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Juan Williams responds to editor's charges of NPR bias: 'Insulated cadre of people who think they're right'

Juan Williams, the Fox News analyst who was fired by NPR in 2010, spoke out on "The Ingraham Angle" about an expose from a current editor at the public radio outlet.

Fox News senior political analyst Juan Williams, whose 2010 firing from his longtime perch at NPR came following analysis he offered on Fox News, responded Tuesday to allegations by an editor for the public radio broadcaster detailing rampant bias and absence of registered Republicans in its newsroom.

Veteran NPR editor Uri Berliner gave a lengthy rebuke of his employers' media coverage of major news stories over the last few years in an essay Tuesday for the Free Press. He blew the whistle on the outlet's coverage and cataloged voter registration records, which he said depicted an 87–0 Democratic bent in its newsroom. Berliner alleged there is an absence of "viewpoint diversity" and avoidance of terms such as "biological sex" in the NPR newsroom.

Williams suggested he was not surprised at Berliner's comments that an "an open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR... [that is] devastating both for its journalism and its business model."

On "The Ingraham Angle," Williams recounted the aftermath of his firing over a decade ago after an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" in which he expressed apprehension about witnessing Muslim garb in airports after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.


"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 the 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," he said at the time.

Williams noted Tuesday that that was enough for NPR to cut ties with their longtime, left-leaning analyst, as he quipped to host Laura Ingraham.

"I don't think I'm any wild-eyed conservative, but they thought I was too conservative a Black guy for their kind of company," he said.

"Not only did they fire me — they called me a psycho. I mean, they said horrible things about me quite publicly. So, no, it doesn't surprise me what [Berliner] had to say."

Williams noted his controversy happened long before former President Trump appeared on the political scene in 2015 and threw the media into fits that continue today.

"So they are a very much an insulated cadre of people who think they're right, and they have a hard time with people who are different," he said.


Williams noted that, after he made the comment about becoming nervous in the airport, he defended the right of Muslims to build property near Ground Zero — as Sufi Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf had caused a firestorm at the time over his planned Park51 development a stone's throw from the former World Trade Center.

During his appearance on the "Factor," he also noted that Christians in turn should not be blamed for terrorism committed by people like Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

"[Y]et they threw me out the door, so this doesn't surprise me at all," Williams told host Laura Ingraham.

"I think what you're seeing now, especially after Trump, is that we live in a very polarized media landscape, and they have established a beachhead on the far-left."

Williams said Berliner correctly cited NPR's audience is disproportionately further to the left than ever and that "you see fewer conservatives tuning in."

At the time of Williams' NPR firing, then-NPR CEO Vivian Schiller said in an email to member stations that news analysts may not "take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that's what's happened in this situation."

On Tuesday, Ingraham pointed to a posting from Heritage Foundation national security fellow Mike Gonzalez from Jan. 29, which called for the government to halt taxpayer funding to "biased [and] woke public broadcasting."

When reached for comment on Berliner's allegations, an NPR spokesperson directed Fox News Digital to a memo to staff by editor-in-chief Edith Chapin, where she said she and her team "strongly disagree" with Berliner's assessment of the quality of NPR's journalism and integrity.

"We’re proud to stand behind the exceptional work that our desks and shows do to cover a wide range of challenging stories. We believe that inclusion — among our staff, with our sourcing, and in our overall coverage — is critical to telling the nuanced stories of this country and our world," she wrote.

"Journalism is a collaborative process. Rigorous debate and self-examination are necessary parts of our pursuit of the facts, and exploring the diverse perspectives that drive world events is necessary to our public service mission. That’s why we have built in processes to verify accuracy and why we adhere to the highest editorial standards… "

"With all this said, none of our work is above scrutiny or critique. We must have vigorous discussions in the newsroom about how we serve the public as a whole, fostering a culture of conversation that breaks down the silos that we sometimes end up retreating to. Ideally, we engage in this debate respectfully, with the goal of lifting up and strengthening each other’s work. As our emerging strategic focus brings new insights into what audiences we do and do not currently serve, we have an obligation to more rigorously consider and measure how our coverage fulfills our public service to all audiences."

"Let’s not forget that the reason we remain one of the most trusted news organizations in the country is that we respect people’s ability to form their own judgments," Chapin added.

Fox News Digital's David Rutz contributed to this report

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