Oct
26
2010

Juan Williams, Fox News Liberal

After being fired by NPR, Juan Williams made an appearance with Fox host Bill O'Reilly (10/21/10) where he explained that he wasn't likely to get support from prominent African-American leaders like Al Sharpton because "I'm not a predictable black liberal."

It's not totally clear what he means by that, but Williams does a pretty good job as a Fox News Liberal– i.e., someone willing to attack left-liberal groups and leaders while doing very little topromote an actual left-leaningperspective.This point was echoed in a column penned by Newsmax's Ronald Kessler (10/25/10), who wrote that he's known Williams since the 1970s and "the fact is, Williams is no liberal." He adds:

If you doubt that, read his book Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It. The book attacks Democrats and black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for promoting a "culture of failure" among blacks.

In an interview after the book was published, Williams told me that the Democratic Party "has not delivered in terms of protecting the poor, minorities in the country, on basic items, like education for your children, safety in our streets, making sure that you have the opportunity to have an economic foothold on the ladder of upward mobility."

That is why "there's a need for a strong Republican voice among minorities, that's why you need competition of ideas," he said. "The one-party system has failed the poor and minority in this country."

Kessler adds this:

I once asked him why he comes across as a liberal in discussions on Fox News when I know him as leaning more to the conservative side. He said, in effect, that someone has to do it, meaning he is simply being a good commentator.

A reminder of what that pretend-left commentary amounts to came on yesterday's broadcast of Fox's Special Report program (10/25/10), where Williams responded when asked about the recent WikiLeaks disclosures from the Iraq War:

Well, you know what strikes me is that there's no big revelation. I think everybody sitting on this panel, everybody in America who's interested in the story, knew that, in fact, Iran was involved in Iraq. So I don't think that's it.

What this is, is trouble-making for the ability of the Maliki government to form a coalition of government, to try–you know, we're trying to move forward in Iraq at this moment. There is nothing in these documents that would suggest the U.S. military or the U.S. civilian leadership behaved wrongly, improperly. There's no great scandal here.

There's no reason to put out these documents. This is not the Pentagon Papers. This, in fact, is just trouble-making for people who are now trying to make the best of what has been a difficult situation that's been on the uptick. So it seems just mischievous and unnecessary.

I guess it's worth $2 million for Fox News to keep a "liberal" around who will say such things. One can only hope that NPR listeners will learn to live without this caliber of analysis.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.