Muzzled is Juan Williams' report on his much-publicized firing from National Public Radio, apparently because he said it was hard not to see people getting on a plane "in Muslim garb" and not be concerned that they identified themselves so strongly with their religion. This, said Williams, is a natural reaction but we mustn't let it influence our view of moderate Muslims. This is a fairly frank statement and I think it reflects well on the reporter that he is aware of his own prejudices and consciously tries to avoid them. NPR didn't see it that way and fired him, abruptly, over the phone after many years on the air. His former boss then implied he was mentally unbalanced ("he should talk about that with his psychiatrist.") The resulting controversy was immense. That a medium that pays a man to talk about what he thinks should fire him for saying what he thinks (on another network and on another medium) seemed to many a symptom of "the assault on honest debate," as Williams puts it in his subtitle. An excellent, well-balanced, non-self-pitying book that deals with a great deal more than the author's own problem. Williams, by the way, landed on his feet with a long and lucrative contract with a TV channel.
2011 No 154