All That Needs To Be Said About The Juan Williams Affair

NPR should not have fired Juan Williams for his expression of a rather commonly-held sentiment, especially when his remarks are heard in their proper context. There was no First Amendment violation, but Williams was treated unfairly and whether you agree with him or not, the dude got screwed and NPR looks really bad for what it did.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. At first blush, I agreed with you, but there's no good context for the comment about someone being dressed in Muslim garb and identifying themselves first as a Muslim. You have to ask yourself, does this pass the WIIWAJOC test. That is, what if was about Jews or Christians. If Williams had said, "When someone steps on a plane wearing a yarmulke, they're identifying themselves first as Jewish, rather than American" I doubt anyone would be rushing to defend him w/ thoughts of context. Personally, his thoughts on his discomfort were certainly explained by the further context. But given the atmosphere of Islamophobia these days, it's fairly problematic to be asking people to dress a different way to be seen as American.

  2. Matt,When you see someone in a yarmulke get on a plane, you don't worry that there's a bomb under the yarmulke.When you see a nun get on a plane, you don't worry that there's a bomb under the habit. When many people see someone dressed as a muslim – long beard, headdress, or worse yet, those damn beekeeper outfits (hijab/chador) where you can see nothing but the eyes/hands on the woman and they're sometimes even wearing gloves too… yeah. It makes for a nervous time.It makes for nervousness because your left-wing idiocy of "islamophobia" is wrong. It presupposes that an apprehension about the world's most violent, hateful, misogynistic religion is somehow an "irrational" fear. It should instead be called Islamosophia: the rational, well-informed, well-justified fear of the danger that is Islam.

  3. I'm just wondering how much of George Soro's $1.8 Million contribution is now going to go to settle Juan's surely soon to be filed wrongful termination suit. Or maybe that was the whole point of the gift?

  4. LibAd, on what grounds could Williams possibly sue on wrongful termination?

  5. Mike — Two things. First, not a SINGLE one of the actual Muslim terrorists that has attacked the US on an airplane since 9/11 has dressed in the clothing you've described. Second, it's not the fear of someone wearing Muslim clothing that I'm concerned about – Williams even described it as irrational at one point. It's the offensive notion that someone wearing religious garb is subjugating their national identity for their religious identity. I'm an atheist, but I don't consider an American priest less American because he's wearing his collar, or an American Jew Jewish first, American second if he has that yarmulke on.

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