The Juan Williams/NPR rumpus has turned into a tempest in a Tea Potty, with innumerable conservatives claiming that the public broadcast network has violated Williams’ First Amendment right to free speech.
Except it hasn’t.
Handy First Amendment refresher course:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
NPR is not Congress, despite receiving a whopping 2% of its funding from the federal government. Regardless, the First Amendment rights of Williams continue to be invoked.
From Saturday’s New York Times:
Many supporters of Mr. Williams have sought to frame his firing as a First Amendment issue, especially those appearing on Fox, which reportedly gave Mr. Williams a new three-year contract on Thursday.
Three years at $2 million, that is.
Nice payoff for not having your First Amendment rights violated.