Oct 3, 2007

NPR explains Bush decision, scolds Williams

In a follow-up to another mini-flap involving NPR's Juan Williams, someone at the network leaked an internal memo (via from news director Ellen Weiss explaining NPR's decision to reject an opportunity to interview President Bush. The network declined the White House offer because President Bush would only speak to Williams and NPR doesn't let subjects dictate who interviews them, Weiss said last week. Williams instead conducted the interview for Fox News (transcript, via Dan Froomkin, video at, where he is a regular commentator. In the memo released today, Weiss explained that NPR rebuffed a similar offer from Sen. Hillary Clinton--who agreed to let the network pick her interviewer--and said Williams violated company policy by criticizing NPR's decision in the press. All "media requests that come to you for interviews about NPR, our activities or decisions must be forwarded to the Communications division to handle," Weiss wrote.

NPR's Juan Williams under fire for defending Bill O'Reilly

NPR's Juan Williams has been sucked into the media feud over Bill O'Reilly's racial awareness. Bloggers for Media Matters and the Nation argue that Williams has discredited himself and NPR by defending O'Reilly. Video of Williams' recent appearance on O'Reilly Factor is posted here [scroll down to "Middle Man" headline]. An AP video with audio excerpts of O'Reilly's original remarks about his dinner at Sylvia's, the Harlem soul food restaurant, is here.