Juan Williams: 'I Said What I Meant to Say'

Fired NPR hosts says it's not bigoted, just the truth
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2010 4:04 PM CDT
News analyst Juan Williams appears on Fox this morning.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Juan Williams says he didn't misspeak when he talked of getting nervous when seeing Muslims in airports, comments that got him fired from NPR. "I said what I meant to say," Williams explained on Fox News today, "which is that it is an honest experience that when I'm in an airport and I see people in Muslim garb who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That's just a reality."

Williams described how an NPR executive fired him by phone after he told her just that, reports the Huffington Post. "I said, 'I don't even get the chance to come in and we do this eyeball to eyeball, person to person?'" he said. "She said, 'There's nothing you can say that will change my mind, this has been decided above me and we're terminating your contract.'" Separately today, NPR chief Vivian Schiller said Williams should keep his feelings about Muslims between him and "his psychiatrist or his publicist," reports AP. Click here for more.

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