News analyst Juan Williams has been fired by National Public...

News analyst Juan Williams has been fired by National Public Radio after comments he made about Muslims on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."
(Oct. 21, 2010) Credit: AP

WASHINGTON -- For ousted NPR commentator Juan Williams, Rep. Steve Israel's attempt to raise money for Democratic candidates by highlighting the House GOP's vote to defund NPR was the last straw.

Williams, a Fox News analyst fired last October by NPR for comments about Muslims, said he hadn't called for stripping National Public Radio of federal funding "even after they fired me [and] called me a bigot."

But Williams said he changed his mind after he saw the appeal from Israel (D-Dix Hills), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"He is openly asking liberal Democrats to give money to liberal Democrats in Congress so they can funnel federal dollars into news radio programs designed to counter and defeat conservative Republican voices," Williams wrote in The Hill, a Washington newspaper.

That plea, he wrote, "made the case better than any Republican critic that NPR is radio by and for liberal Democrats."

DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said the email aimed to point out another bad GOP budget cut and denied it endorsed the idea that NPR provides only liberal news.

"Big Bird, the Amber Alert system and local radio in rural communities are not liberal or conservative. It's good public policy," she said. "The DCCC has sent dozens of releases and emails to highlight Republicans' many misguided choices to cut critical services."

The DCCC sent out the NPR email Wednesday, the day before the House Republicans planned to vote on a bill to defund NPR. The appeal sought $5 or more to reach a $50,000 goal.

"They know NPR plays a vital role in providing quality news programming -- from rural stations to in-depth coverage of foreign affairs," it said. "If the Republicans had their way, we'd only be left with the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to dominate the airwaves."

The bill to defund NPR passed with all but seven Republicans voting for it and all Democrats voting against it. It's expected to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Williams was a commentator for NPR and Fox News until NPR fired him on Oct. 20 after he said on Fox News that he worried when he saw people in "Muslim garb" on airplanes.

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