Published January 06, 2011
Ellen Weiss resigned as senior vice president for news on the same day that NPR's board of directors completed its independent review of the dismissal of Williams. The directors recommended new internal procedures for personnel decisions and disciplinary action.
The board expressed confidence in CEO Vivian Schiller's leadership but voted to forgo her 2010 bonus because of "concern over her role in the termination process." Schiller drew criticism in November for saying Williams should keep his feelings about Muslims between him and "his psychiatrist or publicist" -- comments that she later apologized for.
Williams, who is a Fox News contributor, cheered the announcement.
"It's good news for NPR if they can get someone who is the keeper of the flame of liberal orthodoxy out of NPR," he told Fox News, which gave Williams a bigger role as a contributor in the wake of his firing.
"She had an executioner's knife for anybody who didn't abide by her way of thinking," he said. "And I think she represented a very ingrown, incestuous culture in that institution that's not open to not only different ways of thinking but angry at the fact that I would even talk or be on Fox."
Williams was fired by the nonprofit media organization because of remarks about his anxiety over seeing people dressed as Muslims on airplanes, remarks made during an interview on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." The company said the remarks did not meet its "editorial standards."
But the company came under withering criticism for the dismissal because it appeared rash and unfair since other NPR analysts have expressed their opinions with impunity.
According to Williams, Weiss fired him over the phone without giving him a chance to defend himself in person. Williams said she accused him of bigotry although he was arguing against rash judgments about people of faith.
"She felt that there was no place for me because I crossed the lines of her journalistic standard," he said. "I think what I crossed was her politically correct red line in the sand."