At the end of Friday night's PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff asked their political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks about NPR's firing of Juan Williams. Shields said "NPR made a serious mistake...and I think they did it in a terrible way, by a telephone call without a personal chance to explain himself. You know, I think it's given the right wing a tremendous opening to attack NPR, which I hate to see happen, because I think it's a valuable public institution."
Brooks disclosed "I work at NPR somewhat" (as part of a similary analyst duo with liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne). Brooks agreed with Mark about the firing and its lack of personal contact. "I think what was said is perfectly within the bounds of debate." But then he insisted NPR has achieved sensible centrism in recent history:
And the damaging thing to me is NPR's worked really hard over the last 10, 20 years to become a straight-down-the-middle network. I'm not sure they were decades ago, but not they really are. And now because of this unfortunate episode, they're beginning to get some ideological baggage again, and that's damaging.