Media watchdog Brent Bozell is demanding a congressional investigation into National Public Radio’s firing of political analyst Juan Williams over allegedly offensive comments he made about Muslims.
As the firestorm continued to erupt from both the right and the left today over the firing from the partially publicly funded NPR, Bozell wrote a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who is ranking member of the committee, saying, “I’m writing to call on you to investigate this firing, and indeed what are the hiring and firing practices of this taxpayer-funded enterprise.”
Williams’ firing came in reaction to this comment during an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News: “I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, voiced outrage that such a comment could propel a reaction as severe as firing.
“A terrible injustice has been done to Mr. Williams,” Bozell wrote. “As one who has debated him many times, in many different forums, I will say unequivocally that while I might disagree with him on many things, I’ve always had the utmost professional and personal respect for Mr. Williams. He is a man of true integrity.”
To read the full text of Bozell’s letter to Waxman and Barton — Go Here Now.
Meanwhile, Williams, who also is a Fox News commentator, isn’t sitting around pouting. And Fox upped its own ante in the media hunt, signing Williams to a nice raise and a new three-year deal this morning, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The $2 million contract calls for Williams to appear exclusively and more often on Fox, as well as have a regular column on FoxNews.com.
The Times quoted Fox News Chief Executive Roger Ailes as saying, “Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997. He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis.”
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