Three days after his comments about Muslims on "The O'Reilly Factor" got him fired from NPR, Juan Williams returned to Bill O'Reilly's program Thursday night to talk about his departure from the public radio network. The two men tore into NPR and its president, Vivian Schiller, for the decision.
Before speaking to Williams, O'Reilly devoted his "Talking Points Memo" to the fracas. He called the decision to fire Williams disgraceful and, in a nod to one of his regular segments, labeled Schiller a "pinhead" and said she should resign immediately because she was "not smart enough to run a media company, even if is NPR."
O'Reilly went on to say that Williams was fired because of his association with Fox, and that "even devoted liberals" like the women of "The View" opposed the decision.
"NPR has now devolved into a totalitarian outfit functioning as an arm of the far-left," he concluded, adding that the network would "rue the day" it fired Williams.
O'Reilly then brought Williams on the program. (Williams is due to guest host Friday's episode as well, and has signed a new, multi-million dollar contract with Fox in the wake of his firing) He started by telling Williams that, even though he might be saddened by the turn of events, he was actually better off no longer working for NPR, and that "millions of Americans" identified with his comment that, when he sees people he thinks are clearly Muslim on airplanes, "I get nervous."
Both O'Reilly and Williams agreed that the decision to fire him had come not from any anger at Williams' comments from within NPR, but rather from external pressure. "Somebody put the heat on them," O'Reilly said. Williams said that, if NPR had really been outraged at his statement, he "would have heard that night" from them.
They also continued to hammer Schiller. "This woman is stone-cold dumb," O'Reilly said as Williams rolled his eyes, "and I don't mean that with all due respect."
Schiller had criticized Williams for, as she put it, giving his personal opinion about a controversial issue, which she said violated NPR's rules. "You weren't giving your personal opinion," O'Reilly told Williams. "You were saying how you felt!"
Williams also appeared offended by Schiller's statement -- which she later apologized for -- that his feelings about Muslims should be kept between himself and "his psychiatrist or his publicist."
"So now I am mentally unstable," he said.
Williams -- who, earlier on Thursday, had published a column on FoxNews.com accusing NPR of launching a "chilling assault" on free speech and labeling the network as being worse than Richard Nixon in its treatment of him -- also said that NPR, where he was one of very few black voices on the air, didn't like him because he wasn't a "predictable black liberal."
O'Reilly told him that things would turn out for the best, in part because "Congress is going to defund NPR...and you did it, Williams."
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