WBUR’s General Manager On The Juan Williams Firing

WBUR General Manager Paul La Camera released the following statement on the firing of news analyst Juan Williams by NPR.

While these events can always be handled better, the decision by the management of NPR to separate Juan Williams was obviously not based on a single debatable episode but rather on a series of breaches in recent periods that brought into question the journalistic integrity of NPR.

This decision was appropriately made on the national level and without the consultation or involvement of independent local stations like WBUR.

It is important to note that NPR and WBUR are separate entities. Content on WBUR comprises a variety of national and local sources, one of which is NPR. However, a plurality of our station’s programming originates here in Boston, including On Point, Here & Now, Radio Boston and the work of WBUR’s 30-person newsroom dedicated to reporting local content that is interwoven throughout the day.

Journalistic integrity and trust are the absolute bedrock principles of any news organization. We at WBUR support NPR or any news organization for that matter in its determination to protect those hallmarks.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • john smith

    Dear government radio:

    You don’t have worry about losing a donation from me; I don’t give money to neo-lib/con organizations. But I am glad that I won’t have to listen to williams neo/con, pro people of power, anti poor people blatherings anymore.

    In asnwer to the person who asked “How can NPR justify terminating Williams and retaining Nina Totenberg?” The answer is “easily”.

    In any case, I am writing to say what a gutless statment the bur gen mgr issued. Claiming to support the decision while also trying to make it absolutely clear that bur is a different organization from npr and had nothing to do with the decision. Clearly bur’s thoughts had nothing to do with analyzing or discussing the termination but rather bur was only concerned with protecting itself from loosing donations.


  • Roberto

    Well, I am hardly impressed wiht Mr. La Camera’s missive, but at least he had the gumption to put up front on website. Anyone notice how thorougly buried Ms. SHRILLER’s explanation was on NPR.org?

    Poor execution of pretty important act shakes my confidence the place is being run well — and confirms my sense that Kokie, Nina, even Tom A with his steadfast co-host/guest, Jack, were biased in their comments as well.

    I will cease my annual WBUR donations until the climate seems to have changed. And I am going to champion their cause for “true independence” by advocating WBUR give up its 5.8% government funding (see NPR.org “financial” page…)

  • Paul in Shrewsbury

    While not taking a side on the Juan Williams issue, I consider Ms. Schiller’s remarks (specifically the “psychiatrist” comment) to be DEROGATORY, SHAMEFUL and utterly NOT WORTHY of NPR. NPR’s Board of Governors should invite Ms. Schiller to join Mr. Williams in the unemployment line. She has done irreparable damage to an organization that struggles to establish a reputation as balanced and unbiased on the issues. NPR (including WBUR) will not receive another DIME of my support while Ms. Schiller remains in her position.

  • Rick Novia

    I couldn’t have said it better except to say, you’ve been exposed as a truely left wing RADICAL organization and I will lobby to remove any federal funding that you currently enjoy! Oh and forget about any future donations.

    Posted by Paul in Shrewsbury on October 25, 2010, at 5:59 PM
    While not taking a side on the Juan Williams issue, I consider Ms. Schiller’s remarks (specifically the “psychiatrist” comment) to be DEROGATORY, SHAMEFUL and utterly NOT WORTHY of NPR. NPR’s Board of Governors should invite Ms. Schiller to join Mr. Williams in the unemployment line. She has done irreparable damage to an organization that struggles to establish a reputation as balanced and unbiased on the issues. NPR (including WBUR) will not receive another DIME of my support while Ms. Schiller remains in her position

  • CR

    Juan Williams’ firing from NPR was handled clumsily and heavy handedly. The alleged “offense” rings hollow and was merely seized upon as a convenient excuse to cut off a “loose cannon”. Ms. Schiller’s handling of the blowback, however, is unprofessional, libelous and despicable. Her assertion that Mr. Williams see a “psychiatrist” conjures up two horrific images; one in which a black man who refuses to stay on the liberal “plantation” needs to be reminded to “get his mind right”, the other in which a dissenter from the Party Central Committee is denounced in Pravda as suffering from a mental disorder. Ms. Schiller has seriously damaged the integrity of a once significant journalist institution, one that will be extremely difficult to rebuild. I, as a past regular NPR listener and contributor over a few decades, have removed all NPR affiliate presets from my radio dial and will now seek my information from other sources.

  • pcuz

    Used to a supporter and family members, not anymore will not listen, watch nor will my company support any of your station begging for cash and i will spread the news to my constituents and fellow comrades.

  • pcuz

    i will contact my federal official to cut your budget severally in the not distant futures.

  • pcuz

    I support what juan williams has to say.I do fly a lot a do get the same eary feelings that he has disply alt of us feel this way. Your people are out of touch.You can’t muzzle the media. guess what we don’t share what you stand for but i respect your views as american why not vice versa

  • Rich

    In my opinion, local stations standing against NPR’s telephone firing of Juan Williams shouldn’t be broad-brushed, but the neutral approach being taken by some local station managers is oddly similar to the debate that triggered the firing. (the debate being that many moderate Muslims are perceived as neutral how they view the extremists killing in the name of their faith)

  • Amy

    As a 20+ year financial supporter of WBUR, WGBH and CPB, I have made a decision to eliminate my quarterly donations to all 3 outlets. I strongly diagree with the reason for Juan William’s elimination from NPR by CEO Vivian Schiller, and the way in which it was handled.

    America was founded on the belief that everyone has individual rights – to freedom, opinions, etc., and our public broadcasting outlets – funded by U.S. citizens – need to support these tenets. As a private citizen, Juan Williams has the right to voice his opinions from whatever platform he wishes. He made a personal decision to provide opinion/commentary on an unrelated network that Vivan Schiller obviously has a bias against. As evidence, the official NPR public statement indicates that Juan Williams was fired due to “his remarks on The O’Reilly Factor.”

    I have relied on public broadcasting for quality, balanced reporting and information for much of my life, but after witnessing such strong bias I can no longer support such organizations.

    I have also written my state Senators and Congressmen requesting they vote FOR the expected legislation from U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (a member of the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the CPB) to stop taxpayer subsidies of public radio and television. I am encouraging others to contact their representatives and do the same: http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=b4535225-a006-4342-83b4-f7ba12cc5364

  • Larry

    “It’s about time NPR fired this guy. He did not live up to the standards of objectivity that NPR represented.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Except that “objectivity” has been constantly re-defined and pushed more and more towards the extreme left. This incident should really be a wake-up call to the “new US” that is promoted by NPR and their left-wing allies — a country in which deviations from the party ideology are immediately punished.

  • Peter Lake

    It just gets worse.
    After the despicable firing of Juan Williams we get an explanation from the NPR ombudsman, Ms. Shepard, that’s nothing but an affirmation of NPR’s decision and a “gee-whiz” comment on how upset many listeners were.

    No kidding.

    Like any scandal, it’s not the scandal that ultimately turns people against the actors, it’s the way it’s handled, and NPR’s right up there now with Nixon and Clinton and Tiger Woods as examples of what NOT to do.

  • Pauline Perkins

    I am a WBUR listener and supporter of many years. I don’t recall ever having heard Juan Williams until last night on the Diane Rheem program when I was not at all impressed with him. When I heard he was fired I thought it probably was not the first time he was inappropriate. I don’t understand why there is so much flap. Neither Williams or NPR are perfect but NPR is the best radio available for news, and the tremendous variety of interesting and fun programs. You can count on my continued support.
    Pauline Perkins

  • Linda Kaboolian

    I hope the irony is clear to all: Ceasing contributions to WBUR and advocating for the end of the small public subsidy over this incident is as heavy handed as firing Juan Williams summarily over his comments. If your definition of “free speech” is diverse and provocative, then support public radio because you don’t always agree with it.

  • tom

    Somehow I don’t believe that most of the conservative commenters who are angrily threatening to cut off their donations, ever actually donated in the first place. I didn’t really have a problem with Williams’ comments, but I should think conservatives would defend the ability of an employer to fire an employee for any reason–it’s only us liberals that are concerned with employees’ rights, right? As in, the right to organize? NPR is the best news organization in the country, and gives far more fair time to conservative viewpoints than Fox does to liberal. To those of you who think NPR is some kind of far-left organ: Reality has a liberal bias–get over it or stick with Fox.

  • JohnO

    Well Mr LaCamera WBUR would have been better served had you decided not to weigh in on the wrongful firing of Juan Williams by NPR. Confirming your support for such a myopic and ill considered decision only serves to bring your judgement into question. At the end of the day Mr Williams integrity is intact. In fact these events have helped eliminate the facade of Public broadcastings self proclaimed mission of serving the public interest. Perhaps it is time for Mr LaCamera to seek other opportunities.

  • Roberto

    Pauline Perkins — first, you cannot listen much if you NEVER heard Juan on NPR. Second, even if you are right, that NPR is an “at will” employer, then I await the NPR Board’s decision to release CEO Shriller as well for her incompetence — or worse. The PR dust-up was poorly executed (see middle word of her title), altho some say, as an “execution” of Juan, it went smashingly. Her slur about JW talking to his psychiatrist is beyond professional, and perhaps borders on slander? Her “phoning” it in to Juan, through another executive, but not organizing a face-to-face, is not only unprofessional but also inhuman. Finally, her “attempts” reach Juan later were laughable. The coup de grace? A registered letter to his home, saying “where/when can I reach you?”??!! C’mon, Pauline, what planet do you live on??
    You can keep paying in; NPR needs lemmings like you once the Fed spigot is shut off. I have just written Scott Brown and Kerry (Well, Kerry did not answer right away — his asst said he was out sailing in RI waters…)

  • Sol
  • Sol

    (insert sarcasm below)

  • Tyrone

    The best article on the Juam Williams NPR incident is “Shirley Not Again: The left is doing to Juan Williams what the right did to Shirley Sherrod.” (http://www.slate.com/id/2271931/) where the author points out how the clip of Juan that got him fired was carefully edited as to convey the exact opposite of what he actually said. NPR’s “On the Media” is the only NPR program to honestly discuss how Juan was rail roaded.

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