Opinion Brief

The Juan Williams uproar: Time to stop funding NPR?

After NPR fired Williams for saying that Muslims can make him nervous, conservatives are asking Congress to defund the radio network. Commentators weigh in

NPR created a media firestorm by firing senior news analyst Juan Williams after he admitted, on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show, that seeing "people in Muslim garb" on airplanes made him "worried" and "nervous." While NPR maintains that Williams' remarks violated its standards and ethics code, conservatives are arguing that the firing was a form of leftist censorship, and several — notably Fox personalities O'Reilly, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin — are calling for Congress to "defund" NPR. (NPR says it indirectly gets about 2 percent of its $160 million annual budget from Congress.) Should Congress cut NPR loose? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the fallout for NPR)

Taxpayers shouldn't fund "propaganda": Juan Williams was "fired for telling the truth," says Aaron Gardner in RedState, about his "completely normal human response" to 9/11. Too bad for Williams his feelings don't mesh with "NPR's mission... to distort reality." As soon as the GOP takes over Congress, redlining this "taxpayer subsidized propaganda machine" should be a top priority."On NPR and Juan Williams"

Conservatives are over-reacting: Gutting NPR's federal funding is a "long-standing right-wing pipe dream," says Josh Silver in The Huffington Post, and Williams' "noxious comments" are just the latest excuse. But even if you think NPR was wrong, trying to kill one of America's few trusted alternatives to the "sensationalism and soundbytes" that pass for journalism today is "like asking for the death penalty in small claims court.""Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint take aim at NPR funding"

Go ahead, defund NPR: This time, conservatives are taking their "war on NPR" to the next level: Congress, says Adrian Chen in Gawker. And that's OK. They can try to deprive Americans of "afternoon chats" involving "obscure jazz musicians" and vehicle maintenance, but stripping NPR of 2 percent of its budget won't do anything but make its pledge week "that much more obnoxious." Boy, "the Right really knows how to hit liberals where it hurts.""Republican Senator will introduce legislation to 'defund' NPR"

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