One part of the picture that's missing here is that the journalistic landscape has changed. Now, news anchors on all three of the news networks regularly offer commentary on the stories that they're reading off the teleprompter. You can't watch CNN without John Roberts or Tony Harris scoffing at something. And while Fox may have started the smearing of the line between news and punditry, CNN and MSNBC just as surely have stuck their fingers on the painting. That distinction is so blurred now that Wolf Blitzer seems quaint in his attempts to keep objectivity against a full-blown Cafferty assault.
If you're gonna blur that line, if you're gonna encourage your news people to mouth off, if you're gonna tell your commentators to push the boundaries, then don't be surprised if they say something offensive. It's like if you have a lover who wants you to do all kinds of crazy, kinky stuff to him: shoving huge dildos in his ass, stomping his balls, making him wear nipple clamps and a cock ring, jacking him off while he hangs by hooks through his skin, shitting on his chest. But then you punch him in the face and he says, "Whoa, whoa, too far" and breaks it off. How the hell were you to know what was too far at that point? Rick Sanchez's show was essentially about what giant self-righteous douchebag Rick Sanchez was. And they were surprised when he acted like a giant self-righteous douchebag elsewhere? And Williams has said tons of backwards ass shit on Fox over the years, most recently about the Park 51 community center, which he emphatically opposes.
Free speech ain't pretty. It's not supposed to be. But as long as it doesn't get in the way of you doing the job that you have been hired to do, the only combat for it ought to be more speech. And, sure, in the abstract, NPR has a right to fire someone they find offensive, but you know what else it could have done? A story about how a pretty smart guy (even if you disagree with him) can have the kinds of fears and prejudices that Williams talked about. But that would have been more about exploring an issue than having a knee-jerk reaction to anything that might piss off people. NPR was looking for a way to get rid of Williams. Mara Liasson better watch her ass.
NPR and F**Noise are incompatible, to say the least. F** no doubt pays better and I'm sure the gasbags would rather get fired from NPR.
If they bunch up in one place, we can get 'em all with one round.