In their world, you will be instantly and unceremoniously fired for saying the "wrong" thing -- or maybe the right thing the "wrong" way. More than Orwell's thought police, this is the "thought executioner." You aren't arrested for heresy -- you're liquidated on the spot.
Juan Williams, a decade-long commentator for NPR, was fired over the phone this week for saying on Fox News that seeing Muslims in the airport makes him nervous.
"I'm not a bigot," Williams said told the host of the The O'Reilly Factor Monday. "But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
When confronted on the phone by his NPR boss, Williams confirmed, "I said what I meant to say."
He also spoke for a lot of folks.
To The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Williams' candid comment simply "reflects the views, I'm guessing, of the vast majority of people who fly in this country (and in Europe and Asia and other parts of the world, as well)... Juan Williams misunderstands one crucial fact: Muslim terrorists who are attempting to commit acts of terror seldom if ever dress in "Muslim garb"; they dress, for obvious tactical reasons, in a manner meant to help them blend in with surroundings. So Williams is wrong, I think, to be particularly suspicious of traditionally-dressed Muslims. But is he wrong to worry about Islamist terrorism? Of course not."
Williams also notes that Islamic radicals look at 9-11 as the first drop of blood in a Muslim war inside America. Goldberg agrees, writing that the radicals "view themselves as engaged in a war with America, in which American cities are meant to be battlegrounds. ... It is not racist to acknowledge that, in many different countries, and even within the United States, young Muslim men -- thousands, it would be fair to say -- spend their days thinking up ways to kill American civilians."
Juan Williams is no bigot, and NPR knows it; Williams has a long and familiar record of fairness and anti-bigotry -- and even in the same interview he got in trouble for, he cautioned against blaming all Muslims for terrorism.
The left-leaning media were already alarmed Thursday that conservatives were talking about defunding NPR, a sacred cow of the left. Why? If Juan Williams can be fired, why can't taxpayers fire NPR?
But even the ladies of the liberal talk show The View -- two of whom walked out when Bill O'Reilly said Muslims were responsible for 9-11 -- say NPR erred in canning Williams. And so do the nation's leading Muslim advoacy groups..
In an article titled "Did Juan Williams say what most people are thinking?" ABC News' Russell Goldman writes, "Williams' remarks reflect a view so widely held among Americans that his dismissal has raised accusations of overly sensitive political correctness. According to two recent polls, Williams' remarks reflect the opinions of many Americans, leading some observers to suggest that Williams was fired for saying what everyone else is thinking."
Fox News is supposed to be so "extreme." But it doesn't fire people for their views like NPR does.
Who's extreme again?