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Juan Williams: NPR Worse than Nixon?

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There are plenty of opinions flying around about NPR's decision to fire Juan Williams. The Washington Post editorialized against NPR's decision, arguing in part that Williams "undoubtedly spoke for many Americans who are wrestling with similar feelings" about seeing Muslims in airports. (Williams was worried primarily about those in "Muslim garb.") Former Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, now at the Daily Beast website, called it a "blunder of enormous proportions."

What I found most puzzling, though, was this passage from Williams' commentary that appeared on

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon's enemies list. I can only imagine Dan's revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for 10 years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

I don't know what Schorr might have said to Williams, but I suspect he may have pointed out that in the most infamous case, Nixon had CIA agents trailing Jack Anderson, a reporter he despised, and they were plotting ways they might kill him. (Mark Feldstein's recent book explaining the history was excerpted on the NPR website.) That seems worse to me. A lot worse.