Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Should Car Talk seek out another carrier for their fine program?

I’m extremely disappointed in the action NPR took in firing Juan Williams and wondered if anyone else feels as I do about this. Should the folks at Car Talk and the “loyal listeners” protest this action in some way?

I think it’s a non issue.
He was and is free to say anything he wants when interviewed on another broadcaster, and NPR is free to get rid of him for doing so. I think NPR overreacted, but …

No, I don’t see any reason for CT to switch networks, and I see no reason to boycott NPR.

Juan Williams freely admitted he engages in ethnic and religious profiling. Anytime someone says “I am not a bigot, but…” that person is probably about to say something bigoted, and Juan Williams did just that.

You can count me as one more vote in favor of this not being an issue worthy of boycotting NPR.

Mr. Williams spoke his mind and revealed more of his biases than he should have, and that was unwise.
If he was really smart, he would have kept his biases to himself. Since a news analyst with obvious biases is a potential liability for a news organization, I am not surprised that he was axed by NPR.

At least he now has the likelihood of becoming a permanent talking head for Fox Faux News, where they like his kind of bias, as it helps to fan the flames–so to speak.

Hey I like Jaun also but you are who you associate with and Jaun just spent too much time drinking beers with O’Rielly and in an effort to appease his Faux News handlers and O’Rielly he said the wrong thing.

I often wondered how this situation of Jaun working for NPR but trying to stay O’Rielly’s buddy could work out. O’Rielly has simply made too many enemies for Jaun to show support for him.

Being NPR is partly government subsidized they must make as much effort as possible to remain neutral. Juan did not do that with his comments and opinions. They were right to fire him. NPR is the right fit for Car Talk. Tom & Ray know that and so does NPR. I’m sure they’re in a contract to last awhile down the road!

Agreed. We are talking about an organization that is extremely committed to journalistic ethics. They even tell their employees - even those who are not on-air news personalities, not to go to political rallies, and not to even talk about their political opinion on sites like Facebook.

Mr. Williams decided to go on Fox News with a known conservative commentator and express opinions about an ethnic group. Even if you happen to agree with what Williams said (I sincerely hope you don’t), that does not mean he didn’t violate the rules of his organization when he said it.

About a year after 9-11, I boarded a crowded airplane in Minneapolis. A person from the middle east came aboard and he was seated in the seat next to me. It turned out that he is in the same field that I am in and we had a great conversation on the way to our destinations. I was a little disappointed that my seat partner wasn’t a terrorist (just kidding). In my 45 years of university teaching, I have had students and colleagues of all nationalities, religions, genders, sexual orientation, etc. It has been a great ride getting to know people that come from different backgrounds. I think that the most boring people are those like me (and those who have read my posts on this board know that i am boring). I am surpised that someone like Juan Williams who was in the broadcast journalism business and obviously met a lot of different people would do ethnic and religious profiling.

I totally agree. Many people are missing out on some great opportunities by judging someone based on meaningless factors.

If you listen to the full interview, he does not favor profiling and probably would have gotten nothing if he had said some people feel uncomfortable, rather than I felt uncomfortable. It is a world of zero tolerance it seems, so veil your true feelings if they might be interpreted by anyone as offensive. His record is not one of a bigot, but because he expressed his own opinion he was crucified.
Later in the interview, in response.

“WILLIAMS: Wait a second though, wait, hold on, because if you said Timothy McVeigh, the Atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality at military funerals, very obnoxious, you don?t say first and foremost, we got a problem with Christians. That?s crazy.”

It’s not an issue of whether he was bigoted or not. He’s a journalist who is supposed to remain professionally neutral, yet is spouting off about his opinions in a public forum anyway, after being told repeatedly by his bosses to knock it off.

It is an issue of not following to rules of your workplace, not one of PC run amok which is the “spin” that the “no spin” guy O’Rielly is trying to put on it.

Now that it is mentioned I did start looking at Jaun not as a journalist but as a person who gets paid to present his opinion on an entertainment show. Entertainer or journalist, there are consequences if you try to wear both hats.

It was pretty interesting how Megan Kelly would not answer questions from the Muslim representative on her show today. She resorted to the “Hey this is my show, I ask the questions”, seems O’Rielly is teaching her the ropes.

I have read and re-read the quote that waterboy presents and for me it does nothing, that is, it does not help or hurt Jaun, in fact it sems to be an incomplete thought.

NPR’s action is reprehensible. Juan was expressing a personal reaction to a grave fear we all have. In fact, our govt. tells us to be vigilant - about what? those things that may represent terror. I rarely agree with much of Juan’s opinions but I always respect his insightful intellect and honesty. He is part of the dialogue, like you and me. No more money to NPR, not now, not ever, AND we will not listen. Sorry guys - my wife and I love you guys, but choose your friends carefully.

I appreciate all the responses to my initial post. Far more comments than I’d expected! While I disagree with some of them, I respect your positions and the logic behind them.
Bottom line … none of you get fired, and are welcome to comment further if you wish.

“Juan was expressing a personal reaction to a grave fear we all have.”

No, we don’t all have that fear.

What is the fine line between when you are allowed to express your own personal feelings, and not loose your job? Would you accept not being able to say what you feel because you might loose your job?

That is a total disrespect to what happened. You have expressed how it feels to you, that is politically incorrect and you are flagged. I don’t appreciate the sarcastic humor as one man who has been a proponent of equality stated some reservations for having a fully garbed Muslim on the plane shortly after 911. I cannot believe that stupidity people are able to assassinate voices that say something they felt, and it becomes a capitol crime. OK, I am hating bagpipers, does that put me on the short list? (actually I love bagpipers, and I do not know a single one who would file a discrimination case in court because of my comment)

Yes, and when I was a journalist I did. If you don’t want to have to follow ethical restrictions, don’t be a journalist.

nor do we stop listening to an entirely apolitical show about cars because it happens to be carried on a station that belongs to a network that fired someone for being an unethical journalist. . .

Juan Williams can be a talking head on Faux News or he can be a news analyst on NPR, but he has the freedom to choose.

When I go to work, there are inappropriate things I am not allowed to say in a public forum. Why should Juan be granted more freedom than me?