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Friday October 22, 2010

Following The Fall Out From Juan Williams’ Firing

Fired NPR news analyst Juan Williams fought back on Good Morning America on Friday to defend his controversial comments about fearing Muslim-garbed passengers on airplanes. He also criticized NPR CEO Vivian Schiller for saying that Williams’ feelings about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or publicist.” Schiller has apologized for those remarks but defends the firing of Williams. NPR is being pilloried by many listeners and editorials in major newspapers. We speak with Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

Back To Baghdad: A Former Soldier And A Journalist Return To Iraq

Boys leap into a public swimming pool in Baghdad in June. (AP)

Boys leap into a public swimming pool in Baghdad in June. (AP)

Bobby Ghosh served as TIME Magazine’s Baghdad bureau chief for five years. Nate Rawlings served two tours of duty there in 2006 and 2008. Recently, they traveled back to Iraq together and found a country that’s still dangerous but held together by a fragile sort of progress.

French Pension Protests Continue

Riot police in Paris shoved aside striking oil workers to force open an important refinery in Paris, Friday. The workers’ stand at the refinery had become a symbol of union resistance to the French government’s plan to reform pension plans. The protests have crippled transportation across the country and left the country with large piles of un-removed garbage. The French Senate is expected to pass the controversial measure shortly. We have a report from the BBC’s Matthew Price in Marseille.

Scientists Say The Ocean Is The True Source Of Oil

Once upon a time, many people theorized that oil came from dinosaurs. But scientists now believe that most petroleum and natural gas originated as marine organisms, and that’s why we keep finding so much of it under the ocean. Our guest, Warren Allmon, says even the oil we get from places like Texas was once under the ocean, and that getting any oil out of the ground is like sucking on a slushie. Allmon is professor of paleontology at Cornell university and director of the Paleontological Research Institute in Ithaca, New York.

Candidates Bait Each Other To ‘Man Up’ In Era Of ‘Truthiness’

Nevada Reblican Senate candidate Sharron Angle speaks to supporters at a rally Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 in Las Vegas. (AP)

Nevada Reblican Senate candidate Sharron Angle speaks to supporters at a rally Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 in Las Vegas. (AP)

Man up” seems to be the political catchphrase of the season. Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Nevada, taunted Democrat Harry Reid to “man up” during a recent debate. Sarah Palin used the phrase to challenge elected officials in her own Republican party to support the Tea Party movement. We talk to Ben Zimmer, the On Language columnist for the New York Times, about how political jargon is resonating this campaign season. We also look at how satirists, like Stephen Colbert who coined the term “truthiness,” sometimes warp language to drive their points home.

Music From The Show

  • Medeski, Martin and Wood, “Bloody Oil”
  • Freddie Hubbard, “Little Sunflower”
  • Herbie Hancock, “Watermelon Man”
  • Massive Attack, “Saturday Come Slow”
  • Ken Vandermark, “New Acrylic”
  • Kar Kar Madison, “Boubacar Traore”
  • Joe Jackson, “Steppin’ Out”
  • Frog

    Juan Williams: “…there has been a growing concern about Juan” …hmmmm…I listen to NPR every day…how come I didn’t hear about it? Frank Sesno apparently heard about it…he’s not an NPR employee. Where did he get his scoop? Any other NPR correspondents where management is having a “growing concern”?

  • http://911delaneytruth.com Ned Delaney

    Back To Baghdad: A Former Soldier And A Journalist Return To Iraq — and the Baghdad National Museum?

  • Friedrich von Hayek

    Well, it makes sense for the teabaggers to use the phrase, representing as they do a troglodytic view of what men and women must be (apologies to the troglodytes).

    I’m distressed to hear it in the mouth of a Democrat, albeit an excessively conservative one.

    “Mama grizzly” sounds insanely fakey and boastful; it’s like a little boy dressing as a cow-boy and discoursing on his tuffness….

  • Emma Lee Weibel

    I have always liked Juan Williams, tho I have had some odd impressions of him in the past 6 months, the source of which I cannot remember. So I let those things pass. But he absolutely should have been fired. His comment is analogous to a white person saying back in the early 1970′s, “well, I have to admit if I see a black young man with a big afro I don’t want to stay on the bus with him very much.” I was around then and only a racist person who didn’t know anything much about African Americans would have said the – the truly not-in-the-know person. Some people were setting fires and bombs back then and a lot of whites were very much afraid of them. That kind of remark wouldn’t have been tolerated then and this remark shows Juan isn’t nearly as well informed as a news person whould be.

  • http://n/a Brian Birsa

    One of your guests hit the nail on the head. The root of the matter is the difference between reporting and analyis of news, and news commentary. If Mr. Williams was indeed employed as a news analyst, and displayed a bias on public issues in a public forum, he violated his code of ethics and some punitive action is appropriate.

    As a listener, if I listen to a reporter for my news, and then heard that reporter making biased and inflammatory statements, I would no longer trust the reporter and, in fact, would be suspect of the station’s ability to report without bias.

    The media is falling into Mr. Williams hand by continuing the discussion of race and politics as a basis for this action.

  • iolo

    women get all upset when called a whore (usually rightfully so, but not always) – yet ‘man up’ is an ok term??

    there are some real sick and inconsistent people out there, aren’t there?

    save us from the savages, mama grizzlies, (hockey is a much more vicious game than soccer, so wrestling fans, get your knickers all twisted up now) and capitalist whores, eh?

    I admit to my own temper and short-fusedness, but i am sick of a whole culture getting on it without the mental resources have developed – but i digress

    Can’t we have an intelligence and ethics test for highly important positions, then sort out the qualifying candidates?

    there is no such thing as a license to call names, it is just plain bad behavior and should be a disqualifier right off

  • schoenfeld

    when he hosted totn he drove me nuts. He helped get bush elected. He ruined my npr enjoyment for the term of his hosting. He should’ve been fired 10 yrs ago. can’t stand the guy. question why anyone ever renewed his contract. I used to e-mail in the totn days that he should be fired.

  • Michael Dewan

    Re: Oil Formation

    I teach Environmental Science in high school and searched high and low for the commercial (I remembered it from my youth) you started your show with.

    In my research for the commercial, I found a website from the creator where he stated that, although they knew it was not dinosaurs (hence the use of the term “organisms” in the ad) “Dino” the dinosaur was intimately connected to the Sinclair company back to the 1930′s to indicate the AGE of the petroleum deposits and made a much more cute symbol than hard working algae…

  • samantha

    I was listening when Ben Zimmer was on while you talked about the phrase “man up” . I heard a comment that you really can’t say “woman up” the same way you say “man up” . Their was a question somewhere along the lines of should sex be brought into it or should people just use the phraseing “be responable” . Well, I think people read to much into the phraseing when you can easily catch the general idea of what is being said. However , I wanted to share with you a popular phrase where I am from . We use our own version of “man up” its “put on your big girl panties” . For example we say “Look , put on your big girl pantie and deal with that problem” . So there is a girlier way to call some one to man up . LOL!!!

  • Alex Deering

    I have long seen Juan as a bogus representative of left on Fox News and certainly one of NPR’s less thoughtful and more right wing reporters and, at times, program hosts. For years I would roll my eyes when I would hear him come on air for NPR – it really seemed NPR was stooping low with employing a “reporter” that moonlights for extremist, hate-based, mis-informing Fox “news” entertainment.

    While certainly his firing could’ve been done more sensitively, I’m glad to see NPR to take a stand for higher standards for their reporters.

    I just donated another $100 towards WBUR to show my support for NPR’s move towards sane reporting practices.

  • Rita Babauta Kiley

    In my opinion, Juan Williams release from NPR was overdue. I have even e-mailed the show after his right-wing bias was glaringly evident on a couple of occasions in the past. I have had difficulty with his righteous punditry and felt that it was out-of-place at an information-oriented resource such as NPR.

    Thank you for responding to your audience and restoring more balance in your output. Steve Innskeep is a pleasure to hear each morning.

  • David Robertson

    The story about the formation and location of oil deposits was exceptional. The conversation was intelligent, erudite, and thorough without being burdened with jargon. Bravo! Let’s have more science features like this one.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 29 12 Comments

U.S. ‘Border Crisis’ In A Global Context

Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch says what the U.S. is seeing is dwarfed by the massive flow of refugees into other countries, such as Italy.

July 29 4 Comments

Iraq War Vet Returns To A Broken Country

Roy Scranton says what he found in Baghdad "shows the evidence of the truth of what we'd actually done."

July 28 5 Comments

Rob Reiner Reflects On Making Movies From ‘And So It Goes’ To ‘Princess Bride’

The actor and director has been making people laugh for decades.

July 28 4 Comments

New HBO Documentary ‘Love Child’ Looks At Gaming Addiction

"Love Child" tells the story of a South Korean couple whose baby starved to death while they cared for a virtual child.