If there's one outcome of the Juan Williams firing that should surprise no one, it's that the right has jumped to his defense and condemned the desecration of his first amendment rights by the evil left-wing NPR, (which, by the way, should be investigated for something or other, and who even cares what he said about Muslims because everyone was thinking it anyway).
But what many of these conservative pundits have forgotten is how they sang a slightly different tune when certain other journalists were let go for making comments that offended the right.
Let's take a look back...
Since June, several reporters have been dismissed after media controversies over their offensive comments. Helen Thomas was forced into retirement in June after she said that the Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home." CNN forced out Octavia Nasr in July for tweeting her condolences when a spiritual leader of Hezbollah died. And Rick Sanchez was let go from CNN in October after calling Jon Stewart a "bigot" and suggesting that CNN is run by the Jews.
Today, Williams was fired from NPR after these comments on The O'Reilly Factor last night:
Well, actually, I hate to say this to you because I don't want to get your ego going. But I think you're right. I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality.
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 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.
So what has the right said, then and now?
Glenn Beck, in typical hyperbolic Glenn Beck fashion, was outraged today on his radio show that the "voices are being silenced" by "the jack booted thugs of the left." He also said: "Juan Williams was put up against a wall and NPR shot him"
But in June, Beck said on his radio show: "The old hatreds are reappearing. Now, how Helen Thomas has a job today is beyond me." He added: "You know, may I tell you this Jewish run media, really, they're really bad at running the media, if they are indeed Jewish. You know what I mean? The Zionist masters really suck at being Zionist masters. If you still have Helen Thomas sitting in the front row after saying go back to Germany, go back to Poland."
Pamela Geller wrote today: "No one is safe, not even liberals, from islamic supremacism and the assault on free speech. I am no fan of Juan Williams, but I will defend to my death his right to speak his mind."
The day Nasr stepped down, she was thrilled: "Today the Nazi lover resigned. In a word, GOOD!"
And on the Sanchez firing, Geller said: "In another Jew-hating gaffe, a well known CNN anchor has been terminated over outrageous, hateful remarks about Jews." She added: "This is systemic. And it should be raising red flags in media corporate offices. You have a problem. And so does Jon Stewart; he shills for these goons and their ideology."
Of course, no controversy would be complete without a Sarah Palin tweet, which she provided today:
NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if u exercise it. Juan Williams: u got taste of Left's hypocrisy,they screwed up firing you
On her Facebook page, Palin elaborated:
I don't expect Juan Williams to support me (he's said some tough things about me in the past) - but I will always support his right and the right of all Americans to speak honestly about the threats this country faces. And for Juan, speaking honestly about these issues isn't just his right, it's his job. Up until yesterday, he was doing that job at NPR. Firing him is their loss.
If NPR is unable to tolerate an honest debate about an issue as important as Islamic terrorism, then it's time for "National Public Radio" to become "National Private Radio." It's time for Congress to defund this organization.
But about the Helen Thomas controversy, she (a touch incomprehensibly) tweeted:
Helen Thomas press pals condone racist rant?Heaven forbid"esteemed"press corps represent society's enlightened elite;Rest of us choose truth
Karl Rove was on Fox News today, and said of NPR: "It doesn't deserve a dime of the people's money and it's been increasingly left wing, and now it's gone completely cuckoo crazy politically correct. Shame on them for having taken this man who worked for them for 10 years and fired by a phone call."
Rove said of Helen Thomas's comments in June: This was a "typical, bile-filled remark that she has increasingly tended to in recent decades. I think the Hearst papers did the right thing by cashiering her."
Bill O'Reilly decried the Williams firing on Fox News today, calling it "outrageous." He continued:
As Woody Allen once said, this is a travesty of a mockery of a sham. But it's not out of character for NPR -- they've been trying to get rid of Juan for a while because Juan is associated with the Fox News channel and NPR is -- it's not a news organization. It's basically a left wing outfit that wants one opinion.
Just a few weeks ago, O'Reilly defended CNN's decision to fire Rick Sanchez, since the network "sells their credibility as a hard news organization" and Sanchez "is supposedly representing CNN."
Cliff May wrote on the National Review's "The Corner" blog that "NPR has its own interpretation of sharia, and Juan violated it -- and paid the price."
As for Helen Thomas, May wrote a letter to Hearst calling for the news organization to "cut all ties with her as quickly as possible" because her "outburst of unbridled anti-Semitism makes it clear that she sides with those who see a second Holocaust as a 'final solution.'"
Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey wrote today: "An NPR opinion journalist had better not admit to having a normal human reaction about potential for terrorism nine years after 3,000 Americans got killed by radical Muslims on commercial air flights, or else. The rest of NPR's cast just got an object lesson about the range of opinion tolerated by management."
Back in July, Morrissey said of Nasr: "After having outed herself as a Hezbollah sympathizer, which is certainly the rational conclusion of Nasr's Twitter message and subsequent explanation, doesn't CNN owe its viewers and readers a complete accounting of their coverage in the Middle East and a complete explanation of Nasr's role in it?"
And Brent Bozell, president of the conservative media watchdog group the Media Research Center, put out a press release today calling for an investigation of the Williams firing: "Juan Williams has done nothing wrong. What he said echoes what the vast majority of Americans believe. It's their tax dollars that fund NPR. But NPR is ignoring them."
But on Thomas, he wrote: "Helen Thomas is leaving the White House with all the hate she's been bringing to the grounds for decades. Despite their ill-advised adoration, the White House press corps has been improved by her retirement. " And on Nasr, he said: "CNN has finally taken a step in the right direction in removing a terrorist sympathizer from their ranks."