There’s a lot of virtual ink being virtually spilled regarding NPR’s decision to fire Juan Williams for, well, speaking his mind and airing his personal biases. Unless the story becomes more interesting or complicated, this is probably all the time I’m going to devote to it.
My thoughts: Color me unsurprised. NPR was probably actively looking for an excuse to let Williams go, due to his status as a contributor on Fox News, and especially on Bill O’Reilly’s show. They found their (weak and hypocritical) excuse, and did so.
For a more in depth discussion, I will yield to the words of Doc Zero, who attributes it to the preference cascade:
a preference cascade occurs when people trapped inside a manufactured consensus suddenly realize that many other people share their doubts. Preference falsification works by making doubters feel isolated and alone. In a totalitarian society, the dissenter fears that if he speaks up, his will be a lone voice, easily squashed by the enforcers of the regime. When dissenters realize they are not alone, and the true strength of their numbers becomes apparent, “invincible” regimes vanish with astonishing speed. The same effect can occur without brutal oppression, when fear of ostracism and ridicule cause people to suppress their own doubts. This kind of preference falsification requires strict discipline from the makers of opinion.
A credentialed, taxpayer-supported NPR liberal cannot be allowed to question this consensus. It will shatter too easily if the clients of liberalism begin connecting dots between underwear bombers and pistol-packing Army psychiatrists. They cannot be left to nod quietly in agreement with the earnest musings of Juan Williams… then look around the room and see all the other faithful liberals nodding at the same time. It’s especially threatening when you consider the enormous increase in audience Williams gains by appearing on Fox News. He wasn’t just an employee of NPR. He was well on his way to becoming the public face of the organization, and his prominence would only increase in the wake of a November wave that destroys the relevance of his peers. This would put him in a position to threaten even more leftist dogma with mild questions. Liberalism has no shortage of fragile beliefs.
Juan Williams came too close to understanding ideas he was supposed to hate. The Left is deathly afraid of what happens when its constituents begin to understand the Right. They didn’t like the idea of millions watching an NPR contributor break the biohazard seal on strictly quarantined ideas.