Opinion

Juan Williams: Right goes after Martin Bashir, Dixie Chicks, Bill Maher, but cry foul now?

You can take the pundit out of NPR, but you can’t take the NPR out of the pundit.

During a“Fox News Sunday” discussion, Juan Williams covered himself in ignominy again by contrasting conservatives’ defense of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson with the indignation stirred by former MSNBC host Martin Bashir, HBO’s Bill Maher or the Dixie Chicks’ lead singer who denounced her own country on foreign soil in a time of war.

And as ever with libs, Williams sees hypocrisy everywhere but where it actually is – and misunderstanding a genuine mass movement with the mass media, where nothing is real so much as it is a political issue.

“The reason that the right is so strongly backing this is because they think this is a potential wedge issue, especially with older, white, evangelical voters,” Williams said.

Williams apparently believes that when the story broke Wednesday, Republican operatives were already swinging into action to make the most popular show on cable television a political wedge issue. The idea that Robertson’s beliefs were honestly felt, and that the reaction to his suspension by A&E was genuine outrage s something Williams doesn’t seem to quite grasp.

“The right goes after Martin Bashir, they wanted Martin Bashir fired,” Williams said. “Remember Dixie Chicks, or Tim Robbins or Bill Maher? All of that, the right says get them out of here. But then they want to cry foul when people are intolerant of them.”

Equating Martin Bashir’s open advocacy of someone defecating in Sarah Palin’s mouth with Robertson’s answer to a simple question is as intellectually offensive as it is morally obtuse.

Equating Phil Robertson, who’s built a media career out of being a plain-spoken, plain-living industrious backwoodsman with a Bill Maher – whose media-driven image of a teenage geek still getting back at the cool kids in high school is just inane.

Robertson’s words were offensive to some because he said them because he believes them. Maher, by contrast, is offensive because he says words precisely because they will offend some people – give his audience yuks in the process.

The Dixie Chicks stunt doesn’t even deserve mention.

To give Williams the smallest credit – he did have that brief flash of honesty in 2010 when he said he’d really rather not get on an airplane with Muslims because he was afraid they’d blow it up. He’s apparently been working ever since to get back into the good graces of the cocktail set.

“When I got fired, it was part of an honest debate about terrorism in our society. My employer didn’t like it and fired me. But this is not about honest debate. What was said actually shuts down debate. It was ugly language about homosexual acts. It invites bigotry.”

It was also right out of the Bible. And it was pretty tame compared to what Bashir invited for Sarah Palin.

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