should fire him. It’s the same principle here.

        Juan Williams needed to go be a pundit somewhere, where they make those kinds of statements–’cause that’s how they satisfy their customers. And that’s what he did! He’s going to the fear-mongering capital of the journalistic universe…

        And just for the record, any journalist that wants to work for NPR covering gay issues? You might want to make it a point not to say anything stupid about gay people or straight people. You should probably watch what you say about Mormons…and about a hundred other things.

        NPR shouldn’t have any obligation to keep anybody on their staff who they think compromises their journalistic integrity–again, regardless of whether that’s important to you or me.

  18. What the Weigel e-mails revealed was he is willing to lie to advance a political agenda as he stated point blank concerning ObamaCare. Williams problem is not a willingness to lie, but instead one of being more frank than his employer states (absolutely no reason to trust the excuse they gave) they will allow. As for How does a guy that’s come out as saying that he’s personally afraid of Muslims cover issues involving Muslims without compromising whatever standard of integrity NPR wants to project? that is not a really a journalistic problem. Journalist have to deal with people that scare them if they really want to report on the more hard hitting of stories as Hunter Thompson found out when he wrote a book on the Hell’s Angels.

    1. It’s the same question though!

      1) How do you cover the Tea Party under the Post’s masthead after you’ve called them “rat-fuckers” without compromising the Post’s reputation for objectivity?

      2) How do you cover Muslim issues for an outlet like NPR after you’ve come and said you yourself are afraid of Muslims. Did he suggest that their clothing shows contempt for American culture?

      3) Hunter S. Thompson writing about the Hell’s Angels, and a myriad of other subjects–while inventing Gonzo journalism and immersing himself into the story? That isn’t what the Washington Post or NPR’s about.

      Nobody picks up Rolling Stone, The Nation or Sports Illustrated for the unbiased journalistic integrity. Again, whether we think a reputation for unbiased reporting is important for the Washington Post or NPR is beside the point…

      That’s a reputation they think they have that sells papers and makes people tune in to their radio stations. And if Hunter S. Thompson had gone on national television and told everyone that he was afraid of Muslims? It’s highly unlikely NPR (or the Washington Post) would keep him employed to cover issues involving Muslims.

      In a well run company, people who do things that make it so they can’t do their jobs so well? Get canned. Government institutions? Not so much.

      That’s one of the biggest reasons why government institutions are so full of fail.

      1. 1) How do you cover the Tea Party under the Post’s masthead after you’ve called them “rat-fuckers” without compromising the Post’s reputation for objectivity?

        If that was all that was there I doubt if he would have got fired. He also admitted to messaging the facts to distort the Obamacare debate. You cover people you don’t like all the time as a journalist. How would the Wash Post, New York Times or any other outlet been able to ever report on or interview Jesse Helms back in the day if that wasn’t the case?

        2) How do you cover Muslim issues for an outlet like NPR after you’ve come and said you yourself are afraid of Muslims. Did he suggest that their clothing shows contempt for American culture?

        So he was frank about it. Truth being it is similar to what Joseph Sobran said, ‘when I watch a show on the nature channel, I instinctively root for the mammal over the reptile.’ In all honesty, I doubt if very many people who are accustomed to Western style apparel likes to see people in more native garb. If a Navajo wearing a warriors loincloth is out of place in the middle of an urban street, than a burqa is at least doubly so.

        I could give examples from my own background a generation or so removed to what would be inappropriate in a modern setting, but the purpose of this persona is to avoid the personal and engage strictly in debate, so I wont do that specifically. Only to say, most Westerners would smile in derision if they saw, say my late grandmother back a few decades ago, dressed for a religious holiday on the street, and for good reason, it looks funny by our standards so it was only worn ceremoniously in the home.

        Juan Williams has no reason to hide how he feels about the matter. It is a terrible reason to fire someone because they are a product of their environment even when the sentiments and prejudices that come from that place are not acted on. Ultimately, it is a greater intolerance than that pointed to by the advocates of self styled identity politics intolerance to do so.

        3) Hunter S. Thompson writing about the Hell’s Angels, and a myriad of other subjects–while inventing Gonzo journalism and immersing himself into the story? That isn’t what the Washington Post or NPR’s about.

        If you are looking for ways that that example constrains the argument, you are engaging in a futile effort. This isn’t an all encompassing mathematical proof here, but just the most glaring example.
        My first answer essentially deals with this so I wont elaborate that point.

      2. “How do you cover Muslim issues for an outlet like NPR after you’ve come and said you yourself are afraid of Muslims.”

        But he’s not afraid of Muslims. He’s been clear on that point. He’s afraid of the tiny majority of Muslims who might want to crash or blow up the plane he’s on. He knows that very few actually have that desire, but he doesn’t know specifically which ones are the exceptions and so his brain goes to the weird place sometimes. I thought the McVeigh point he made drove that home. This would indeed be a problem if because of these thoughts he decided that Muslims had to have all manner of rights taken away from them just to be safe. Or that because of this it’s okay to personally discriminate against them. But Williams explicitly argued just the opposite.

        Someone whose brain goes to the paranoid place when a Muslim steps on the plane he’s on has nothing to apologize for, if he consciously recognizes that it’s very likely a silly concern. And even more so if he then advocates legal and cultural standards that treats Muslims equally as any and everyone else.

        A man who never has any irrational thoughts is a sociopath and a man who acts on all of his irrational thoughts is a lunatic. A man who has irrational thoughts and then discards them without doing any actual harm is what we like to call: normal.

        1. Exactly. And it appeared to me that he was uncomfortable with himself for even having those thoughts and made it abundantly clear later that we must not base policy on those thoughts.

          I think it is much more human and convincing when someone is able to admit that he has thoughts that probably aren’t justifiable and definitely shouldn’t be acted upon than it is when someone wants to pretend that all of his thoughts are pure because that just isn’t believable.

        2. I am a white guy, and I know its irrational, but I often fear white guys who are Christian fundamentalists.

          1. Yeah especially ‘Christian’ fundies like McVeigh proclaiming things like “science is my religion”.

          2. No shit. Some of those fucking whiteys are the scariest folks out there.

            1. Indeed! Especially those religious people who’s religious wars have killed tens of thousands.

              And don’t get me started on those uncompassionate religious fucks who oppose the ban on DDT just because tens of millions of children died of Malaria. These fucking knuckle draggers don’t seem to understand that if we don’t save the planet then tens of millions MIGHT die as a result.

              I’m sick of them fuckers who oppose centrally planned science based social engineering just because tens of millions died under it last century.

              I’m sick and tired of those knuckle dragging fuckers who don’t understand Friedman’s longing for science based dictatorship to save the planet because I care that tens of millions might die if we don’t.

              And fuck those genetically modified seeds that can grow food in drought conditions and will prevent tens of millions from dying of starvation, we all know some evil capitalist fucker is making money on that shit and those genetically altered foods could POSSIBLY kill tens of millions.

              I’m a compassionate progressive who understands that the world is over populated and if we don’t rid ourselves of billions of human beings that are destroying this planet then millions could POSSIBLY die as a result of our failure to sustain development.

          3. Fear might not be rational, but it is always a good idea to keep an eye on people who are sure they know what God wants.

        3. “But he’s not afraid of Muslims. He’s been clear on that point.”

          “But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

          What Muslims wear tells Juan Williams something about Muslims that makes him nervous?

          You know what I think?

          I think Juan Williams played NPR and Fox News’ watchers like fiddle.

          Do I have any proof of that?

          No.

          But was NPR’s reaction predictable?

          Absolutely.

          Was the reaction of Fox News’ watchers predictable?

          Like the sunrise.

          Now poor Juan Williams just got a new $2 million contract from Fox…

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10…..liams.html

          I’m glad I’m not any part of that equation. I’d hate to think Juan Williams or Fox News took it for granted that I’d jump whenever they told me to. That would make me sick.

      3. Juan Williams wasn’t employed at NPR to cover Muslim issues.

  19. Thread jack.

    Harry Ried on Ed “I think I shit my pants.” Schultz show, “But For Me, We’d Be in World-Wide Depression.”

    Wait what?

    1. Everything he says, is TRUE.

  20. I think it’s crazy to compare this to the Sherrod incident. You can argue that Sherrod was taken out of context with the “you need a white lawyer and I can’t help you” stuff, but it doesn’t change the fact that what Sherrod did was racist. Maybe she figured it out later and saw the error of her ways (which was part of the context), and if so great, but she basically told a story about how she was a racist to white people.

    Juan Williams didn’t tell Americans to act like him around muslims at the airport. He didn’t say people have a good reason to be scared of muslims. He was making the point that despite the fact that he felt nervous around muslims acting all muslimey at an airport was no reason to think that all muslims are terrorists. Which is a logical and reasonable point. It isn’t racist, and the reason he feels that way is because “extremist” muslims successfully scared the shit of America almost a decade ago.

    This isn’t even remotely comparable to the Sherrod incident, and it’s insulting to compare the two.

    1. I disagree. Sherrod was relating a story about how she judged someone based on his race and appearance, and then realized it was wrong and was ashamed about it.

      Williams related a story about how he judged someone based on their race or religion and appearance and was admitting it was wrong and that we shouldn’t do that.

      To that extent, they are analogous.

      Williams’ irrational feeling might be based on the actions of a few “extremist” muslisms, but Sherrod’s irrational actions arguably were based on the actions of a few “extremist” white people years ago.

      1. Sherrod didn’t just “judge” somebody, she actively discriminated against him in a way that almost put him in the poor house. Now she is to be commended for reversing the error of her ways, but she ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING RACIST.

        Juan, on the other hand, didn’t do ANYTHING. He said he “felt nervous”. He didn’t ask them to change their appearance or not board the plane, he didn’t single them out, he didn’t discriminate against them in a way that put said muslims in a bind, he just said he felt nervous. Let’s not forget that Islam isn’t even a race to begin with.

        There is an ocean of difference between taking action on account of your racist judgements, and “feeling nervous” at an airport but not actually doing anything about it.

  21. What ever became of the term “Uncle Tom?”
    Its like it became racist to “progressives” state that there are “blacks who sell out their race” because such a statement itself makes the assumption that all blacks share a universal view on all issues, and none of them can think contarianly.
    And of course, isn’t it always racist for a white, even a white “progressive” to point out the failing of any black?

    1. Yeah, it’s supremely ironic when so-called “progressives” routinely resort to collectivist, racist tactics when “one of their own” wanders off “the reservation.”

  22. The important thing here is that it’s clearly OK to have black lawn jockeys again. Ready to do my part to take lawn tchotschke back 30, 40 years…

    **yes!**

  23. “the optics of firing an African-American conservative were not good”

    Williams is a conservative? Wow.

  24. Ken Shultz said,

    This Juan Williams deal is the same thing. How does a guy that’s come out as saying that he’s personally afraid of Muslims cover issues involving Muslims without compromising whatever standard of integrity NPR wants to project?

    Actually the firing of William’s completely wrecks npr’s pretense of integrity.

    William’s firing shows that if an npr reporter deviates from what npr thinks is correct thinking that reporter will be fired in a femto second.

    His firing effectively killed any illusion that npr ever honestly reported on a wide range of issues.

    1. So, by your logic, should they hire someone who’s afraid of gay people to cover gay issues?

      How ’bout someone who’s afraid of atheists to cover bioethics?

      ’cause it ain’t a diverse opinion until you get the homophobes’ take on gay marriage and the creationist’s take on prayer in public schools?

      NPR is right to make whatever management decisions it needs to maintain whatever level of objectivity they want to project.

  25. Juan Williams didn’t tell Americans to act like him around muslims at the airport. He didn’t say people have a good reason to be scared of muslims. He was making the point that despite the fact that he felt nervous around muslims acting all muslimey at an airport was no reason to think that all muslims are terrorists.

    Er, that’s exactly why it’s comparable to the Sherrod affair — Sherrod was fired for ‘racist’ statements that turned out, in context, to be part of a larger exposition about how she recognized and moved beyond her racism. Just like Williams – except that Williams probably won’t be reinstated because there is no equivalent of Breitbart to be scapegoated for the knee-jerk reaction.

    1. Im going to repeat what I said to BSR above, since you are saying the same thing.

      Sherrod didn’t just “judge” somebody, she actively discriminated against him in a way that almost put him in the poor house. Now she is to be commended for reversing the error of her ways, but she ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING RACIST.

      Juan, on the other hand, didn’t do ANYTHING. He said he “felt nervous”. He didn’t ask them to change their appearance or not board the plane, he didn’t single them out, he didn’t discriminate against them in a way that put said muslims in a bind, he just said he felt nervous. Let’s not forget that Islam isn’t even a race to begin with.

      There is an ocean of difference between taking action on account of your racist judgements, and “feeling nervous” at an airport but not actually doing anything about it.

  26. “Which brings me to the Clarence Thomas Rule.* It goes something like this: When a black person expresses views that liberal elites have deemed unacceptable for black people to hold, it is permissible for good liberals to respond by implying that said black person is either too stupid or too corrupt to think for himself, and to then call that black person racist names. In fact, not only are both responses permissible and not racist, they are a recommended way of displaying your open-mindedness.”

    Further proof that the word, “racist,” no longer has any real meaning in political discourse in America other than a weapon used by the Left to discredit its opponents. If it is acceptable to refer to a Clarence Thomas or Juan Williams as a lawn jockey, but Ronald Reagan was declared a “racist’ for calling for a balanced budget (look it up; I believe that Charles Rangel once declared that “balanced budgets are inherently racist” circa 1990), then the word truly has no meaning at all.

  27. Williams is benefiting from this, getting a fat new contract from FOX News, where I’m sure he’ll be liberated to express the same opinions everyone else on that channel expresses, only this time in black!

    NPR would have erred for firing him over this one comment. (However, he was just a contract analyst.) But they did cite a history of such incidents, and this Muslim thing was the last straw.

    Apparently employers’ discretion doesn’t count to right wing fucks when it’s one of their own getting the boot.

    1. Good Tony impersonation, but usually he doesn’t curse.

    2. And Tony once again has no idea about the difference between “something is a bad idea that I will criticize” and “something should be illegal.” And that’s setting aside the substantial government funding of NPR, which they like to hide through the shell game of charging their member stations, that then get grants from the Congressionally funded CPB.

      Like so many people, Tony automatically assumes that every aspect of his morality should be imposed on others.

      1. What are you mooing about? NPR’s budget is 1?3% taxpayer funded. Does that imply they don’t have a right to end a contract with someone who they judge has violated their standards?

      2. Actually, this morning on NPR, they came right out and said that NPS receives about 2% of its funding from the government, but that many of their member stations (who pay them fees for the programs) get a larger part of their funding from the CPB and state governments. Not trying too hard to hide it, I would say.

  28. I’m simply surprised that anything from Balloon Juice would actually be linked here. John Cole and his subordinates have evolved into such caricatures of parrots for Team Blue that it’s hard to cite their arguments as authoritative or well-thought out.

  29. Remarks in order of offensiveness:
    [1] Schiller’s psychiatrist remark: highly offensive personal smear attack on her employee. She will get sued and lose her job over that one.
    Distant second and third:
    [2] Williams’ Stokely in Drag remark: very crude remark but humorous in context. Activist first ladies are not above ridicule. Non-actionable.
    [3] Williams’ Muslim remark: this subject needs to be debated without hysterical reactions. Non-actionable.

  30. What are you mooing about? NPR’s budget is 1?3% taxpayer funded. Does that imply they don’t have a right to end a contract with someone who they judge has violated their standards?

    Anyone who takes federal money in the real world signs a contract promising to abide by thousands of pages of federal regs that otherwise wouldn’t apply. Regardless of how paltry the federal money is compared to their total income.

    I think Williams has a very nice case for employment discrimination here. He’s in a protected class (two, actually). The reason giving for firing him is an obvious pretext, easily falsified. In the employment discrimination world, that’s a damn strong case, right there.

    Go for it, Juan! They treated you like shit (firing a long-time employee with a phone call is very low-rent). Take a bite out of them!

    1. So in other words, blahblahblah. He wasn’t an employee, he was a contracted news analyst. NPR doesn’t like its people making news on their own, and Williams was by far the most controversial of its contributors. They decided that his offensive remark about Muslims was the last straw, that he was more a liability than an asset, and the only reason you give a crap about this personnel decision is because the FOX News crew are crying about it.

      1. T, good points until you characterized Juan’s remark as offensive. Taken in its entire context it was not only not offensive but was, in fact, a morality lesson meant to highlight the fact that we all ought to think a bit and resist our primitive urges.

        Liberals are spring loaded to take offense, and that was the pretext for dumping Juan. The real reason was that Juan is not a Liberal drone. Libs can not tolerate the slightest excursion from the party line.

      2. Williams should be arrested immediately and reeducated by the thought police for having impure thoughts.

        These fuckers abandoning the progressive orthodoxy of the reservation need to be made an example of, or we might have other Blacks believing they too can actually think for themselves.

    2. “What are you mooing about? NPR’s budget is 1?3% taxpayer funded. Does that imply they don’t have a right to end a contract with someone who they judge has violated their standards?”

      I don’t even have to look this up…

      There’s no way that 1-3% is accounting for the free spectrum they get–which they’d have to pay for otherwise.

      Do you have any idea how much that spectrum–in every market in the country–would cost in an open bid?

      The reason they don’t have commercials every ten minutes like other stations–is becasue their cost basis is many times lower than other radio stations.

      …because of the free spectrum giveaway.

      Sheesh.

      1. NPR doesn’t get any spectrum. The affiliate stations do, each on their own. Which ultimately is how NPR is funded, so you could argue that there is no real difference. I am not sure whether public radio stations get a break on FCC licensing fees or not.

  31. Reason magazine: jumping on the bandwagon of every FOX News flipout du jour, for freedom. I think we need a good 5 or 6 more posts on this subject.

    1. It’s natural to expect journalists to be sympathetic to other journalists on questions of freedom of speech. NPR also makes an obvious target for libertarian minded journalists especially…

      I love these guys, but I think they’re being played on this one too. It can happen to anybody. But I’m not about to stand up for the right of some Islamophobic journalist to keep his job after he said something stupid on national television…

      And I want credit for that. When I support Congress in defunding NPR, it’d be nice if somebody remembered that I defended NPR when they fired Juan Williams.

      Not that it really matters, but it’d be nice.

    2. Yep! Fuck the message no matter if its correct, kill the messenger!

      Tony are you bringing the rope? Can you believe that insubordinate fucker named Juan Williams is now accusing NPR of being intolerant?

  32. Tony|10.22.10 @ 11:40AM|#

    Reason magazine: jumping on the bandwagon of every FOX News flipout du jour, for freedom. I think we need a good 5 or 6 more posts on this subject.

    Now we have empirical proof that humans don’t have souls.

    1. Don’t blame us, Tony’s not one of ours.

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