“When I get on a plane … if I see people who are in Muslim garb, I get worried”

This isn’t a political blog, but today the world of journalism, politics and travel intersected for a brief moment when National Public Radio fired news analyst Juan Williams for comments made on the O’Reilly Factor.

Here’s what he said:

Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

Before I continue, a few disclaimers: I’ve done some work for NPR in the past, both as a commentator and an independent producer. It isn’t the easiest news organization to work for, but there are a lot of great journalists and editors at NPR. And a few bad ones, too.

I’m also a regular public radio listener, and lately, I haven’t been too thrilled with what I’ve heard. Not because it’s left-leaning — it sometimes is, but so what? — but because it’s just plain boring. NPR will die with terrestrial radio unless it can rediscover its own greatness.

Anyway, when it comes to Williams, a commentator whose work I’ve followed and admired since he hosted Talk of the Nation, I’m not sure what NPR was thinking. I’m not even sure if it was thinking.
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