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COLUMN: Robinson is paid to express his opinion

Letter by Dick Ammerman, Gig Harbor on Nov. 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm with 15 Comments »
November 8, 2010 3:57 pm

The author of the letter (TNT, 11-6) claiming that Eugene Robinson’s racism should be cause for losing his job misses the distinction between columnists and reporters.

Columnists are paid to express their opinions, while reporters are paid to be impartial and report only the news. So there is not really a parallel between Juan Williams losing his job at NPR and Robinson. However, I think there is still a huge debate about whether or not Williams should have lost his job over his ill-advised comments on Bill O’Reilly’s program.

Williams appeared on O’Reilly’s program as a guest, not in his role as an NPR commentator. In these sorts of situations, an opinion may not be totally out of bounds. I think Williams’ firing left NPR with a black eye.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. Freedom of speech is just that. The freedom to express one’s opinions, not just the politely correct ones.

    And not only was Williams expressing his opinions, he did so in a clear, concise, non-vitriolic manner.

    I did not even know he worked for NPR until he was fired.

  2. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Robinson’s continual whining about a multitude of race issues does not validate them or make sense in todays environment!! He is the little voice for the reparations brigade!! Ignore him and he will go away!

  3. subcaller says:

    “Ill advised”? Mr. Williams’ comments were not ill advised, they were honest and accurate. Most people, if they were honest (as opposed to NPR) would admit to the same thoughts. To deny that in the name of political correctness is dishonest.

  4. beerBoy says:

    Again – pointing out what one feels is racist does not make one a racist.

  5. aislander says:

    It may not make him a racist, beerBoy, but it DOES make him a bully…

  6. I read Mr. Robinson’s columns and sometimes agree and sometimes don’t and it was the same with Mr. Williams. I enjoyed listening to him on NPR and I agree with the letter writer that firing Williams makes NPR look bad. I listened to his interview on FOX and he even said he sholdn’t feel the way he did, he wasn’t proud of it. Given the interview in total I still don’t understand NPR’s position. While many of us might feel the way Williams does, on an airplane with a Muslum in their full regalia, another thought that makes our fear response seem a little silly is that the terrorist who is really trying to blow up the plane is going to be trying to look as all American as he or she possibly can.

  7. And NPR is objective and non-biased? That’s not the impression I got when I used to listen to it. If one can detect the “reporters” political leanings, they are not unbiased. Williams sin was that he was on Fox, which has a different bias than NPR’s. Otherwise, George Soros wouldn’t contribute 1.8 million to it.
    Case closed.

  8. MarksonofDarwin says:

    Well said jwm.

  9. xring – Paid speech is not protected by free speech.

  10. Good point jwm, and your understanding of the whole Juan Williams thing is what I wished for everybody, but alas….

  11. Roncella says:

    Its really amazing that as one newpaper after the other goes out of business they keep putting the likes of PittsJr., Extreme Leftest Liberal, and Robinson just as liberal and extreme :Progressive in all his writings I have read with their truly biased opinion pieces.

    The very least the newpaper could do, is offer a consevative viewpoint on the same page with them to give some fair and balance reporting and opinions for the newspaper. The papers just might gain more readers and sales and profit.

    Just maybe more newspapers might make it in the news market competion of cable and computers and all the rest if they would offer a more fair and balanced news reporting, instead of all the extreme liberal reporting and opinion.

  12. Roncella – try reading the TNT.

  13. Beer Boy – speech is speech, paid for or not, it is still protected,

  14. An employer who pays you for wordsmithing can decide to not pay you for wordsmithing.

    Free speech is about the government, not private industry.

  15. “At will” employees can be fired without any reason. We have very few rights as employees.

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