NPR Chief Defends Decision to Fire Juan Williams
National Public Radio chief Vivian Schiller is standing by the organization's dismissal of senior news analyst Juan Williams. Williams was ousted Wednesday night following an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor in which he said he gets nervous when seeing people in Muslim garb on airplanes.
Schiller, NPR's president and CEO, told The New York Times that Williams was fired because "he had several times in the past violated our news code of ethics with things that he had said on other people's air." NPR states in the "outside work, freelancing, speaking engagements" section of its ethics code: "In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist."
Williams was warned about his transgressions after each instance that he failed to comply with company code, according to Schiller, who added, "at a certain point, if someone keeps not following your guidance, you have to make a break. And that's what we did."
NPR's dismissal of Williams raised the ire of several talk-show conservatives as well as some Republican lawmakers, who contend that Congress ought to stop using taxpayer money to fund the entity.
Williams, meanwhile, has accepted a $2 million offer to join the Fox News network.