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Muzzled by Juan Williams - Excerpt

Muzzled by Juan Williams - Excerpt

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“You can’t say that. You’re fired.”

Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide outrage and led to calls for Congress to end its public funding of the media organization.

In Muzzled, Williams uses his very public firing as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media—is stifled. In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts. Among the issues denied a full-throated discussion are racial profiling; the increased reliance on religious beliefs in debating American values and legislation; the nuances of an immigration policym gone awry; why abortion is promoted as a hot button wedge issue to incite the pary faithful and drive donations; the uneasy balance between individual freedom and our desire for security of against terrorism; and much more.

A fierce, fresh look at the critical importance of an open airing of controversial issues, Muzzled is a hard hitting critique of the topics and concerns we can’t talk about without suffering retaliation at the hands of the politically correct police. Only by bringing such hot button issues into the light of day can we hope to grapple with them, and exercise our cherished, hard-won right of free speech.

To read more about Juan Williams or Muzzled please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
“You can’t say that. You’re fired.”

Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide outrage and led to calls for Congress to end its public funding of the media organization.

In Muzzled, Williams uses his very public firing as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media—is stifled. In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts. Among the issues denied a full-throated discussion are racial profiling; the increased reliance on religious beliefs in debating American values and legislation; the nuances of an immigration policym gone awry; why abortion is promoted as a hot button wedge issue to incite the pary faithful and drive donations; the uneasy balance between individual freedom and our desire for security of against terrorism; and much more.

A fierce, fresh look at the critical importance of an open airing of controversial issues, Muzzled is a hard hitting critique of the topics and concerns we can’t talk about without suffering retaliation at the hands of the politically correct police. Only by bringing such hot button issues into the light of day can we hope to grapple with them, and exercise our cherished, hard-won right of free speech.

To read more about Juan Williams or Muzzled please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Jul 26, 2011
Added to Scribd: Jul 26, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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opyright © 2011 by Juan illiamsll rights rsrvd.ublishd in th nitd tats by rown ublishrs, an imprint of thrown ublishing Group, a division of andom ous, nc., w York. www.crownpublishing.comCROWN and th rown colophon ar rgistrd tradmarksof andom ous, nc.Library of ongrss ataloging-in-ublication atailliams, Juan.uzzld : th assault on honst dbat / Juan illiams.p. cm.ncluds indx.1. redom of spech—nitd tats. 2. olitical corrctnss—nitd tats. 3. illiams, Juan—olitical and social viws. . itl. J591.55 2011323.44'30973—dc222011016800B 978-0-307-95201-1B 978-0-307-95203-5PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 Jacket design by Ben Gibson 
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samsattler reviewed this
Rated 4/5
In a moment of candor during a 2010 appearance on Fox News, political commentator and columnist Juan Williams revealed the nervousness he feels when flying commercially alongside passengers dressed in what he calls “traditional Muslim garb.” NPR executives recognized that his words, if they were cleanly sliced from the context in which they were spoken, could be used to portray him as a bigot – a firing offense in the eyes of those who already wanted to rid the liberal-dominated network of an employee who did not automatically follow the company line there. So, in one of the most poorly handled dismissals of a public figure in recent memory, they fired him.This is the jumping off point for Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, in which Williams challenges the tendency of both those on the right and on the left to stifle any honest exchange of ideas with those on the other side of any given issue. He contends that this “you’re either with us or against us” attitude makes it near impossible for anyone to solve the problems America faces today. Williams gets his side of the NPR story out of the way in the book’s first chapter, “I Said What I Meant,” before broadening his argument against the political correctness and partisan politics that now so completely dominate the American political system.There are also chapters in Muzzled on the aftermath of 9/11, tax cuts vs. entitlements, immigration, abortion, political provocateurs, and free speech, in which Williams tackles in detail each of these hot button issues. The broad message of the book is that Americans are being very poorly served by news outlets that are as partisan and biased as the politicians they cover on our behalf – that there is no place for “the honest middle” to turn to for honest discussion. There is little doubt that all the shouting and slanted news presentations available to the viewing public on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, do little but reinforce already existing biases on both sides while increasing the overall anxiety and gloom felt by the average American – including the shrinking “honest middle.” As Williams puts it:"To my mind, the only way to confront these fears is to face them head-on. That means talking to one another. It means telling one another how we feel, including those we don’t see eye to eye with. We have to acknowledge that none of us knows everything. We have to accommodate ourselves to new circumstances and facts and seek peace, compromise, and progress. I am not saying that any of us should throw principle out the window. But my career as a professional reporter, columnist, and commentator has taught me that no one has a monopoly on the answers."Let’s hope it happens before it is too late. Or, as Williams contends, do we already have the media and political class we “deserve” because of how we continue to reward the media with high viewer ratings, and insist on returning the same failed politicians to office election after election?Rated at: 4.0
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