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Social media wrap: Juan Williams, Sarah Palin and the 1st Amendment. Haven't we been here before? [Updated]

October 21, 2010 | 10:09 am


Politicians reacted swiftly as news of NPR's firing of Juan Williams grew from a tweet to becoming the week's hottest media story, with once and presumed future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee chiming in, among others. 

But the political tweeter that really got our attention was Alaska's Sarah Palin, who invoked the 1st Amendment in her post about Williams, who was fired Wednesday as a senior analysts at NPR for saying that Muslims made him nervous when he was flying. 

Palin tweeted: NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if....

...u exercise it. Juan Williams: u got taste of Left's hypocrisy,they screwed up firing you 

Haven’t we been here before with Palin? Twice

[UPDATED 11:10 a.m.]

In a post to her Facebook page Thursday, Palin wrote that "speaking honestly about these issues isn’t just [Williams'] right, it’s his job." She also called for NPR to lose its public funding. 

Cogent arguments about political correctness aside, Palin again seems to have her 1st Amendments mixed up. A bit like Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell (whom Palin has endorsed).

NPR terminated Williams' contract as his remarks were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR," the organization said in a statement.  

Although NPR is publicly funded, there isn't a constitutional issue here at all, just a simple case of a media organization making a decision that a commentator who ran afoul of its editorial policy shouldn't work for it anymore. 

But wait: Palin has shown she knows her freedom of speech from her separation of church and state, as on Wednesday she also tweeted the latest Ann Coulter column about O'Donnell and the 1st Amendment, headlined "Chris Coons lied, granny died."

Clearly, the 1st Amendment is alive and well. It's just a bit misunderstood.     

-- Craig Howie

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