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NPR vs. Fox News: Juan Williams firing reveals deeper media fight

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Newscom

(Read caption) NPR headquarters in Washington, DC. Public radio's firing of Juan Williams highlight's NPR's contentious relationship with Fox News.

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NPR's firing of news analyst Juan Williams couldn’t come at a worse time for public radio.

Not only did it occur in the midst of on-air fund-raising by many public radio stations, it also happened just as controversial figures connected to NPR and Fox News – liberal philanthropist George Soros and conservative commentator Glenn Beck– are engaged in a harsh rhetorical fight.

Fox News is Mr. Williams’ other employer and the place where he made his controversial statement about Muslims. Mr. Soros recently donated $1.8 million to NPR, seen by conservative critics (and certainly by Mr. Beck) as proof (a) that NPR is a liberal mouthpiece and (b) that billionaire Soros pressured NPR to get rid of Williams.

“Up until then, opinions by NPR correspondents and analysts had been expressed in abundance, but Williams' statement on Fox, because it was expressed on Fox, amounted to apostasy,” editorializes Investor’s Business Daily. “The firing sends a message that Fox is beyond the pale and must be silenced.”

The fall-out from William’s dismissal has been sharp and swift, and it’s likely to continue.

On NPR’s web site, ombudsman Alicia Shepard reported that thousands of comments had caused the organization’s “Contact Us” form to crash.

“The overwhelming majority are angry, furious, outraged,” she wrote. “They want NPR to hire him back immediately. If NPR doesn't, they want all public funding of public radio to stop. They promise to never donate again. They are as mad as hell, and want everyone to know it. It was daunting to answer the phone and hear so much unrestrained anger.”

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