This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
America generally deals with touchy questions involving minorities in one of two ways: politely tip-toeing around them or ranting mindlessly.
A third option – tackling the questions head on, but thoughtfully – can be dangerous, as Juan Williams found out last week.
NPR’s executives have been coming up with expanding rationales for summarily firing the distinguished longtime analyst last week. He’s been off the tracks for a long time, they’ve said, crossing the line from analysis to commentator and riling up listeners over his appearances on Fox News.
Last Wednesday, though, the story was clean and simple: Williams had spoken the unspeakable. The firing offense was saying, “When I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
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