Juan Williams: Fox News Lets 'Black Guy With A Hispanic Name' Host O'Reilly's Show
Juan Williams said Tuesday that he's still upset about his firing from NPR, and added that NPR does not understand the Fox News culture or audience.
In an interview with Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik, Williams said he remains emotionally "roiled" by the incident and said, despite being hired full-time by Fox News with a three-year, $2 million contract, "there's an emotional disconnect, because the way it feels to me is like I just got fired and I'm not even sure what I did wrong."
Williams said he was particularly upset over NPR CEO Vivian Schiller's comment that he should have kept his remark — that he gets "nervous" when he sees Muslims on planes — with "his psychiatrist or his publicist."
And he added that NPR executives simply do not understand Fox News:
"At NPR...they don't know this: A third of the audience for Bill O'Reilly's show is made up of people of color," Williams said. "At NPR, they think, 'Oh, these people who watch Fox don't appreciate diversity of opinion, they're not smart people. They're not informed people. Oh, yeah? I'll tell you what: They're informed."...
Williams said NPR "just doesn't understand the Fox audience" -- or have any idea how much more enlightened Fox News management is in some ways compared with news outlets like NPR, CNBC or CNN.
"Just consider the idea that Fox allows me the opportunity to sit in for Bill O'Reilly on their No. 1 show," he said. "That's the franchise. That's the moneymaker. If that show falls in the toilet, it's bad for the whole lineup. And yet Fox allows a black guy with a Hispanic name to sit in the big chair and host the show."
Williams was fired from NPR shortly after making his controversial comment on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor." Williams has said he stands by his comments, and NPR CEO Schiller has apologized for the way she handled his firing but has also defended the decision. The situation has prompted a backlash, with conservative politicians and commentators calling for the government to de-fund NPR in the wake of the episode; NPR also received a bomb threat Monday in an apparent response to its firing of Williams.