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Rory O'Connor

Rory O'Connor

Posted: October 21, 2010 05:49 PM

We all know Bill O'Reilly is a good Catholic boy. After all, the top-rated Fox News (sic) Channel host took the title of his best selling A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity from Sister Mary Lurana, his third grade teacher at Saint Brigid's parochial school. Speaking as a schoolmate of Bill's from his later days at Chaminade High, I implore him now to confess his sins and seek absolution for killing the NPR career of Juan Williams.

As first reported by Brian Stelter in The New York Times, NPR has terminated its contract with its 'senior news analyst' Williams, following comments he made about Muslims on Fox, where he is still employed as a 'political analyst.' But O'Reilly is one who should be castigated. Although Williams took the fall, O'Reilly was the cause.

The controversy clearly has its roots in the deliberately provocative and offensive comments O'Reilly had made earlier on The View, such as "Muslims killed us on 9/11." Moreover, taken in their entire seven minute context -- and not just this 46-second edited video clip -- it appears that Williams' remarks, although bigoted and fairly stupid, were made in an ill-executed attempt to counter O'Reilly's even stupider and more bigoted assertions.

Of course, beginning by saying "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot," was probably not the wisest move on Williams' part. But should we attack Williams for then proceeding to reveal his bigotry?

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

NPR said in a statement that the remarks by Williams "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." I'm no fan of Juan Williams -- his credibility as a news analyst was undermined a long time ago. And I wouldn't go so far as some in saying that Williams is the new Shirley Sherrod.

But William Salaten at Slate is partially right when he says, "It was wrong of conservatives to take Sherrod's remarks out of context. It's just as wrong of liberals to do the same to Williams. The USDA, after reviewing Sherrod's remarks in their entirety, offered to rehire her. Now it's your turn, NPR."

NPR shouldn't have fired Juan Williams for his stupid, bigoted -- and honest -- remarks.

Now it's your turn, Bill. Man up, as Sharron Angle might tell you. You murdered Juan Williams' public broadcasting career -- so please be honest as he was. Confess and seek our forgiveness.

 

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