BY VAN D. HIPP, JR. – Just when you thought you’d heard and seen it all from National Public Radio (NPR), the taxpayer-funded mouthpiece of the liberal movement outdid itself last week. With its shameful and very public dismissal of respected news analyst Juan Williams, NPR managed to accomplish a feat thought unimaginable: lose what little journalistic credibility it still maintained.
Calls for NPR to be stripped of federal subsidies are on target. More immediately, NPR should be removed from the airwaves of the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRN) post haste. The brave servicemen and women who risk their lives defending our freedoms and rights, including the First Amendment of our Constitution, deserve better and should not be subjected to the propaganda produced by a leftist group masquerading as a news organization.
NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller’s decision to fire Juan Williams over his honest and candid expression of thought in a post-9/11 world is troubling. The fact that her actions shocked so many conservative and liberal Americans alike is also telling. Chiefly, it’s evidence that regardless of politics, open discussion and dialogue which include different points of view are still valued as contributing factors to a healthy and free society. I guess Ms. Schiller didn’t get that memo.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that ultra-liberal financier George Soros recently gave a donation of $1.8 million to NPR to fund 100 new reporters. This contribution follows Soros’ $1 million donation to the Democrat attack outfit, Media Matters for America, to help spew more venom against Fox News and other media outlets that don’t tow the party line. So while Ms. Schiller accepts buckets of money from George Soros on behalf of NPR with one hand, she relieves Juan Williams of his position with the other. Welcome to the world through the eyes of Vivian Schiller and NPR where cause and conflict are very much subject to convenience.
I have met Juan Williams on several occasions and he has always impressed me as a very thoughtful and genuinely decent person. In his columns and on-the-air commentary, he consistently presents himself as someone with whom you can disagree without being disagreeable. Unfortunately, Juan learned what $1.8 million from George Soros yields – a solidified left-wing ideology at NPR and the silencing of open-minded liberals who still believe in free thought, open discourse and First Amendment principles. And through her mean-spirited and despicable comments that Juan Williams should consult a psychiatrist for his remarks, we all learned more about Vivian Schiller and her complete and utter lack of character.
The Armed Forces Radio Network states that its purpose is to show that “we as Americans support our Military.” These heroes are provided sports, news, music and entertainment programs through AFRN and it serves to remind them that no matter where they are deployed, we support them. The privilege for any organization to be broadcast on AFRN comes with a responsibility to maintain professional standards. In the case of NPR, it is a responsibility that has not been met and a privilege that must be revoked.
As for the latest sad saga at NPR, Juan Williams stands as the real winner. He walks away with his credibility, honor and integrity well intact – all characteristics NPR sacrificed at the altar of political correctness long ago. And about NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, maybe she had the right idea after all about purging NPR of an employee run amuck. Only, she didn’t need to scapegoat a dissenting voice on the payroll to find the right person – just one good look in the mirror would have done just fine.
Van D. Hipp Jr. is Chairman of American Defense International, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development and public relations. He is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army. Since the September 11th attacks on the United States, Mr. Hipp has appeared on the Fox News Channel well over 400 times as an expert commentator on the War on Terror.