Wednesday, October 27, 2010

“Will the men of an unspoken religion praying in coach, please put away their prayer rugs and fasten their seat belts for take off.”

Country wide, affiliates of National Public Radio are in a tizzy trying not to lose membership funding during their Fall fund raising efforts. Apparently the fallout from the Juan Williams affair is doing just that.

I was among those who early on voiced their displeasure with NPR's decision to terminate Juan Williams. I emailed NHPR (New Hampshire Public Radio) and told them I was no longer going to be a paying member. The reply from the station’s program director Abby Goldstein, while defining a quasi-arms length relationship between NHPR and NPR, also included a boiler plate statement explaining (aka justifying) NPR's decision to terminate Williams’ employment. Bad decision on her part.

I'm damn tired of this Politically Correct knee-jerk reactionary nonsense. I'm especially tired of pretending that Islam isn't a world wide threat to peace. The words "Muslim terrorist" it seems must now be replaced by "extremist," or "religious extremist," or “religious fanatic” with no other term of specific religious affiliation; as though the word Muslim must be kept out of the equation. One may as well extract the "m" from E=mc2, and say it makes no difference to the formula. It does.

I'm fed up with the hypocrisy of people who likely share the exact same perspective Mr. Williams expressed re: men in Muslim garb at the airport or boarding his flight make him nervous.

  • Are we to deny the reality of the hundreds of terrorist attacks by fanatic Muslims for the sake of political correctness?

  • Are we to pretend that such people boarding our own flight would / should provoke no more concern or angst in us than would the 75 year old white woman in a wheel chair?

  • Is Mr. Williams’ honest statement, and his admission of the admittedly unfortunate feeling it provokes in him, grounds for dismissal? Can verbalizing it instead of keeping it internalized genuinely affect how he analyzes the news for NPR? Has his credibility been undermined by speaking truth?

This isn't about painting every Muslim with the broad brush of terrorist. They are not, and that is not what William's did. It's about using reason born of experience; about discerning a potential risk to one's well being as a result of learned threat. It's a basic instinct, key to human survival, for self preservation.

This isn't about which side of the political spectrum you are on, although the politically correct Far Left say it is and the nutty Far Right want it to be.

I'm a social liberal, a moderate Independent, and a person with enough honesty to know that to deny the feeling Williams described is either Political Correctness run amok, or gross denial of reality ... AKA stupidity. I won't support any organization that promotes either of those two alternatives; or one that punishes people who reject them.


NewEnglandBob said...

The problem is - where do you draw the line?

Is what this school board member says OK or is it too bizarre? Should he be terminated?

Everyone is free to say whatever they want (with a few exceptions like "Fire" in a movie theater) but everyone else does not have to accept or tolerate it.

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob.. I understand what you're saying, but I reject it as a false analogy.
I find no correlation between what a homophobic mindless turd says out of hate, religious indoctrination, gross stupidity, insensitivity, and rejection of reality; and what Juan Williams expressed which is a natural a feeling/ fear given current Islam terrorist activity (current=1/4 century) and specifically airline bombings.

It wasn't acusatory, it wasn't hateful, it wasn't offered as an indictment of all muslims, nor a wish that they were all dead. It WAS offered with regret that he even has to have that fear/nervousness; but it is a reality that cannot be denied by the truthful flier.

NewEnglandBob said...

I understand your point, Hump, but NPR can also decide whether to accept what he said or not to accept it. You, and apparently, many others, in turn do not have to accept what NPR decided.

Its all part of the beauty of a free society. Most societies don't have anywhere close to these freedoms.

Dromedary Hump said...

I couldn't agree more. Totally within their rights.

longhorn believer said...

Hump, I agree with you that Williams' statement was not racist or meant to be hateful. He was simply stating the facts of how he felt. I think it was an over reaction on NPR's part to fire him over it. However, I do respect the fact that NPR tries to distinguish themselves from the cable news shows. They are a credible and trust worthy fact gathering organization. They try to keep their opinions out of the news as much as humanly possible. And they don't go around hosting rallies and creating the news themselves. I certainly think they over reacted, but I think saying you will never support NPR again because of one mistake is an over reaction as well. Think about what our choices are for news these days. Think about how important accurate news and good journalism is to the health of our democracy! We need more news sources that hold themselves to good standards and practices. We certainly don't want to get rid of one of the few that we have over one incident. If a pattern develops showing consistent poor judgment, THEN I will consider with drawing my support from NPR. But I won't do it over this ONE bad decision

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn... lets not make the mistake of thinkig there are two kinds of news sources: NPR or Fox. There are any number of sources for news for the discerning person to access, evaluate, accept, or reject.

That said: I reject the concept that NPR is the sole beacon of truth and light in a vast darkness of lies and distortion; that it is about to be extinguised by the witholding of membership fees... mine or the many thousands of other exmembers.

If NPR had a long standing problem with Williams' duel allegences, they have a legal dept that could have severed the contract for conflict of interest; or couldhave put in a clause prohibiting him from appearing elsewhere. They don't seem to have severed their ties with Williams for those reasons. They lived with it for some time.

Instead, they waited to drop the shoe because of a statement that not only was innocuous, not only representative probably 95% of flying Americans sensitivities; not only was qualified on the fox show by Williams as an embarrassment to himself that he feels that way; but NPR then went onto imply his nervousness about traditionally garbed muslims on an airplane was "..between Mr. Williams and his psychiatrist."

This is PCness at its worst. It's extremist liberal head in the sand hyper sensitivity to reason and logic.

Would I renew my membership? Sure, when they come out and admit the firing was for reasons other than Williams' truthful sharing of his feelings; when they fire the woman who dismissed Williams; and when they apologize to their members who share the same fears william's expressed for implying we are all unbalanced for fearing muslims on our airplanes in the light of the threat of Islamic terrorism world wide.

Hey, I like the Car Guys as much as anyone. But I don't knowingly support hypocricy. To do so would make me a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

"the hypocrisy of people who likely share the exact same perspective Mr. Williams expressed."

Totally. I admire Juan's honesty and respect him for his courage to say exactly what's on everyone's mind (probably even non-militant Muslim's minds).

This is the reality. He verbalized it. That said, if we verbalized everything we were honestly thinking at any particular moment....yikes.

Larry Lipit0r said...

Just put yourself in the situation where a bunch of muslims board the jet you are on.... what would you do? I would be headed for the exit, there is no way I would stay on board.... no freaking way. When I am walking the street and a woman in a burqa appears, I head the other way as quickly as possible. Paranoia? probably, whatever

The Evolved Atheist said...

I have to agree with the camel here. NPR should not have fired Juan Williams for speaking his opinion. I thought most of all of the shows on NPR were taped anyways If they didn't like what he said just delete the tape. Firing someone for speaking there mind is censorship. If they fired him for Other non related incidents or several marks on a record that it would be justifiable but to fire someone for stating the truth, well that's Bullshit.

Julia said...

I agree with you on all counts and did the same thing you did sending my email to my local Public Radio Station. I got the usual B.S. reply that it wasn't them that the problem was in D.C.
The way I see it this attitude tells me a lot about how NPR thinks or doesn't think. They are knee jerk reactionaries more worried about their politically correctness towards muslims than truth. I am sure there were other issues involved than I am privy to that got Juan into trouble. This personal opinion aired by Juan just gave them a way to solve two alleged problems.

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks for your feedback everyone. On facebook I was roundly bitch slapped for my unenlightened and bigoted endorsement of mr williams' open expression of nervousness.

One very Liberal fb friend said that williams is simply a bigot. then, after a tirade against my adamant position that he was justified she added this:

"... we might THINK what he thought but we don't SAY IT OUT LOUD!!! "We might act on our thoughts by keeping distance and avoiding the objects of our nervousness but we don't SAY IT OUT LOUD. "

(the capitalization is her's)

She didnt even realize how utterly stupid she sounded, and that she confirmed exactly what the far left liberal and npr stance is deep down: "Yep, he makes sense, but lets not tell anyone how we really feel. That would be bad."

Classic Liberalism, Classic PCness, classic hipocrisy.

longhorn believer said...

Now Hump, tsk tsk! You totally exaggerated in your characterization of what I said. I didn't say anything about NPR being the "sole beacon of truth" or that there are only two kinds of news sources. What I saaaid wuz.... good journalism is important to a healthy democracy, and we need a counter to news organizations that don't practice good journalistic standards. Of course there are many sources of news, but not very many good ones anymore. Just to be clear, I'm not just hatin' on FOX. For my part, neither FOX nor MSNBC practice good standards. NPR doesn't want their reporters expressing personal opinions. They have a right to hold their employees to that standard. I agree they could have handled it better. I agree they could have been more forth coming about their reasons.  And I happen to agree specifically with what Mr. Williams said, and I don't think it was racist or out of line. But saying this is PCness at its worst- I bet you could find worse examples if you tried. So you want an apology, right? Because they supposedly implied some of their listeners are unbalanced? I hope you're only with holding your support, and not holding your breath :-)  Because if they apologized every time somebody got their feelings hurt, that's all they would be doing. Of course you have the right to protest by withdrawing your monetary support. More power to ya! But personally, I think this is a bit of a tempest in a tea cup.   

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn... exaggeration is a wayof making my point. Of course you didnt say NPR was the sole provider of unslanted news. My point was made, however.

Yes, perhaps a tempest in a tea cup. But if all the attention their actions have garnered makes them think twice before taking PC driven actions, and making stupid comments as justification for them, then it was worth it.

PS: i have never watched a single Fox talking head show in my life. I never watch their news (I prefer NBC). I have heard Juan Williams speak maybe 1/2 dozen times on NPR and I am not particularly enamored of him. I just dispise this kowtowing to muslim sensitivities and political correctness that pervades the left.

Dromedary Hump said...


I share your beliefs and values: Religion, social liberal, moderate independent. (although the terms are vague).

I am not sure I understand, fully, your point. If there was a black person on a bus in the 50's, would I be robbed? We both know that we can extend this logic throughout history.

Racial profiling? I think not

Political correctness: I agree: Bullshit. But, NPR attempts to report objectively. I said tries. Political bias is healthy. Racial profiling........?

I accept the right (and necessity) to express conservative views...heck, even the expression of religious views. I accept the need to exercise caution before walking in certain ares.

In no way should we allow religion to interfere will public matters (delaying a plane takeoff or preventing me to take a dump by someone praying in the aisle).

Spreading a message of hate and fear is wrong. So is political correctness. There is a balance and personally, when the message is hate and fear, I am opposed.

All Nazi's are Bad - yup. All muslims (sic) are to be feared? I think not.

Social liberals should spread a positive message. NPR reports (hopefully) with neutrality (albeit that is virtually impossible). Free speech is paramount, but when that freedom cultivates malevolence and islamphobia, I believe it is an inappropriate use of our freedom. Vigilance has its place. The religious right may be skeptical of atheists. That's OK with me. I hold most people who call themselves 'religious' in disdain: Hypocrites. BUT ATHEISTS ARE (can be) MORAL and we both know that religion and morality do not go hand in hand.

Note: muslim is spelled with a small "m" as indication of my disrespect for religion (in general), or at least the imposition thereof.

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks Casper.

To your analogy of a black man on a bus in the 50's; lets do this in order to get parity with the issue at hand:

If for 25 yrs there were a world wide conspiracy by terrorist cells of black men, who have caused mass bombings, and who have targeted and killed thousands on buses, you would be perfectly correct in being "nervous" about boarding that bus. You can insert any race, religion or other identifier you like in place of "black men" and it would still be true.

Thus, your proposed "black man on a bus in the 50's" doesn't approach the real and present danger of the issue at hand, thus, fear of him would bee irrational. There would be nothing irrational about being apprehensive of black men on buses in the scenario I outlined.

My point is clear I think: it is human nature derived from the instinct for survival to be discerning or..if you prefer.. to be discriminating between those things we have observed/ learned are more prone to cause(but not necessarily guarenteed to cause) a negative effect on ones well being than those things that do not, or those things that are neutral to ones well being.

That's why you likely don't go for drinks in a known biker bar hangout, and prefer your local tavern instead. That’s why you don't take your child trick or treating in the highest crime area of your town. Not because those bikers are typically white.. not because the high crime area has a lot of [ insert any race, religion or ethnic group name here] ; simply because you know , from history and experience,that it's not in your best interest.

Will you be guaranteed to be injured in that biker bar or in that high crime area? No, of course not. But you’ve been conditioned to avoid them; reason and self preservation are strong driving forces. If you went to that bar or bad neighborhood I'd bet dollars to donuts you'd be "nervous"..and not be afraid to say so. You'd be insane or stupid NOT to harbor that anxiousness.

Bottom line:
- Those who will say : " Well, it's ok to feel that way... just don't speak of it openly" are PC hypocrites for whom I have zero respect.
- Those who will disclaim any propensity toward discriminating / discerning for any reason... even saying they WOULD feel just as comfortable in a biker bar as in their neighborhood tavern.. are liars (unless they are themselves are Hells Angels, et al). They are phonies.
- Those who would condemn anyone for their justifiable discernment / discrimination predicated on real and not invented experiential threat, and suggest such people who do are in need of psychiatric attention, are fools.

That’s it. That’s my whole point.
Hope that clarifies it.

Roy said...

The problem is our reliance on sound bites. I can construct a few conversations where Juan would say this in the context of rationalizing bigotry, which would be inappropriate. Or in the context of admitting a slightly irrational fobia, as in confessing a fear of sharks when body surfing in the ocean. Nothing wrong with this. Not sure why he would want to publically admit such an weakness in calculating the degree of risk, but I didn't hear the entire conversation.

I find our fixation on terrorism very odd, given the odds of it impacting our lives. Cholesterol, now that's something to ponder...

Dromedary Hump said...

Roy, there were fewer deaths at Pearl Harbor in 1941 than there were on 9/11, yet it was enough to put us at war w/ the Axis powers.

Something about the wanton murder of Americans, on our soil, that tends to rub folks the wrong way. Hey, go figure.

I'll ponder the cholesterol issue. If I can link it to religion it may have some blog value.

Roy said...

I have now listened to Juan’s original statements and his subsequent explanations. Firing him was ridiculous, and has seriously impacted NPR’s credibility. Of course he was not advocating bigotry or encouraging discrimination against all Muslims. Just a statement of fear based on 9/11, an admission that terrorism actually works. And it works because we humans are notoriously bad at calculating risks, and give too much weight to sensational events. Not psychotic, just slightly (and forgivably) irrational. It also works to bait us into hatred and bigotry, which advances the terrorist cause, which is conflict.

I’m sure you know that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not an act of terrorism, but designed to destroy our Pacific fleet preemptively, based on the assumption that our entry into the war was inevitable. The 9/11 attacks were pure terrorism. And yes, Juan, they worked…they have led to fear, discrimination, bigotry, and two wars.

Dromedary Hump said...

Ray...agree with your post, largely.

yes, I am aware of the japanese intent on 12/7/41 but it doesn't make any diffence. The lives of those service people, and the lives of the almost 3000 on 911, were snuffed out by aggressive fanatics. Whether to destroy our pacific fleet, or to destroy our morale and infrastructure the effect on those peoples existence, and their families is the same. And both were an act of war. a nut shell, and to your quandry: thus the "war on terror" inspite of the greater statistical impact of cholesterol or diabetes or heart disease on American's lives.