Who knew that conservatives loved Juan Williams so much? Williams, who was fired from National Public Radio this week for what the non-profit, quasi-government funded organization called bigoted statements against Muslims, was probably best known to conservatives as one of two liberal foils on Fox News Sunday’s weekly roundtable. That show must be much more popular than I’d thought.
Republicans have long sought to defund NPR and it’s television sister, PBS, loathing government-run anything competing with the private sector. Though, even when the GOP controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House back in 2005, a move to defund them failed after 87 House Republicans broke ranks and voted to reinstate money that had been stripped in committee.
Since Williams’ firing, Senator Jim DeMint has said he plan to introduce legislation to defund NPR. Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have called on the government to stop funding NPR, which receives any where from 1% to 6% of its annual operating costs in federal money, depending how you do the math. And today House GOP Whip Eric Cantor said he’ll propose cutting off NPR in his weekly YouCut program, where online voters bid on what cuts they’d like to see made from the federal budget. From Cantor’s statement:
“Whether it’s people walking off The View when Bill O’Reilly makes a statement about radical Islam or Juan Williams being fired for expressing his opinion, over-reaching political correctness is chipping away at the fundamental American freedoms of speech and expression. NPR’s decision to fire Juan Williams not only undermines that, it shows an ignorance of the fact that radical Islam and the terrorists who murder in its name scare people of all faiths, religions, and beliefs. In light of their rash decision, we will include termination of federal funding for NPR as an option in the YouCut program so that Americans can let it be known whether they want their dollars going to that organization.”
If only Republicans were so concerned about another First Amendment right — also involving Muslims — freedom of religion, ahem Ground Zero mosque.