At first I thought this was a joke—“Juan Williams firing may be violation of Foreign Agents Act “. The lobbyist group, The Center for Security Policy, has suggested CAIR (The Council on American Islamic Relations) was responsible for Williams’ firing. To the extent they are major contributors to NPR or its parent, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this is plausible. While CAIR was highly vocal in criticizing Williams for putative anti-Muslim comments, this is what they do. They have an outrage a day.
But I don’t think that was why he was fired. I believe NPR president Vivian Schiller was clearly operating on implied or understood orders; but from who? I may be watching to much Fox programming (for example, its hit show, “Lie to Me”) but her comments were a series of non-sequiturs. Her meta-reason for firing Williams was for “expressing opinions not analysis” on Fox News. If that were not absurd enough, she told reporter Rodney Ho this was not an isolated incident for Williams. In fact, there have been repeated cases of Williams being warned about “expressing opinions not analysis” and as such, this was not a case of “one strike and you are out”.
When pressed by Ho to name other incidents, Schiller came up with this quote; “he famously said “something” last year about Michelle Obama and Stokely Carmichael”. Does anyone under 50 actually remember Stokely Carmichael? He was most identified with black separatist politics in the 1960s. What was that “something he famously said”?
In what must be the most humorous and psychologically astute line ever uttered by the usually bland but pleasant Williams, he said (soon after the inauguration) “the First Lady has this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going”. Williams was referring to her faux militancy and oft-repeated assertions about America’s moral weakness. He also implied that Michelle would eventually hurt Obama’s popularity (her entourage vacation to Spain makes Williams seem prescient).
Apparently this was an outrage over in NPR land. And why not? They receive about 2-3% of their budget from its government supported parent, which on the margin is meaningful. They must have feared the wrath of Michelle back in 2009. NPR’s “ombudsmen” in 2009 called Williams a “lightning rod” of controversy. This comes as a bizarre comment for Fox News fans—[Here’s NPR’s ombudsman’s piece on him last year after the Michelle Obama comment.]
Ten years at NPR and the only “opinion not analysis” they could identify were Williams’ Muslim and Michelle Obama comments? Schiller was clearly obeying orders, but not from CAIR or Soros (who did contribute $1.8 million this month to NPR). Williams has been on the target list for some time.
I believe it was Michelle Obama who ordered the hit. But Ms. Schiller’s clumsy firing was surely not appreciated at the White House as she implicitly linked Michelle with the firing of Juan Williams. Not cool. In fact, Schiller has just been written up by the NPR Ombudsmen.— NPR’s Firing of Juan Williams Was Poorly Handled : NPR Ombudsman : NPR. The countdown for Ms. Schiller begins.