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The Cost of Impartiality

After admitting on The O’Reilly Factor that he gets “nervous” on airplanes with people in “Muslim garb,” Juan Williams was ousted from his longtime post as a news analyst for National Public Radio. A day later, Williams scored a three-year contract totaling $2 million from Fox News as a reward for being a victim of political correctness. And in the mere 48 hours that have followed, conservatives have launched an assault on NPR, painting the network as a liberal mouthpiece.

Although no one disagrees that Williams has a right to voice his opinion — no matter how contrived and shallow it may be — NPR has as much a right to fire him. As Monica wrote, Williams violated his contract.

But there’s another story here: It has become increasingly hard for news outlets to retain their impartiality as the demand for entertaining commentary increases. Of the cable networks, CNN has learned this better than anyone. But after purging their network of partisan commentators like Lou Dobbs has come at a price; the network has consistently been beaten in the ratings nightly by Fox News and MSNBC.

And as we’ve witnessed with NPR’s firing of Williams, even when management does attempt to reel in breaches of journalistic integrity within their organization, they get crucified by the partisan media. There is still a demand for objective journalism in this country, but it’s getting harder to deliver — especially when shallow commentary is rewarded with a $2 million check.

Originally published by TAPPED.

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