Mara Liasson is National Public Radio’s top political correspondent. She also helps hold down the left flank on panels where she appears as a Fox News contributor such as Special Report with Bret Baier. Last year Josh Gerstein reported that NPR management has asked Liasson to reconsider her appearances on Fox News because of what they perceive — in accord with the teaching of the Obama administration — as the network’s political bias. NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.
At the end of the 30 days, Liasson was undoubtedly expected to engage in rigorous self-criticism, but it didn’t work out that way: “At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.” Now NPR has gone a step beyond the summoning of Mara Liasson.
Big Journalism reports that NPR has fired senior news analyst Juan Williams for thought crime committed on Fox News. Williams concurred with Bill O’Reilly on “the Muslim dilemma” posed by O’Reilly. Williams admitted that, despite his prolific admiration of the civil rights movement, “when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
Williams also referred to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. Williams noted: “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts.”
NPR has issued a statement explaining that Williams’s remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.” The remarks, however, may have been something of a pretext. NPR itself reports that Williams’s presence on Fox News “has long been a sore point with NPR News executives.”
Williams knowingly prefaced his remarks with the observation: “Political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis…” NPR proves that the point is precisely to induce the paralysis of which Williams spoke.
UPDATE: Bill Kristol makes the same point, calling NPR National Politically-correct Radio.