Media conservatives have attributed NPR's firing of Juan Williams to pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations or baselessly linked the decision to a grant from the Open Society Foundations, which George Soros founded. In an October 22 blog post, The New York Times' Brian Stelter posted portions of an interview in which NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller addressed those claims.
Regarding the claim about CAIR's influence, Stelter wrote:
Some critics of the firing have questioned whether NPR caved in to pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR for short. The group, which advocates for Muslims, released a statement on Wednesday calling on NPR to address Mr. Williams's comments on Fox, and a few hours later the termination decision was announced.
"I have actually not seen the statement from CAIR," Ms. Schiller said Friday evening. "We don't make decisions like this based on influence. We don't make decisions based either on political pressure or financial pressure. That's not the way we make decisions like this. They're based on own ethics and our own news values at NPR."
The post then addressed the allegation that Soros was involved:
Some critics have also tried to connect the dots between the firing and a recent donation to NPR by the Open Society Institute, which was founded and is supported by the liberal billionaire George Soros, a favorite target of conservatives. Ms. Schiller called that idea "nonsense."
She said: "Look, we're very fortunate in that we have many supporters of all political persuasions. I'm happy to report that people support us and we get grants at regular intervals." Referring to the Open Society Institute grant, she said, "To suggest that we got this grant in this timing is really, it's nonsense -- it's nonsense to suggest that there was any correlation between the two."