NPR Chief Sorry for Williams 'Psychiatrist' Dig

Ombudsman says firing mishandled; DeMint want to cut funds
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2010 12:02 PM CDT
This 2008 photo provided by National Public Radio shows Vivian Schiller.   (AP Photo/NPR, Michael Benabib)
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(Newser) – NPR’s chief has apologized for suggesting Juan Williams keep his feelings about Muslims between himself and “his psychiatrist or publicist,” the station’s website notes. “I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark,” said Vivian Schiller. In a separate memo to member stations, Schiller wrote that Williams’ behavior was misguided because he was an analyst and not “a commentator or columnist.”

“News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts,” she wrote. NPR’s ombudsman says the station mishandled the situation. “A more deliberative approach might have enabled NPR to avoid what has turned into a public relations nightmare,” writes Alicia Shepard. But “the fact remains that NPR must uphold its journalistic standards.” Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Jim DeMint plans to introduce legislation to cut NPR’s federal funds, Gawker says.

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