Juan Williams, Cont.

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Whether Williams should have been fired is a separate question from my last post. Here is what I wrote initially. On reflection, I think James Fallows is much closer to the mark:


First, I think that the NPR leadership made a mistake in appearing to fire Williams in a snit, rather than not renewing his contract, at the next opportunity, because of longstanding differences in journalistic values*. NPR's Vivian Schiller was also wrong to crack that Williams should keep his views of Muslims to "his psychiatrist." 

The point here is that Williams and NPR had been in conflict for quite some time, and they were a bad fit. Knowing that, I wasn't particularly shocked or dismayed by the firing--and I still think it's perfectly defensible. But it would have been smarter to wait and simply not renew Williams' contract. The shot about Williams seeing "his psychiatrist" was foolish and did nothing to help make NPR's case.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/10/juan-williams-cont/65089/