On Thursday, NPR President Vivian Schiller denied that the firing was about Fox News. I don't buy that. _As Politico reported last year, NPR tried to pressure political correspondent Mara Liasson to sever her ties as a commentator on "Fox News Sunday" and its "Special Report." In 2009, NPR asked Williams to not use his NPR identification when appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor." (Monday night, O'Reilly no doubt tweaked NPR management when he said to Williams, "You actually work for NPR, OK?")
Indeed, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard told "Talk of the Nation" Thursday that the network should have given Williams an ultimatum -- NPR or Fox News.
Eric Boehlert of the left-wing MediaMatters used Williams' firing to call on NPR to sever its association with Liasson, as well. Wrote Boehlert, "I'm not suggesting Liasson has said anything as offensive as Williams, or that she has that kind of track record while appearing on Fox. I'm just saying that if you look at NPR's code of ethics, there's simply no way Liasson should be making appearances on Fox."
What an insidious pursuit. MediaMatters lives to pillory Fox News for being too conservative -- at the same time, it tries to drive moderate commentators off Fox programming.
MediaMatters doesn't want balance on Fox News. MediaMatters doesn't want an exchange of ideas. MediaMatters wants to push Fox further to the right. Its toxic tactics are designed to widen the left-right divide in America by marginalizing not only conservatives, but anyone who associates with conservatives.
I've talked to people at CAIR and MediaMatters. I know folks who work for NPR. They all think they're smart, and yet they've just sent a bonehead message to the American public.
Way to go, ye titans of tolerance. You've just broadcasted that an African-American moderate with a solid civil-rights record can lose his job and be branded as a bigot for quoting a convicted terrorist and admitting to a moment's hesitation if he sees someone in Muslim garb on a plane.