It was, at first, a straightforward event: Juan Williams, who worked partly for National Public Radio (NPR), was sacked for saying that seeing Muslims on planes made him nervous. However, that he did so in a broadcast by his other employer, Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) was always going to make things messy.
Since Williams lost one of his two jobs, Fox have milked the event, and a number of right leaning pundits have lined up to demand the end of public funding for NPR, rather in the manner of their counterparts in the UK calling for the dismantling of the BBC for daring to present the news in a manner which displeases them.
And Fox have now given Williams a substantial pay rise, with his two year contract worth a reported two million bucks. The problem is, of course, that they can no longer present Williams as “NPR News Political Analyst”, which is Fox’ way of telling their audience that they really do the fair and balanced thing.
But in the meantime, the manipulation of the Williams dismissal by NPR for the means of Muslim bashing has continued apace. On Tuesday’s Daily Show (video available on 4OD HERE), Jon Stewart and his team presented a number of clips of Fox talking heads, with pride of place going to the rhetorical question “Is NPR an agent of a jihadi inquisition?”
Yes, someone actually put that forward as a serious talking point. Only on Fox. Because, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has shown in this clip, there is a difference between Fox and other news networks – all the others may be expressing opinions, but only Fox is organising against the Government.