Fired Up Over Firing

     Early Saturday morning, in the wake of the Juan Williams/ NPR scandal, at the annual Journalism & Women Symposium camp, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard stepped up to the plate and the podium for an unrehearsed discussion of the case.

         “I don’t believe in off the record,” Shepard said. “The mike is never off.” Shepard went on to explain that she is independent of NPR as the ombudsman. “I am not speaking for NPR.”

     Putting the controversy into context, Shepard said, “No one is let go on just one action.” She added, “This is about a relationship between a news analyst and a network. You cannot say something on another venue that you would not say on NPR.”

    Williams was fired from NPR for comments he made on Fox to Bill O’Reilly. Blogs and media are percolating with opinion both measured and absurd about what was done, what should have been done, what was said and what should not have been said.

     I’m with Shepard here, who for the record and to give context,  is a friend.

    “Context is an important element in journalism,” she said Saturday at the impromptu JAWS discussion.

    I agree. And it’s what I try to teach my students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. And what I do in all my stories. So let’s not violate that missive oursleves.

   Oh, and for the record? The only people who made me nervous on my flight from San Antonio to Dallas, with a brief lapse before connection to Chicago, were the ones who took too much time retrieving their overhead luggage. I had a few minutes to get from Concourse D to Concourse A, a long way to run and a lot on my mind.

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1 Comment

Filed under Features, Media, News, Newspapers

One response to “Fired Up Over Firing

  1. The Juan Williams saga has surfaced a series of significant issues and observations from a number of concerns and considerations in various Black venues of America. I have no reservations about the nature of Juan’s comments from my vantage point as an activist his words were blatant bigotry and troubling given a nation like ours with a tortured legacy of negrophobia of late frequent incidents of islamophobia.

    Just as troubling as Juan’s words were the remarks of Vivian Schiller NPR’s CEO her comments that Juan should consult a psychiatrist were as lethal as the hate speech uttered by Juan Williams. Yet I have yet to observe the Trotter Group or the African -American Online folks challenge, confront and/or publish any commentaries regarding Schiller’s venom.

    The Trotter Group and the AA Online summit folks both have allowed the Obama white house to used them as conduits in outreach ventures now that Obama’s is in a meltdown and the midterm elections are on the calendar YET when Black activists and others are under siege by the character assignations on our mental faculties I have observed nothing but silence and avoidance from the collective clout of the Black media outlets in particular The Trotter Group and the AA Online summit folks.

    In the area of civil rights and economic initiatives Black activists have always been on the vanguard and suffered every measure of venom and inhumanity from the majority culture. Our roles have produced as much progress and accomplishments as any sector of the Black community in America.

    Again I reiterate why the silence from Black media outlets when whites demonize Black men who dared to have an opinion. When can Black activists expect the Black media to come to our assistance as they did for Obama?????

    We hurt to when the hurricane of venom and ridicule rains on us 24/7.

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