Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Friday, October 22, 2010

If we call it a week, will it go away?

It's been a week at work.

Hypocrisy, while never in short supply, seems to be running high in conservative media. So far, not much about Mara Liasson who also works for NPR and appears on Fox. And there's also a strange silence about how NPR recently reminded their employees that they're not allowed to attend political rallies, including Jon Stewart's Stephen Colbert's rally. And lest we forget, their was all the monkey screaming over Dan Rather, but in the other direction.

And since we're entering the high spin zone heading into the election, here's some links that may help.
Politifact
FactCheck
and SourceWatch

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It took me a while to find this - thanks to getreligion.org for posting the link.

http: //www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/index.html#/v/4381309/factor-debate-over-danger-from-muslim-world/?playlist_id=86923

Do you think he should be fired for what he said in context of the discussion?

You posted a provocative link and I've been thinking about it. Sanchez, in the way he slammed his employers, pretty much guaranteed his firing. I don't think it was so much about religion as it was sheer disrespect.

The Helen Thomas example is more problematic. She's spoken about her anti-Israel feelings before this, but I think the situation/location where she spoke and its subsequent youtubing that led to her resignation/firing. It seemed like bad judgment on her part, but in retrospect, should she have been removed from the WH press corps? I don't know.

What I have seen was a painful discussion with Nina Totenburg (why is she still working there? Her comments about Jesse Helms was completely unacceptable in any forum, in any context) on Inside Washington http: //bob.wjla.com/abc7videopop.hrb?a=f&n=n&s=0&file=mms://video.wjla.com/wjla/insidewash102410.wmv

Nina makes a good point: the standards that NPR is trying to uphold are now archaic. Should Williams have been fired? Apparently his firing was not popular at NPR on the staff level, and the CEO, Vivian Shiller, went way past the line in comments she later apologized for. A nasty situation all around.

While I seriously intended to give WCPN some bucks at this fund drive, I didn't after this. I wonder if the stations saw a change in funding either direction - supporters of Williams withholding and others giving extra in support of NPR's action.

Anonymous Cassie, who does listen to NPR and has since Carter was a candidate for president, and does not watch much FOXnews because she doesn't get cable.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Cassie, the problem isn't really what he actually sad, but that his position and credibility with NPR as an news analyst could be jeopardized by sharing that personal statement. Also, it's not the first time Juan ran afoul of that policy, and not the first time he was disciplined for "wandering off the reservation."

And I do believe it was handled poorly, however the spin around it (mostly on Fox) is just ridiculous. The line about NPR "looking for an excuse" to fire him because he's on Fox is just crazy on the face of it. Also, good of him to give them an excuse. But if they wanted to fire him, they would just let his contract run out and not renew. Or not utilize him (plant him at a desk and give him busy work, but no airtime). Also, there's been a few other NPR analysts and commentators (which I believe is Mara's position at NPR) on Fox, and yet they're not fired. So, no, it's that Juan kept crossing a line and the top brass finally got tired of it.

Not that how they handled it was any better.

Also, for Nina's comments, 1) yeah, not very good, but Nina is also a reporter (or correspondent), not an analyst so the rules are different and 2) 15 years ago NPR was under different management. It's possible those rules were either 1) not in effect or 2) not enforced by that management.

Anonymous said...

the problem isn't really what he actually sad, but that his position and credibility with NPR as an news analyst could be jeopardized by sharing that personal statement.

Yeah? Ask Shirley Sherrod about this.

Williams' comment was taken out of context, just as hers was. Once again, we have idiots in charge who are so hyper-sensitive that they fail to manage their businesses appropriately.

If NPR was all that concerned about "their" reputation, they could have demonstrated a bit of simple "put it in context". Frankly, NPR has a reservation that has nothing to do with journalistic integrity and everything to do with their brand. Williams was fired for that, not for what he said.

The proof will be in the pudding if Mara Liaison is still on Fox next year. They'll let her stay for a while, but I bet she'll have to make a choice. Without the cover of a very public firing and a subsequent offer from Fox, she'll stay put, and decline the Fox invitations.

You cannot seriously defend Totenberg's comments in any way. Calls for her to be fired started the NEXT DAY (I was listening) and tptb ignored them. "Different management" is supposed to overlook that kind of vicious, hateful comment? My only hope is that she's learned from it... But she still got cut a break that Williams was not given for far less offensive comments.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, you're also not seeing some of the context here. Different management tends to focus on different things, corporate culture differs with new management (having been with companies that have changed management, the difference can be startling). I'm not defending Totenberg, I'm just saying that the management at that time 1) may not have had that rule in place and 2) may have chosen not to enforce the rule if it was there (which the new management has decided to enforce this rule, probably as a reaction to the hyper polarization of media since 2000 and the fall out of previous management being too "political" - oddly enough in a conservative bent) and 3) she's in a different position that Juan WIlliams was (correspondent as compared to analyst).

Also, Juan, as I understand it, wasn't fired for what he said, but that he continued to express personal opinion in a public forum, endorsing a certain point of view while being employed in a position that had an explicit rule against such (that is, his position as analyst must need at least the veil of impartiality). Shirley Sherrod was not in such a position (we can also view her situation as a "forced error" ie. manipulation of video vs. Juan WIlliams was an unforced error).

And, again, I'll point to the memo NPR sent out reminding employees to not attend public political rallies (in this case, the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies). For all those who would rail in this case, it's a stronger case to rant against that (stifling political speech in an off-time capacity) for censorship.

Considering Liasson is a "correspondent," the rules covering her are slightly different than the "analysts" (which Juan Williams was). It's a fine hair between them (especially in the modern age of journalism which intentionally confuses opinion with news), but it's still there. Also, it depends on what Liasson says and where while on the air of Fox and how she is referred to by the news organization. She appears on Fox as 1) a political correspondent (the same position she has with NPR) and on Fox's News shows (as compared to their "entertainment" which O'Reilly's and Hannity's shows belong, which was what got WIlliams in trouble).

Steve Buchheit said...

Again, not saying Juan WIlliam's firing was "right" or prudent, but the spin is totally out of control.

Anonymous said...

We agree on that.

I think I'm mostly bothered because 1) nobody learned from the Sherrod debacle

and

2) I'm a long-time NPR listener. I expect them to behave better.

AC

Steve Buchheit said...

I agree on both points.

Steve Buchheit said...

Just as an extra word about this regarding Juan Williams. Seems he hasn't always been such a proponent of "free speech=saying whatever I want".
http://www.juancole.com/2010/10/williams-supported-imus-firing-censoring-of-rap-music.html