Mr. Williams was a “lightning rod” for the public radio organization in part because he “tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox.
I don’t suppose many people will be focusing on this tidbit in the Juan Williams story, but I found it extremely interesting.
I think we all understand what is being implied here, right?
The FOX editorial voice is more conservative and the NPR one is more liberal. I don’t think we’re going to have any disagreement on this point.
So what the speaker of this quote (Alicia C. Shepard, NPR’s ombudswoman) was objecting to is that Williams dared to discern that difference in voice and perhaps audience composition and adjust his commentary accordingly.
Is there something inherently wrong with this? Do we not do this all the time in our daily lives? When describing an event to, say, your spouse and then describing the event to your boss, would you use the exact same narrative? I don’t think so. You might give your spouse more colorful, personal details. On the other hand, if the event is somehow related to your business, you might give the boss more technical information that you might know your spouse isn’t interested in.
Politicians do this all the time and I don’t see anyone “firing” them for telling one interest group one thing and turning around and telling another something that’s almost the polar opposite.
What the real question might be is: which Juan Williams is saying what he truly feels? Will the real Juan Williams please stand up?
Now I’m about to possibly blow your mind…. wait for it…. what if they are BOTH the real Juan Williams? Is it not possible for a person to hold what could be viewed as opposing viewpoints on different issues? Is it not possible for someone to be personally conflicted on some matters?
Haven’t you experienced this yourself? Think of an issue and how you generally feel about it. Now, can you somewhat understand the opposing viewpoint even if you don’t fully agree with it? That’s called being a normal human I think.
So why should Juan Williams have to pay for being human?