What Did Ellen Weiss Do Wrong?

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Will Saletan asks the important question about NPR's opaque and defensive behavior in the Juan Williams/Ellen Weiss debacle:

According to NPR board chairman Dave Edwards, as paraphrased in today's Washington Post, the board "played no role in the departure of Ms. Weiss," and "personnel decisions were up to" NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. Schiller was clearly involved in the Williams incident as well. As the New York Times points out, Weiss "said that she had not been the only participant in the decision." Yet for unexplained reasons, Schiller wasn't pushed out. When the Post contacted her about Weiss, Schiller "declined to comment on the resignation. She called it a private matter." In a statement to NPR employees, Schiller refused to elaborate on the board's miserably vague statement about its review of the Williams case. She wrote: "There is no written 'report' aside from this statement, which summarizes the overall outcome of the Weil review. This is typical for this kind of outside review."

That's it. That's all NPR is saying about Weiss. A vague, implicit acknowledgment that Williams was fired without clear application of consistent rules--and, simultaneous with that acknowledgment, the ouster of Weiss without clear application of consistent rules.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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