Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks that, in light of Juan Williams being fired by NPR this week for the latest controversial comments he made while appearing on Fox News, NPR should take this opportunity to address the questions that surround staffer Mara Liasson and her long-running appearances on Fox News. As I noted, Liasson's affiliation with Fox News seems to run counter to NPR stated code of ethics.
I never suggested NPR fire Liasson and I don't think they should. NPR could, for instance, prohibit its employees from appearing on Fox. But Bill O'Reilly went on TV last night and claimed I called for her firing. And that's what lots and lots and lots of other right-wing pundits claimed yesterday. (It's easier to roil a partisan mob if you lie about what the other side is saying.) I simply re-raised the point of NPR's code of ethics and its ongoing trouble squaring those with Fox News appearances.
Well guess what? Juan Williams agrees with me! It's true. Being interviewed by Glenn Beck today, Williams suggested that if NPR acted against him and his Fox News affiliation, than maybe they ought to address Liasson, too.
Willliams' comments come around the 9:20 mark:
Specifically, from Beck's interview with Williams [emphasis added]:
BECK: Did you see that Media Matters is now calling for Mara Liasson's firing, termination at NPR as well? Because she --
WILLIAMS: I'm not -- I don't follow Media Matters, but I've heard about this. I don't -- yeah.
BECK: No comment on that?
WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, so? You know what? Ok, so they have these standards, right? How come they protect her?
By the way, here was O'Reilly making stuff up about Media Matters demanding that Liasson be fired from NPR (at the 1:30 mark)
UPDATED: According to NPR's ethics code, the solution to the Liasson problem is quite simple:
Permission for such appearances may be revoked if NPR determines such appearances are harmful to the reputation of NPR or the NPR participant.