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Friday, October 22, 2010  

Juan Williams

There's just no denying that Juan Williams is a pretty lousy pundit. This was my personal favorite Williams moment, but every regular NPR listener surely has their own. Like most other tenured pundits, Williams served as a conventional wisdom recycler, adding little or no value on any given subject that I can recall. There must have been redeeming moments, but they don't stick out in my memory the way the inspidities do.

That being said, he was probably a little less dreadful than Cokie Roberts, and only marginally more dreadful than Mara Liasson when it comes to shedding actual light on subjects. In a world where quality commentary from across the ideological spectrum is easily available to almost every single NPR listener, he added no value. But by the rock-bottom standards of DC chatter, he was not so bad.

So given the rather tame nature of his supposed gaffe, I agree with Josh Marshall that his abrupt dismissal was disproportionate. Worse than that, it sent a bad message--don't voice ordinary if casually bigoted feelings about Muslims--that would have been nullified if NPR had just not renewed his contract, which might have suggested that saying empty and pointless things was the real problem. This is all far too meta to merit much commentary, but it's unfortunate that the firing of an objectively unworthy pundit has to be turned into a huge political and media distraction when there is real stuff going on.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 12:35 AM
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