Friday, October 22, 2010

Did NPR's Vivian Schiller Break Labor Laws in the Juan Williams Case?

Did NPR's Vivian Schiller Break Labor Laws in the Juan Williams Case?
© 2010 By Ron Winter

When most people leave a job, for whatever reason, it usually causes an upheaval in a very limited universe, generally inhabited by the individual in question, his or her boss who has to fill his or her position, and those who depend on the individual in question.

Usually, the leaving, whether voluntary or involuntary, doesn't generate headlines or non-stop discussion on television and radio talk shows.

Also, and more to the point, regardless of the reasons for a person leaving a job, when they apply for a new job, and have to list their old job on their new application, or their resume, someone is going to contact the previous employer and ask why the applicant left their old job.

Usually, the new employer is referred to the old employer's Human Resources department which by labor law is required to say something along the lines of "We can only confirm that (the individual in question) worked here," and the dates of employment. Now, sometimes a new boss calls directly to an old boss who may have a grudge, justified or unjustified, against the former employee and he or she will use code words such as "I can't say anymore about it." Or "I am legally bound to refer you to the Human Resources Department and our legal agreement prevents me from saying more."

Obviously, potential new bosses will want to know a lot more if they get that kind of response to their inquiries about potential new employees.

None of this happened in the case of National Public Radio - which gets TAXPAYER MONEY - when liberal commentator and analyst Juan Williams was fired two days ago. Williams got canned from the job he had held for more than a decade because he said during an appearance on the FOX Network's Bill O'Reilly show that Muslims on airplanes make him nervous, especially in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.

His firing went viral and in the wake of the uproar NPR's head honcho and axe wielder Vivian Schiller held a news conference to discuss the intimate details of Williams' employment, his termination and his mental stability.

Then she offered a blithe apology for saying Williams had a psychiatrist who would better understand why Williams made the comments he did, which the American Terrorist Media immediately accepted as heartfelt and sufficient and moved on.

Well, then why didn't NPR at least give Williams the opportunity to apologize for his remarks on FOX, if he wanted to? He could have said something like, "I'm sorry that my words upset thin-skinned jackasses who have no sense of reality, and I never meant to give them a scorching case of teen-aged angst as a result of my personal fears over potential terrorists riding on the same flight as me."

But that is a minor point. A major point is whether Schiller broke federal and state labor laws by openly discussing the performance of an employee, regardless of how high profile his job. Why didn't Schiller just say, "I'm sorry, but state and federal labor laws prevent me from discussing the specifics of any employee's performance," and then refer all media inquiries to the Human Resources department?

Then the HR professionals could have said, "Why yes, Mr. Williams did work with NPR from (insert date) to Oct. 21, 2010." And that would have been that. Except they could have added, "We wish him well in his future endeavors," which is HR code for "We think he's a horse's ass and if he falls off the face of the earth we could care less."

None of that happened. No, instead Schiller lambasted Williams, and told the world in essence that he had been a problem employee who was walking on thin ice for some time, that he made other comments in other venues at other times that NPR didn't like either and then she made the comment about him talking with a psychiatrist.

Frankly, I think Schiller is a horse's ass, who looks like she spends most of her days sucking on sour lemons, and the world would be a lot better off if she shut the hell up and Juan Williams keeps talking, even though I mostly disagree with him. I was working last night so I missed most of the evening news shows and how they handled the Williams story, but I did get to see Sean Hannity, and I believe it was on his show that the comment was made that Williams is a decent man who can disagree without being disagreeable.

I believe it was Dana Perino, former White House spokesperson in the George Bush presidency who said that but I could be wrong. Regardless, that comment was made and I agree with it.

Yesterday I wrote that it might be a good thing if Schiller gets some major heat for her words and deeds since she is a white woman who fired Juan Williams, a black man, and that dichotomy certainly could be leveraged in his favor. But I haven't heard word one from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Reverends Without Portfolios, who jump up and scream "racism" every time someone comments on another person's tan after a two-week vacation in the Bahamas.

But this time the Mouths that Pout are remarkably silent. I haven't seen them anywhere, when usually you see them everywhere. I think Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Don Imus, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Juliet Huddy, Megyn Kelly, Stuart Varney, Charles Paine, and every other commentator in the world should camp out on their doorsteps until they get a quote on this.

Let's see if this issue and the Jackson/Sharpton response send a thrill up Chris Matthew's leg the way Barack Obama did.

But it won't will it? Because this issue was a non-issue to begin with. It was a violation of Williams' First Amendment rights to free speech, which gives him another legal avenue to explore, and the leaders of the American Terrorist Media won't touch this with a 10-foot pole because Williams wasn't communist enough for their tastes.

Imagine that. Williams is seen as way too left leaning for most Fox viewers, who nonetheless are supporting his right to say what he believes, yet he isn't leftist enough for NPR which lauded another commentator who said she hoped Jesse Helms and his grandchildren get AIDS because she disagreed with him. And NPR, the self-proclaimed guardian of free speech, fires Williams because he said what everyone else is thinking.

Another nail in the coffin ladies and gentlemen. Another reason to vote Reid, Pelosi and every single one of their puppets and lackeys right out of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Lately, the communist commentators on cable and the networks have been smirking over the Tea Party slogan "Take Our Country Back!" The communists keep saying, "Take it back from Who?"

Take it back from these people! NPR, the people who listen to it, and the people who would destroy the reputation of a decent individual with a somewhat moderate viewpoint. November 2nd can't come fast enough. I wonder if Juan is vested in his NPR retirement account?


Anonymous said...

not to mention patient priviacy / HIPPA violations up the wa-zoo if she was actually materially aware that Mr. Williams was the patient of a mental health professional.

Don Imus clutch on Friday morning, Juan, lemme get you lawyers name... Take NPR to the woodshed like we did to CBS..."

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