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this is usually a space that I reserve for whining about personal shit that only I care about, but this whole NPR/ Juan Williams debacle has agitated me to the point that I feel the need to say something.
      First of all, this is not a First Amendment issue. I am so sick to death of people-- Laura Schlessinger, Christine O'Donnel and now Juan Williams and Faux News- deploying the 1st Amendment without actually knowing what it's all about.
     "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
      Now the most relevant part for our purposes is right at the beginning: "Congress shall make no law..." This means that Congress can't forbid Laura Schlessinger from saying "nigger" 11 times on the radio. At the same time, nowhere in the first amendment is non-governmental entity obliged to employ her if she engages in what they deem as objectionable speech. I find it especially egregious when so-called free-market capitalists argue that Schlessinger's or Williams' Constitutional rights were infringed upon, because the fact of the matter is that Schlessinger's dismissal is an example of capitalism doing its work. Schlessinger was dismissed when sponsors chose not-- as is their right-- to support her form of expression. The market spoke. There was nothing unconstitutional about it.
      Juan Williams is on even thinner ice with regards to a first amendment argument. His position as a news analyst should require that he be capable of providing an objective analysis of the news. He can think whatever he likes, but as a public figure he needs to maintain at least a façade of impartiality. His comments betray extreme and unsupported bias. It is appalling to me that someone in his position could be so poorly informed. What Williams said, in my opinion was indefensible. Does he have the right to say such things? Yes he does, but as his employer, NPR is within their rights to deem that such an extremist stance compromises his ability to impartially (& this should be the goal of a good news analyst) do his job. Seriously, if we are going to be made nervous every time a portion of a group does something heinous, then all I have to say to you is Timothy McVeigh & Joseph Stack III, & those are just off the top of my head and in the past decade or so. I could go on, but I don't think I need to belabor the point. My point is this: this is not an issue of constitutionality, but of partisanship. Juan Williams is well within his rights to be a right-winged bigot, but no one is obliged to employ him if he does it in public. Personally, I'm just glad I won't have to listen to his commentary during Weekend Edition. He's been on my nerves for years.
     & because I think this is infinitely worth reposting, I would like to conclude with my new and most favorite thing on the entire internet.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 23rd, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)

2. You're lucky I didn't drunk dial you last night. But I wanted to.

3. Yes, everything you say up there. Especially that link, I've visited it like 3856 times in the last couple of days and it never fails to make me smile.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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