Juan Williams vs Byron Williams – A Real Snapshot of Media Bias

Lets call this the case of two Williams.

It is a case study in the state of the journalism system in this country. Everyone has heard of the case of Juan Williams getting fired by NPR over some lukewarm comments he made about being nervous seeing traditional Muslims boarding the same airplane he was using. FOX News made sure the whole world knew about it. An interesting side to this is that there is a much more vivid story about another Williams that didn’t get near as much media play, but yet was more dramatic.

It is the undertold story of Byron Williams, the gunman who had a shootout with police in San Francisco in October. Williams was being pulled over for erratic driving when he started shooting at the police with high ballistic guns. The violent exchange went on for 45 minutes, ending only when Williams was wounded.

Upon questioning at the police station Williams admitted that he was on his way to the ACLU and the Tides Foundation offices to shoot as many people there as possible.

FOX reported up the story as it occurred, offering little more information than what I have stated here. What FOX never mentioned is that Williams claimed he was inspired by Glenn Beck’s rhetoric against these two agencies and decided to take matters into his own hands.

It is interesting how FOX can blow up the story about Juan Williams to absurd proportions while leaving out the much more important story of Byron Williams would-be massacre. FOX, apparently not wanting the public to know that the would-be mass murderer had gotten his ideas from one of their pundits, limited their news reporting on the story. Meanwhile they overly emphasized the Juan Williams story to destroy NPR, a public radio station that they say has a liberal bias.

NPR doesn’t dabble in the same vitriol that FOX does. FOX wishes to anger and amplify its listeners to follow doctrines which work for them, but will cover up those news items that don’t.

The Juan Williams affair would never have happened at FOX. FOX makes sure all their people toe the line from their first day of work and if anyone does not follow their prerogatives they are out the door before they ever have the chance to get famous. FOX made a big issue of NPR limiting freedom of speech while overlooking the fact that FOX chokes it off before it ever has the chance to get to the screen.

Using the Search engine on the FOX website to enter the name ‘Williams’ one finds page after page of articles about the Juan Williams affair but nothing about the Byron Williams shooting. There is a story listed of another murder involving a Col. Russell Williams who tortured and killed a woman subordinate in the Canadian military, but no sign of Byron’s story. Even after entering Byron Williams one comes across more Juan Williams articles before getting to a few very short ones mentioning his shooting spree in the merest of terms. The last article, written three weeks after the incident still mentions nothing of the fact that the shooter confessed that he was inspired by Glenn Beck to go on the rampage.

If the same had happened because of a liberal spokesman’s diatribes FOX would have had it plastered all over the headlines. Instead they said nothing.

Can anyone trust a major news media that only prints what it wants you to see?

There has now been a bomb threat made against NPR because of the Williams incident. There is no more innocuous station on the radio than NPR. What sort of mish-mash for a mind must someone have to do such a thing. Unfortunately it is one that needs to get its answers from a corporate entity that is more than willing to tell you what you should think.

FOX wants to destroy NPR. They are are out to snuff out anything that is different than they are. It wants to cut off the 2% government funding that NPR receives from grants. Of course FOX would never have to worry about getting its funding taken away. First off, the corporations that underwrite its inflammatory, very unfair and unbalanced opinions have deep pockets and deep tentacles and, second, the public will never know who most of them are. FOX does not have the open disclosure in how it operates like NPR does.


13 comments on “Juan Williams vs Byron Williams – A Real Snapshot of Media Bias

  1. Duh…Maybe because Juan Williams is a noted author, a frequent guest on many talk shows, a celebrated reporter as well, and got a pretty raw deal. Versus this Byron Williams who’s a nut case murderer.
    It seems to me it’s NPR that wants to silence it’s own reporters when it comes to FOX news.
    FOX also doesn’t cover or report the news about Angus Williams who murdered two children, Debra Williams who robbed a bank with her infant in a stroller, or W.L. Williams who embezzled funds from a charity. rfreed you should learn the difference between a ‘story’ and a malaligned ‘rant.’

  2. Red herring indeed, smells fishy, my friend… The original claim was that FOX refused to mention the fact that he was incited by Glenn Beck… so where’s the answer to that?

    Yes, the shooter was a bad guy, a truly crazy guy… but why no mention of his inspiration?

    The point of the article was that, if it was a liberal pundit that inspired him to his madness, it would be all over the front page of every Murdoch publication… so why not even a whisper of it on Fox when it’s Beck who convinced him to take such hatred into his own hands?

    Seriously bro, you know I love you, but if you’re going to just toe the party line, you’re going to have to bring more to the table than this.

    If this passes for a real, reasonable argument, do you really want me to start applying the same logic to future comments I post in opposition to things you say?

    • What this commentary did for me is to make me want to find out more of what was written here. I was not aware of this other Williams fellow. Maybe in passing, but didn’t make the connection. Thank you rfreed for taking the time to write this. It was well executed and thought-provoking as any serious commentary should be.

  3. Brian- Thank you for saying it so I didn’t have to. That is the point exactly.
    P. Beckert- That is also the point. People have not even heard of the Byron Williams case but the Juan Williams gets plastered all over the place.

  4. Solid article. I’m not missing the main point, but some things must be said…

    When that nutjob James J. Lee did his Discovery Channel hostage deal, I don’t blame Al Gore for that. Even though Mr. Lee had said previously he experienced ‘an awakening’ after watching ‘Inconvenient Truth.’

    I don’t blame the Beatles for Sharon Tate’s murder, even though ‘Helter Skelter’ is a pretty weird song.

    I don’t blame Glen Beck for Byron Williams. I don’t think any reasonable person should. Williams was insane, just like Lee and Manson.

    Hope we can all agree on that?

    Had Byron Williams listed ACORN or Bill Ayers as inspiration, yep I bet that would’ve got major FOX News coverage all right.

    That’s because Mr. Murdoch is running a business and knows it. He doesn’t have any Ed Murrow delusions. He intends to give his customers what they want and plenty of it.

    Rfreed’s thesis is that FNC is not a legit member of independent fourth estate. He offers us a difference without a distinction. There is currently in the US scarce little of an independent fourth estate remaining.

    Hey? Did anybody see that hard hitting NBC news story about GE’s efforts to avoid financial responsibility for million+ tons of PCB at bottom of Hudson and Houstonia Rivers? Nope, I didn’t either.

    What research I was able to do until ADD kicked in? I found NBC stories about PCB in some TX river, and in whale blubber around Puget Sound, but I didn’t find any Hudson River PCB stories from NBC.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll be grateful for correction, but seems to me NBC News doesn’t know there’s PCB at bottom of Hudson River, nor who put them there.

    Just one example. Sure I could find some for ABC, CBS and CNN too…

  5. That’s interesting about the GE/NBC stories. I bet you’re right. I know Fox is unabashed about promoting their American Idol finalists on any morning news Fox affiliate they can find. They might even limit the to fox, because I’ve never seen them on any other channels. And Fox doesn’t let their shows even mention shows on other networks. When SNL did a Taylor Hicks spoof, Seacrest wasn’t even allowed to say which show it was they were talking about…

    What? So I watch Idol. What’s it to ya?

  6. I respect your opinion, LB.
    A lot gets missed. There is a book that comes out every year citing the 10 biggest suppressed stories in the media.
    Most of the media is a bunch of wet noodles on all sides.
    But as I have said before, FOX is insidious.
    They are all about ego and power.
    I’ve heard NPR go over the Williams affair. They do not try to hide or deny it. They are capable of self examination.
    FOX cannot or will not. Their egos are steel plated; they won’t admit to a mistake and intentionally didn’t want the world to know about it. They WANT to stir up ire. And Byron Williams is an example of it. And he is not the only one to have committed violence in the shadow of emotionally manipulating pundits.
    As I have said before, most media is wet noodles or stick in your throat thistles. Two decent sources of news are Mother Jones and the Christian Science Monitor. They are true to themselves and their intellects.

    And I like American Idol but I wish they would cut down on the BS padding of the show and get on with the singing.

    Do I seem to bitch about everything?

    Don’t answer that!

  7. rfreed – I have to agree about CSM. I find them to be remarkably good, consistently professional, and just plain good. I’ve never researched them for bias, but I’ve never felt a need to.

    You aren’t watching Idol live are you? I Tivo it and catch it later. I also don’t usually watch the results shows. The results are always on Google News front page before the left-coast feed anyhow, so kinda what’s the point?

    I’ve also been watching Chilrens Hospital on Adult Swim… that web show is maybe the best thing on television.

  8. 13yo CA boy told by school officials, he can’t fly small American flag on bike he rides to school each day.

    FOX News and talk radio are all over it; they’re over-all over it.

    I scrolled thru 100 web hits, only found two non-FNC stories on it. One was a UK paper, other one MSNBC online poll. BTW, in the poll, voting was 60-1 that the kid should be allowed his bike flag.

    My point is that when a kid is told he can’t display the American flag on his bike on school property, I think that’s a legit news story. Our flag flies above that school, and American taxpayers provide that school.

    But in 100 web hits, I wasn’t able to find a CBS, NBC or ABC story about it. If I’m wrong and Katie Couric covered it tonite, I await correction; honest mistake on my part.

    Lots of CBS/NBC/ABC viewers I’d think, would be interested to know a California kid was told by taxpayer employees he can’t have a bike flag. It’s major media omission of such things that have in large part made FNC attractive biz plan, and a profitable one for Murdoch.

  9. You are right. If the other channels were intentionally avoiding the story, that is B.S. It is B.S. that they understate it and it is B.S. that FOX overstates it.
    And it is B.S. that the California school makes a stink about it in the first place. I can’t imagine what is in their thinking to bother about such a thing.

  10. I’m not sure why Fox would “overstate it” – or even what that would look like. Did they give it wall-to-wall coverage (not rhetorical, actually asking)? As for other stations, clearly I can’t speak for them either, but in THIS FOLLOW UP STORY (link) it says that he’s been talking with a variety of print, radio and tv news.

    It also clarifies the point that it wasn’t about the symbol of the flag, but about the reaction the flag was causing. Sounds like the tension caused by Mexican flags caused a general flag ban, and the kid was being threatened. How much of that to believe, I don’t know. I can’t imagine why a school would arbitrarily decide a flag was a bad thing, certainly not because of what it stands for (in this case, at least.)

    While the first amendment protects free speech, I still suspect every middle school would ban the burning of it, though that has been ruled a protected form of expression.

    There’s more to this story, I’m just not convinced that it’s that we’re missing the anti-American sentiment of it. I guess what I’d want to know is what was the catalyst for the complaint? In any event, it looks like it has been settled to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

  11. To answer your direct points Mr. White, FOX News aired the bike flag segment on every show in its AM lineup, and Beck, Hannity and Rush covered it on AM radio. I’d call that saturation. And yeah, I’m sure Fresno Bee and some regional TV news bit on it, and there’ll be larger media followup, but it was FNC that broke the story nationwide.

    And yeah the total flag ban is directly related to past Cinco de Mayo events.

    But I’m indicted NBC, CBS and ABC for decades of malpractice, and arguing their ignoring the story as example of why the Murdoch camel got its nose under the tent in the first place.

    Is Brian Williams such a jackass he doesn’t know that a Veteran’s Day story about a banned bike flag is ‘Man bites Dog’ opportunity? That story could be taken so many important places by real journalists. For examples; is the illegal immigration debate factionalizing our children? Does a 13yo have the same full right to political free speech as an adult? Why is display of US flag now seen as a political statement?

    The major networks ignore such stories all the time; have for decades. I think many of the Left’s criticisms of FOX News are quite valid. I merely maintain the major networks helped create an opportunity that Rupert grabbed, by their poor customer service.

  12. “It’s major media omission”
    Major media omission LOCALLY, but not nationally. Especially if the school admin flies a US flag (or was it a Mexican Al Qaeda flag! Those liberals!)
    Agree about npr playing (sometimes boringly) straight. whoever fired jw resigned recently. i heard that news on… npr. I’d rather they rehire jw (if he’s otherwise worth it)

    I merely maintain the major networks helped create an opportunity that Rupert grabbed, by their poor customer service.
    Broadcast time is limited. fox can provide stories others ‘ignore’ (demote) because fox ignores/demotes the more critical news.
    Pacifica does similarly.

    Why is display of US flag now seen as a political statement?
    The school shows the flag (per you). So the question is “why is unscheduled display of political symbolism, etc..?”
    Should mexican political graphics be banned because the US is at war with mexico?
    (political recombination…)

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