Juan Williams Exclusive: NPR's Firing 'Vindictive,' 'Antagonistic,' 'Vicious'

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"This is the most ridiculous thing. Then, the people at NPR take one statement, and they make it out that I am a bigot. It's unbelievable to me, given the books I've written, the things I've done in my life. Now I'm a bigot?"

News of Williams' firing stirred a backlash across the political spectrum with liberals, conservatives and veteran journalists chastising NPR for his dismissal.

"If you are someone who is giving your opinion, then you're allowed to give your opinion," ABC's Barbara Walters said Thursday on "The View." "You may or may not agree. Therefore, I think [NPR] were very wrong [to fire Williams]."

William Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard wrote, "Do the powers-that-be at NPR think Juan Williams is a bigot? Do they think a traveler who has a reaction (fair or unfair) like the one Juan describes, in our age of terror in the name of Islam, is a bigot?... I suspect the powers-that-be at NPR pretty much think what Juan thinks. But the standards of political correctness must be maintained."

But there are others who believe Williams is the latest media personality to make an insensitive, prejudicial gaffe worthy of termination.

"NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats," Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad told the Associated Press.

Since his termination, Williams has been hired full-time at Fox News in a reported $2 million, three year deal.

NPR receives some funding from the federal government and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said he plans to introduce legislation to end federal funding for NPR.

"Once again we find the only free speech liberals support is the speech with which they agree. The incident with Mr. Williams shows that NPR is not concerned about providing the listening public with an honest debate of today's issues, but rather with promoting a one-sided liberal agenda," said Sen. DeMint.

"I plan to introduce legislation to defund {the Corporation for Public Broadcasting] and force a vote on it as well as other measures to start getting our fiscal house in order," he said.

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