A wider door opens for Juan Williams

As mother always said, "When one narrow door slams shut another wider door opens for a greater opportunity." Or something like that. Juan Williams was ostensibly dropped by National Politically Correct Radio (NPR) for his factual statements about Muslims and Islam but in reality dismissed because of his relationship with Fox News, as NPR itself has admitted.

Williams' presence on the largely conservative and often contentious prime-time talk shows of Fox News has long been a sore point with NPR News executives.

His status was earlier shifted from staff correspondent to analyst after he took clear-cut positions about public policy on television and in newspaper opinion pieces.

But now another door has opened and Williams has an even better gig. Fox News, which is not dependent on government handouts, announced

Fox News has re-signed Juan Williams to an expanded role with the network in a multi-year deal, Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News, announced Thursday after National Public Radio fired Williams for his comments on the O'Reilly Factor Monday night, when he said it makes him nervous to fly on airplanes with devout Muslims.

Williams will host The O'Reilly Factor on Friday night and will appear with O'Reilly on the show Thursday night.

In making the announcement, Ailes said, "Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997. He's an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis."

Tell Vivian Schiller , NPR's president and CEO, your opinion of its use of your tax money to isolate a news outlet with which it disagrees and its grossly misguided attempt at crushing freedom of speech and press. And while you're in a letter writing mood write to your representative that in these trillion dollar federal deficit times even the nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayers' money funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which tosses a few of these dollars to NPR, does seem a gigantic waste as it consists of a small percentage of their overall budget and they wouldn't really miss it. But you miss your own money.

NPR does end up with some federal funding in an indirect sense, though it only makes up between one and three percent of the group's budget on a yearly basis, according to NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who discussed the matter in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today.

Here's how Schiller breaks it down: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which covers both radio and television, gets $90 million per year in federal funding that goes to member public radio stations, not NPR itself. (This would be your local NPR affiliate.) She said any money NPR gets from the CPB comes via grants it has to apply for, and those grants only make up a tiny percentage of the overall NPR budget, which Schiller puts at $160 million per year.

(Looking at CPB's financials - page 17 specifically -- it appears the group got a $422 million total allocation from the federal government in FY2010, of which roughly $93 million went to radio.)

"NPR gets no allocation from CPB," Schiller said. "Zero. We are a private 501(c)3. We've had journalists call up and ask what department of the government we report to. That's laughable."

There appears to be something of a hole in her argument, however: If the CPB sends most of its radio money to member stations, and the member stations pay dues to NPR, doesn't NPR still end up getting taxpayer money via member stations, in addition to the one to three percent it gets via grants?

Meanwhile, Juan Williams will hopefully be crying all the way to the bank. And maybe even suing. Breach of contract anyone? Discrimination? Mara Liasson, NPR's star political correspondent, is still doing her fine work for them while also continuing to contribute at Fox despite strong pressure last year not to do so.

And ever so slowly, the door shuts on NPR. But Fox News, yes Fox News, graciously opened another door for them by a factual expose' 

A Brief History of NPR's Intolerance and Imbalance

From calling Tea Party members "Tea Baggers," to saying that "the evaporation of 4 million" Christians would leave the world a better place, to suggesting that God could give former Sen. Jesse Helms or his family AIDS from a blood transfusion, NPR's personalities have said some pretty un-PC things in the past. A look at the record reveals no shortage of intolerant statements and unbalanced segments on the publicly sponsored network's airwaves.

And to think NPR didn't fire any of the reporters or producers who created these biased statements. Perhaps now NPR will take a good look at itself and realize how skewed they are.