What did Juan Williams say to get him fired from NPR?

Fox News analyst Juan Williams is one of the resident liberals at that network but has occasionally demonstrated a stubborn independent streak when it comes to War on Terror issues.

But the statement he made on O'Reilly's show that got him canned from NPR is so innocuous and beyond that, so true of most Americans, that you have to figure that either the liberal Public Radio network was looking for an excuse to get rid of Williams, or they are so drenched in political correctness that every other factor takes a back seat to their slavish devotion to that ideology.

From the NPR website:

NPR News has terminated the contract of longtime news analyst Juan Williams after remarks he made on the Fox News Channel about Muslims.
Williams appeared Monday on The O'Reilly Factor, and host Bill O'Reilly asked him to comment on the idea that the U.S. is facing a dilemma with Muslims.

O'Reilly has been looking for support for his own remarks on a recent episode of ABC's The View in which he directly blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set in the middle of his appearance.

So what is it that he said?

"[P]olitical correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality. I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week. He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts.
"But I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it's not a war against Islam. ... Bill, here's a caution point. The other day in New York, some guy cuts a Muslim cabby's neck and says he's attacking him or you think about the protest at the mosque near Ground Zero ... I don't know what is in that guy's head. But I'm saying, we don't want in America, people to have their rights violated to be attacked on the street because they heard a rhetoric from Bill O'Reilly and they act crazy. We've got to say to people as Bill was saying tonight, that guy is a nut."

To admit the obvious truth about Muslims on airplanes and be fired for it is outrageous. What is NPR's excuse?

Late Wednesday night, NPR issued a statement praising Williams as a valuable contributor but saying it had given him notice that it is severing his contract. "His remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR," the statement read.
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.

It appears to me that NPR was indeed just looking for an excuse - any excuse - to fire Williams. You certainly can't construe bigotry from what Williams said on O'Reilly - especially after reading his clarifying remarks. All Williams did was relate his feelings, shared by millions of Americans, about being aware that radical Muslims perpetrated 9/11 and that seeing a Muslim on an airplane (without knowing how moderate or radical they are), it just makes sense to be wary.

Politically correct liberals would rather see you die in a terrorist attack than admit the truth about the enemy we are fighting. NPR has made that abundantly clear with their shameful treatment of Williams.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson adds:
Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard blog points out that Bill Moyers has said outrageous things about conservatives, and still works at PBS, the taxpayer funded sister organization of NPR:

As Steve Hayes reported previously in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Bill Moyers was a "pioneer" in this field:

Moyers was a pioneer in deploying the conservatives-as-Taliban trope. Here's what he said in a speech last March 22: "When [producer] Sherry [Jones] and I reported the truth behind the news of the Iran-contra scandal for a Frontline documentary called 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' the right-wing Taliban in town went running to the ayatollahs in Congress, who decried the fact that public television was committing--horrors--journalism."