This week, the House of Representatives voted to cut funding for NPR, which prompted New York Congressman Anthony Weiner to give one of his trademark rants on the floor of the House.
Juan Williams, the former NPR employee who was guest-hosting on The O’Reilly Factor last night, asked if “far left congressman” Weiner had “lost his mind.”
His guest, Dr. Caroline Helmand, professor at Occidental College, called NPR “a really important source of mainstream news.”
“I know they are being rebranded as being liberal and radical. The fact of the matter is they include stories that no one else covers, they include viewpoints from across the political spectrum. And even conservatives and Tea Partiers are coming out to defend them. So, the focus on this issue, I think, is misplaced and Representative Wiener is bringing that topic up.”
Williams and Helmand argued over whether or not NPR needed, or deserved funding, with Williams asking if funds for NPR should come before social security, college scholarships, police officers or fire fighters, to which Helmand basically said we should stop taxing the rich so we would not even have to prioritise these things:
“This either does or doesn’t make sense to me when I look at the books and I that we’re a wealthy country that can pay for everything we prioritise. Unfortunately, we happen to be prioritizing corporate welfare and welfare for the wealthy.”
The most interesting part of the interview came at the end with this exchange, especially since it seemed to come out of nowhere:
Helmand: “I happen to agree with Schiller that your comments were bigoted. I think that if I were to say that I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man that might resonate with a lot of Americans. It might be the truth but it’s a bigoted statement. I certainly wouldn’t have fired you but I do think there was some truth in that video that we don’t get to talk about because we are afraid to have actual discourse in this country.”
Williams: “I can’t believe that you just said that. You think that simply saying what you think is evidence of bigotry that all of a sudden it’s as if you were walking by a black man that would mean if you were bigoted if you were somewhat nervous. Let me just tell you, with the amount of black on black crime in America, I get nervous and I’m a black man. So, I mean, wait a second…”
Helmand: “There we go again, Juan. I would find that to be racial profiling that’s a bigoted comment.”
Williams: “That’s a bigoted comment?”
Helmand: “Yes it is. Just like your comment about Muslims.”
Williams: “I’m the father of black young men and I’m saying that if you saw a couple guys walking around looking like thugs down the street late at night, you’re saying ‘Oh, I’m not going to think it through.’ Caroline, I think you are way off base.”
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