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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Williams vs Totenberg

It appears it isn't expressing your fear that gets you in trouble these days, it is who you are expressing fear of.  NPR News Analyst Juan Williams expressed fear of folks dressed as Muslims and being on the same airliner as himself.  Fired.  NPR News Analyst Nina Totenberg expressed fear of the American voters ("afraid, very afraid").  Move along, nothing to see here.  Here is a blog post that captured her comments.  And here is the line in question:
GORDON PETERSON:  Nina, columnist Paul Krugman says if the election goes as expected, his advice is be afraid, be very afraid.  Should we take his advice?

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR:  I am already afraid, very afraid.  I mean, it’s not like governance has been going great.  I think we’ll, I don't know whether I should be afraid, but there will be gridlock.
Actually, isn't gridlock good?

Well, as Boston Globe Columnist Joan Vennochi pointed out in today's offering, it is not just Juan Williams, but also White House Correspondent Helen Thomas, who got the pink slip for comments about Israel.  One wonders if Ms Vennochi has some insight here:
The back story on some of these recent firings is that management was long unhappy with these individuals, but didn’t have the guts to confront them.  That made them especially vulnerable.  When they ventured into controversial territory, there would be no mercy.
So, we may just be dealing with weak management.  But, weak management raises serious questions about the Board of Directors.

As a side issue, Ms Vennochi uses the term "Free Speech" regarding this subject.  Unless we are prepared to acknowledge that NPR is a Government instrument, the first amendment doesn't enter into it.  It was a contract between a private organization and an indivdual.  On the other hand, if we see NPR as a QUANGO, then it might be another story, but then NRP would be in violation of those laws that say the Government may not conduct propaganda against the American People.

Regards  —  Cliff

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