NPR's handling of the Juan Williams controversy holds the No. 3 spot on the 16th annual year-end "Top 10 PR Blunders List," compiled by San Francisco's Fineman PR. It ranks behind BP's reaction to its disastrous oil spill, and Toyota's decisions after its massive recall.
"Although [NPR] commentator Juan Williams raised eyebrows when he told Bill O'Reilly of FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor that flying on airplanes with overt Muslims made him nervous, it was NPR that took the damaging reputational hit," the list notes. It faults NPR President Vivan Schiller for firing Williams over the phone and later hinting that he had psychological problems.
Fineman PR says it "assembles the annual PR Blunders List as a reminder that good public relations is critical to businesses and organizations. Selections are limited to Americans, American companies or offenses that occurred in America. Selections are limited to avoidable acts or omissions that caused adverse publicity; image damage was done to self, company, society or others; and acts that were widely reported in 2010."