TaylorCarr.com A missed opportunity for NPR

A missed opportunity for NPR

Posted in In the News on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 6:13 am No Comments

This is the text of an e-mail I sent to Jim Paluzzi, the general manager of the Phoenix NPR station, KJZZ.

Dear Jim:

Thanks for the note from Annette and the note on the KJZZ home page regarding NPR’s reaction to the Juan Williams situation. I know this isn’t a problem you created.  But I think the primary way NPR gets a message is through its affiliates.

My concern is that firing Williams in this way merely reinforces a false negative stereotype about NPR. I do see NPR’s point about not wanting its analysts to cross the line into editorial commentary. But Williams presence on FOX News gave NPR credibility with some conservatives. His measured and even-handed style was a near-perfect representation of NPR’s approach to discourse. Williams presence on FOX gave the opportunity for MORE communication about what NPR stands for. Believe me, I’m no fan of FOX News, but it’s a huge mistake to stop communicating with those we disagree with. And I see this move as not only eliminating a channel of communication, but giving credence to the idea that NPR is only interested in promoting a liberal agenda.

I know, I know, it’s much more nuanced than that, and NPR will try to stand on the principles of “true journalism” and its assertion that Williams can’t be an analyst for NPR and a commentator somewhere else. But for the vast majority of the millions of people who hear this story, what they’ll hear is that NPR is so bent on pushing a liberal agenda that it will fire one of its top analysts for merely stating how he FEELS – not what he thinks, but how he feels.

Thanks for listening and for passing this along if possible.


Taylor Carr

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