KANU Comments on NPR’s Firing of Juan Williams

October 25th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge

The fallout continues for NPR and Vivian Schiller over the firing of Juan Williams.

In telephone interviews with Fox News this week, general managers of several stations affiliated with NPR spoke sharply about Schiller’s performance in the episode. Janet Campbell, general manager at Kansas station KANU, said she did not believe Williams should have been fired at all, and that she “absolutely” saw a double standard at work in the network’s treatment of Williams and Totenberg.

“I think it had to do with the network he was on,” said Campbell, who has served as KANU’s general manager for fifteen years. “I thought it was a knee-jerk reaction. And I was extremely disappointed at [Schiller’s] remarks in Atlanta. I thought that was very childish. Someone in charge of such a large organization should know better.”

Speaking at a newsmakers’ luncheon at the Atlanta Press Club on Thursday, when controversy over Williams’s firing was still fresh and reaching a feverish peak in news media circles, Schiller said Williams’s feelings about Muslim airlines passengers should be between him and his “psychiatrist or him and his publicist, take your pick.” Schiller apologized to Williams later that afternoon, calling her remark hasty and “thoughtless.”

“I feel a little bit like the street sweeper at the elephant parade,” said KANU’s Campbell. “I’m getting twenty to forty calls…a lot of people asking me for my budget information. That’s all I’ve done for three days. By the time I got in Monday morning – while I appreciated her apology – I thought it was a little late.”

Campbell was not the only one to speak out. Read the full story here.

BTW — For clarification, Schiller did not apologize to Williams. She made a public apology for how she handled the firing. But as far as I’ve seen, she’s never apologized to, or spoken with Williams, since he was fired. Or before for that matter.

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