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Juan Williams Bigotry: It's Not Just For Muslims Any More

Reported by Guest Blogger - March 19, 2011 -

Fox News and O'Reilly Factor guest host Juan Williams apparently thought they were going to have a spirited debate over one of Fox News' top legislative priorities (that just happens to be in line with the GOP's priorities):federal defunding of NPR. But liberal guest – and News Hounds Top Dog – Caroline Heldman caught Williams off guard when she didn't just advocate for public funding of NPR but confronted Williams on his “I get worried when I see people in Muslim garb on an airplane” comments that got him fired from NPR. Heldman compared the remarks to someone saying, “I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man.” Williams responded by saying that black men make him nervous, too

The discussion began with an attempt to smear Rep. Anthony Weiner who was seen in a video hilariously jabbing the Republicans by “thanking” them for getting rid of “Click and Clack.”

Williams began with the “fair and balanced” question that completely misinterpreted what Weiner meant: “When you see Anthony Weiner go off like this and suggest that somehow this is an attack on Click and Clack, do you think he's lost his mind or what?”

Heldman got it. She said Weiner was making “a very important point” that the GOP (and Fox News) is making defunding NPR “a priority when the world is falling down around us.”

The debate continued for several minutes – with “liberal” Williams taking the Fox News position that NPR should be defunded and conveniently ignoring the deceptive editing of the recently-released NPR-sting video (much ballyhooed by Fox) - even after Heldman noted the editing problems.

Then, at about 4:50, Heldman said to Williams, “I happen to agree with (NPR's Vivian) Schiller that your comments were bigoted. I think that if I were to say that I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man, that might resonate with a lot of Americans. It might be their truth but it's a bigoted statement.” However, she also emphasized that she “certainly wouldn't have fired” Williams for the comments.

Williams was astounded. Apparently, he's not used to anyone challenging him on Fox for uttering something conservatives agree with. “I can't believe that you just said that... Let me just tell you, with the amount of black on black crime in America, I get nervous (walking by a black man) and I'm a black man so, I mean..."

Heldman, unruffled, said, “There we go again, Juan. I would find that to be a racial profiling, it's a bigoted comment.”

Williams said with disbelief, “It's a bigoted comment? And I'm the father of black young men and I'm saying that if you saw a couple (black) guys walking around, looking like thugs, down the street, late at night, you say, 'Oh, I'm gonna not think it through?' Caroline, I think you're way off base.”

The segment ended with Williams cordially thanking her for coming on the show. Whether or not she'll be back is an open question in my mind. But I'm certain there will be no repercussions on Fox for Williams.

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