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Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate

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Overview

“You can’t say that. You’re fired.”
 
Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide...
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Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate

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Overview

“You can’t say that. You’re fired.”
 
Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide outrage and led to calls for Congress to end its public funding of the media organization.
 
In Muzzled, Williams uses his very public firing as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media—is stifled. In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts. Among the issues denied a full-throated discussion are racial profiling; the increased reliance on religious beliefs in debating American values and legislation; the nuances of an immigration policym gone awry; why abortion is promoted as a hot button wedge issue to incite the pary faithful and drive donations; the uneasy balance between individual freedom and our desire for security of against terrorism; and much more.
 
A fierce, fresh look at the critical importance of an open airing of controversial issues, Muzzled is a hard hitting critique of the topics and concerns we can’t talk about without suffering retaliation at the hands of the politically correct police. Only by bringing such hot button issues into the light of day can we hope to grapple with them, and exercise our cherished, hard-won right of free speech.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Veteran news analyst and journalist Juan Williams made his own headlines late last year when he was fired from his longtime post at National Public Radio because of controversial remarks he made on Fox News, where he still works. In Muzzled, the Emmy Award-winning commentator and bestselling author (Eyes on the Prize) discusses his ouster and other issues in our hotly contested public arenas.

Publishers Weekly
"When our biggest concern is not whether our words are true but whether our words will result in punishment, then we are giving away our most precious freedom." A long-time journalist for NPR, Fox News, and The Washington Post, Williams (Enough) tackles political correctness and the polarization of debate in America, but not before thoroughly explaining his departure from NPR. Although the airing of his grievances becomes tiresome, he redeems his book when he turns to the national scene. The theme of free speech is woven throughout his own story and his examination of partisan politics, taxes, immigration, and polarizing issues like abortion. He writes: "The voice of honest debate in America has been muzzled. And as those voices of honest debate have grown silent, the quality of our political institutions has been diminished." As he warns against "politically entrenched thinking protected by special-interest groups and lobbyists," he analyzes recent events, such as the 2010 health care debate and the 2011 Wisconsin public-sector union debacle, while also providing historical context. Though short on solutions, Williams's passionate cry for real discussion will inspire readers.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews

A plea to make the world safe for bad-mouthing Muslims against the big bad PC police of the Far Left.

Self-described middle-of-the-roader Williams (Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It, 2006, etc.), now a fixture on Fox News, was famously relieved of his duties as an NPR commentator after having confessed to getting queasy aboard planes in which certain passengers are "dressed in garb that identifies them first and foremost as Muslims." Here, the author recounts that removal, generalizing from his experience to lament a world in which free speech is supposedly suppressed in the interest of political correctness. True enough, we live in a time when the gravest offense often seems to be to give offense in the first place, even though there are plenty of people—and plenty of them on Fox—who make good livings doing just that. Williams is not especially convincing in that generalization; to read this account, it seems he may just have had a toxic relationship with his boss, herself recently gone after a political misstep of a different kind. To be fair, he concurs that some Fox types, particularly the soon-to-be-gone Glenn Beck, are guilty of stifling and shouting and incivility, though this admission comes in a rather roundabout way: "So while my friends at Fox frequently and courageously expose the use of this tactic of political correctness by the Left, it's important to remember that the Right plays this game too." Most of the book is unobjectionable—sure, it'd be nice if we could all play nice and Al Franken wouldn't roll his eyes at Mitch McConnell. Even so, much of the narrative is a long exercise in complaint about his bad treatment at the hands of NPR management, in which Williamsoverlooks, it seems, the Ailesian right-to-work credo, which holds that all employees serve at the pleasure of their bosses and there's no such thing as tenure or appeal. Who lives by the sword, after all...

In the end, about the last thing the civil-discourse cause needs, namely more self-interested preaching to the choir.

From the Publisher

“Juan Williams is both dangerous and highly constructive.  He is both of these because, although he is a liberal, he is also a well-informed independent thinker.  Driven by conviction and evidence, he is not afraid to dissent from liberal orthodoxy.  He’s a liberal with whom conservatives can have an honest debate and sometimes find common ground.  And while I don’t necessarily agree with every observation or opinion in this book, it is Juan’s candid appraisal of the condition of political debate in America. It ain’t a pretty sight.”
—Karl Rove, former senior advisor to President George W. Bush
 
"For any American who fears the coarsening of our political debate has become an impediment to our progress as a people – and, more importantly, is wondering how to fix it – Juan Williams has written a book well worth reading."
—David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama
 
"Ever since Juan Williams wrote Eyes on the Prize about the Civil Rights movement I've been an admirer.  It was painful to see him become the insect-in-the-jar last year for speaking his mind freely on Fox News.  In Muzzled Williams gets to settle mighty scores.  Its a thoughtful, poignant and well written defense of his journalism career.  And its a cautionary tale about political correctness run amok.  Highly recommended!"
—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Wilderness Warrior and The Great Deluge

"Juan Williams has written a fascinating account of what happened to him at NPR, and used it to make the case for a serious and civilized political debate. An important book and a compelling read."
—Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst, Fox News Channel

“Juan Williams has written a poignant and powerful book about the degradation of our democratic dialogue. He skewers right and left alike for their tendency to use labels and applause lines to try to silence opposition. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you already know what he is going to say. Read the book instead. You will come away, as I did, sobered about the state of our politics, and determined to demand better.”
—Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University

"Juan Williams truly understands the importance of fighting hard for honest debate in America. Though we disagree on many issues, I was pleased to help make sure that his strong voice was not silenced by those who give lip service to the First Amendment. Like his on-air appearances, Juan’s writing is smart and honest. Muzzled is the compelling story of our Constitution in action and one man's willingness as an American to speak his mind at any cost."
—Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel and Chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group

"Juan Williams has written a fascinating account of what happened to him at NPR, and used it to make the case for a serious and civilized political debate. An important book and a compelling read."
—Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst, Fox News Channel

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307952011
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Juan Williams, one of America’s leading journalists, is a political analyst for Fox News, a regular panelist on Fox Broadcasting’s Sunday morning public affairs program, “Fox News Sunday,” and a columnist for FoxNews.com and for The Hill. He hoasted NPR’s Talk of the Nation and has anchored Fox News Channel’s weekend daytime news coverage. A former senior correspondent and political analyst for National Public Radio, he is the author of the bestselling book Enough; the critically acclaimed biography Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary; and the national bestseller Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, the companion volume to the critically acclaimed television series. During his 21-year career at The Washington Post, Williams served as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, and White House reporter. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, and The New Republic.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 I Said What I Meant 1

Chapter 2 Defying the PC Police 32

Chapter 3 Partisan Politics 59

Chapter 4 9/11 and Other Man-Caused Disasters 92

Chapter 5 Tax Cuts, Entitlements, and Health Care 119

Chapter 6 Immigration, Terror Babies, and Virtual Fences 152

Chapter 7 The Abortion Wars 180

Chapter 8 The Provocateurs 210

Chapter 9 The Limits of Free Speech 243

Epilogue 266

Acknowledgments 283

Index 287

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2011

    If the far-left PC Police at Kirkus Reviews don't like it, then it has to be a must read!

    I'm not a fan of Juan Williams because he is way too liberal for me. However, he was fired by the PC police at PBS and since more PC police at Kirkus Reviews are trying to pan his book and his explanation of the situation then it must be a pretty good indictment of the anti-free speachers at PBS.

    18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Let's Talk About it

    Political commentator Juan Williams was fired from NPR for sharing his true feelings that he worries when he "gets on an airplane and sees people dressed in grab that identifies them first and foremost as Muslims". On the surface it seems like an outright bigoted statement that justifies the firing from his position on NPR.

    However, in Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate by Juan Williams, he shares the rest of the story. Williams delves into the context of the statement and how he had been on a hit list to be fired by NPR. As a journalist he should be able to share his honest opinion.

    Williams does a good job into exploring how in a 1440/7 world (1440 minutes a day, 7 day a week), the media is consumed with sound bites and video loops. This information overload distorts the facts and prevents honest political debate.

    America's politics have always been rough and tumble as captured from the earliest Federalist paper s writings, but now political leaders and journalist are afraid to tell the truth because of the wrath of the provocateurs.

    Williams also explores the evolution of "political correctness" and its influences on the broader society.

    Fortunately Williams was able to recover from his words, but the political discourse needs to be changed where solutions are reached rather than divisive language of hate.

    Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate by Juan Williams is a start to regain the tradition of honest debate.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    kaan and her computer again........nightshade my love if your re

    kaan and her computer again........nightshade my love if your reading this i got grounded and will be back super soon im trying so hard .........if you come back i will be here for you.....i promise....i need you....*smiles* how else am i gonna get fluffy assasin kits to kill difinity.....~much love~ Kaan

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Nightshade

    I'm nit at night masksO.o

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Kaan message

    Hey look im going to Z.O.R and my kit ((adopted)) is coming too. I still love you and if you wana came i could die of joy....... 'counting by 7' res three. Toxin os there and i could use some help dealing with that.....my pist might be labeled 007.......shooooooooo see ya. *kissed your cheek* im hear for ya

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    second hand so far...

    Wife is reading it and she (the bleeding heart liberal) says that it confirms some of her previously conceived thoughts and also finds it enlightening in other areas. I (the knee jerk conservative) will form my own opinions when she gets done but think I will probably agree with her on most points from what she has said. the four stars was her rating.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Unreadable

    What a crock! Mr. Williams and this book are both a joke.

    0 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    Juan Williams is a joke!

    Dont' waste your time. He is just another Obmamaniac!

    0 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 14, 2011

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    Posted August 31, 2011

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