Don't be a crybaby
Yesterday I listened to Juan Williams talk on Diane Rehm’s show about his abrupt dismissal from National Public Radio, and last night The Sun’s David Zurawik filed an article after interviewing Mr. Williams, who said yesterday, “I’m not even sure what I did wrong.”
Perhaps I can be of help. The remark that got him fired, the proximate cause, that seeing people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes made him nervous, was, without regard for journalistic ethics, richly stupid. Someone’s comment that he understood Juan Williams because ever since Timothy McVeigh, the sight of white men in trucks has made him nervous, which might help you put Mr. Williams’s remark in perspective.
So Mr. Williams might at least express some mild regret for his minor contribution to anti-Muslim bigotry.
But what comes through most clearly in his public statements is that Mr. Williams feels wronged, shabbily treated by NPR, and eager for our sympathy for his plight. You will recall that on the afternoon of his dismissal from NPR, Mr. Williams signed a $2 million contract with Fox News. As someone once abruptly dismissed from a media job and reduced to scratching around for freelance work for twelve months, I am not soaking my pillow with tears over the injury to Mr. Williams’s pride. Look around and you can see many people turned out of their jobs for reasons less compelling.
My own sentiment is that Mr. Williams might benefit from a little manning up. Instead of touring the outlets and venues to whinge about how mean NPR was to him, he could comport himself with a little more dignity. After all, NPR, whatever the merits of its dismissal of Mr. Williams, has taken a huge hit for the gracelessness of the manner in which it sacked him. He has admirers and partisans and advocates. Let them manage the clamor.