Fans of ousted NPR journalist Juan Williams are firing shots at the wrong target.
In a blog post, PBS ombudsman Michael Getler points out that several hundred angry fans can’t tell the difference between public television and public radio. So they’re dashing off angry letters to him, instead of NPR, from which Williams was fired after making comments about “Muslim garb” on Fox News. (Don’t cry too hard for Williams, though, since Fox News offered him a $2 million contract.) NPR and PBS both have the word “public” in their names and have some government funding, but don’t have much else in common. He clears things up for the confused:
Juan Williams does not work for PBS […] NPR does radio. PBS does television. NPR has a substantial news operation of its own with hundreds of reporters and editors in a central newsroom in Washington and in bureaus around the country and the world. PBS does not produce anything for television. There is no PBS newsroom. It distributes and puts its stamp of approval on programs developed by individual stations and independent producers and distributes them to member stations around the country.
PBS is sending a form letter to confused, outraged fans explaining the difference. Which is a good thing, because if you don’t fact-check your e-mails, you’re probably not going to comb through Getler’s blog, either. For those who have had their faith in humanity dashed, know that thousands of Juan Williams fans did the correct thing and yelled at NPR. (PBS, via Daily Intel)