NPR & Fox News:Two Sides of the Same Redneck Family

 

Bleech! I never thought I’d be saying this – I agree with Newt Gingrich. Calling NPR’s firing of Juan Williams “total censorship”, Newt suggested that Congress ought to consider cutting off NPR’s money.

Juan Williams had been a popular news analyst for public radio. Popular, that is, until NPR decided otherwise and canned his butt. Vivian Schiller, NPR’s head mucky-muck, not only tossed Juan Williams overboard, she let it be known that as far as she was concerned Mr. Williams never belonged in the same NPR lifeboat as her. He was never really one of them. “Juan is not an employee of NPR,” she said. “He’s an independent contractor. He’s not NPR staff. He’s an NPR analyst.”   

Make that was. He was an analyst up until that moment when he confessed to Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly that he feels a little bit anxious about getting on planes and seeing people dressed in traditional Muslim garb. Mr. Williams was not promoting such biases he was only admitting that he has them.

I have a confession of my own to make: I get nervous around rednecks at the 7-Eleven. That’s why I avoid 7-Elevens although I really like Slurpees. I’ve practically given up those cold ones as a matter of personal safety. You never can tell when a redneck is going to turn a rabid possum loose or whip out their dallywanger and take a leak in the parking lot in front of God and everybody. My buddy Jeff Foxworthy will likely be disappointed in me for admitting to my biases but Jeff’s not the kind of fellow who would outright disown me in public the way Ms. Schiller did Mr. Williams.

Personally, I think Ms. Schiller is about as low-class as they come and I grew up in a trailer park, which makes me a certified expert on low-class culture. How else can she explain her no-count remark that Mr. Williams ought to take up his anxieties with “his psychiatrist or his publicist – take your pick.”  

But cranky Old Newt isn’t the only dandy rallying around Mr. Williams. Sen. DeMint (R) of South Carolina has announced that he will introduce a bill to end federal funding for NPR. Okay, I agree, that might be a tad extreme but what do you expect from a man who thinks teachers who are gay or sexually promiscuous ought to be dismissed?  

DeMint and Old Newt are extremists of a conservative sort. Agreeing with the two of them about anything makes me want to slap myself hard. But as a long-time listener and supporter of public radio, I find this dismissal to be in appallingly bad taste. I cannot for one more minute allow NPR to preach Freedom of Speech to me when they are practicing the contrary when it comes to their own employees – independent contractor or otherwise.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be tuning into Bill O’Reilly for more of his pin-headed yammering anytime soon and I don’t care if Fox News turned around and hired Mr. Williams for $2 million.  As far as I’m concerned Fox News and NPR have become two-sides of the same redneck family.

They are practically kissing cousins.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

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  • Kris

    What the heck’s a dallywanger??? Ha ha ha.
    Also, Scot and I lived in a trailer for six years (two different trailers) after we were married. We thought we were in heaven when we put in air conditioning after 5 years. At least you only lived in one growing up. We lived in one as grown ups.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Kris: Dairy Queen does not make a dallywanger. They do, however, make Dillybars. I think living in two trailers as adults makes you and Scot more redneck than me.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    heh. heh. You said dallywanger. For the record, when I tinkle in the 7-11 parking lot, I go to the back. It’s the decent thing to do.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      James: I always took you for a gentleman. You’ve confirmed it.

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  • Scott Eaton

    Karen, as always this piece was insightful, funny, and educational too (word of the day: “dallywanger”).

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks, Scott. Glad it made you smile. My buddy John was getting worried that I’d misplaced my funny bone.

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  • http://communityofjesus.wordpress.com/ Ted M. Gossard

    Quite funny, Karen! I don’t know, maybe you’re right. NPR did say it was not the first time, and was a violation of their published (or at least, stated) policy. I do think they should have given him a chance to explain. And we always need to bend to put the best construction on what one says.

  • Ann F-R

    Karen, just an extra note to a very funny piece! You forgot to mention that, unless he changed his tune, DeMint only considered single women who were pregnant & gay men to be unfit teachers…not the heterosexual guys who were sexually active. So, does that mean that the getting-pregnant part is the real problem?

    I wouldn’t mind if the NPR CEO left for another job after her ill-considered remarks, and refusal to look at the context of Williams’ remarks. (Reminded me far too much of the knee-jerk USDA’s treatment of Sherrod.) Then, I could still send in my check and not have to hold my nose some of the time!

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  • Mary Cooke

    I am a huge NPR fan – everything from Diane Rehm to Science Friday – and my first thought was “what are they thinking?”. You would think they had better instincts about things like this.

  • http://www.garynelson.wordpress.com Gary

    Yeah, NPR really got their dallywanger caught in a vice on this one! NPR’s head mucky-muck did apologize over the weekend, but it was a late, lame attempt. She said they weren’t sorry for firing him, but she was sorry for the way she handled it, or mishandled it. By the way, an Icee or a Slush Puppie is a kissing cousin to the Slurpee. You don’t have to go into a 7-11 for one.

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