DCentric » NPR http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU Why so many black residents left D.C. and Marion Barry on diversity http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/why-so-many-black-residents-left-d-c-and-marion-barry-on-diversity/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/why-so-many-black-residents-left-d-c-and-marion-barry-on-diversity/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2011 20:38:34 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=5190 Continue reading ]]> D.C. Councilman Marion Barry (Ward 8 ) spoke with Michel Martin on NPR’s Tell Me More program today about D.C.’s dropping black population. Martin tried to get Barry to explain his call to stop gentrification as quoted in a Washington Post article from last week.

Flickr: Tom Bridge

The exchange itself is worth a listen, but here are some choice moments:

“What gentrification does is that it displaces longtime residents, longtime people who have been here 10, 20, 25 years and have been renters,” Barry said.

Barry also mentioned that “the Hispanic population grew by 9 percent and we welcome that kind of growth, but this city and other cities have to deal with gentrification.” He goes on to say that “white people… are displacing African American renters, gentrifying the city. I’m not afraid to speak up and say that’s something we have got to deal with.”

Later, Martin tells Barry “what’s interesting about your perspective here is that you were elected initially as part of a multicultural campaign. With your initial campaign you had strong support from a number of multiracial communities, including the gay community which often has been on the leading edge of revitalizing neighborhoods that have previously been in disrepair. So for some people, it’s why all of a sudden now you’re critical of the very people who supported you initially.”

Barry: “Well, I’m critical about the process… We have to stop it.”

Martin: “Yes, but why do we have to stop it?”

Barry: “Because it displaces long-term residents and therefore it changes things.”

We’re not sure if that does much to satisfy your desire for further clarification or not, but Martin raised a point — “why do we have to stop it?” — that is similar to the questions raised by Ta-Nehisi Coates last week: “In all these stories about Washington’s shifting dynamics, I’ve yet to see anyone, in any rigorous way, demonstrate why this shift is–in and of itself–bad for African-Americans,” Coates writes. “There’s this implicit assumption that most black people who departed the District would have stayed if not for the hipster influx. But how do we know this? How do we know they aren’t, say, fleeing the District’s much maligned school system?”

Yesterday we spoke with demographer Roderick J. Harrison, a senior fellow at the Joint Center and a Howard University associate professor, to get a better understanding of the city’s shifting demographics. He framed D.C.’s loss of 39,000 black residents in this light: gentrification wasn’t the major driving force in Wards 7 and 8, where population losses were the greatest. Rather, it was by-and-large classic suburbanization in which people left the city’s poorest wards “that are often considered the worst neighborhoods,” Harrison said.

“The force behind it probably is seen as a positive force. These are people who are some way or another, they are upwardly mobile, they are improving their housing and neighborhood conditions, they are making personal decisions that they see, on the whole, as an improvement,” he said.

Harrison, who used to work for the Census Bureau, said that the 2000 data showed that most of the black people who left Wards 7 and 8 then left for Prince George’s County, Md., which Barry called “Ward 9″ in the Washington Post story.

But Harrison continued: “You always have the problem that those who are more able to move do so, and it’s often leaving behind a population that has fewer resources, lower income, higher poverty.”

Of course, the story is different in more rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods where many whites have settled, but Harrison pointed out that longtime homeowners tend to win out in those scenarios because their home equity improves. Longtime renters, though, are being priced out, and it’s those individuals that is seems Barry is speaking about.

Now D.C.’s black residents can voluntarily move to the suburbs for better housing, economic and educational opportunities, whereas before fair housing laws, many African Americans didn’t have much of a choice over which neighborhoods they could live in, regardless of class. The fact that so many have been able to leave speaks to a freedom to move, one that didn’t always exist for African Americans. But how much freedom is there really when the conditions in your neighborhood are so bad that you have to move from your city entirely in order to have a better life?

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Funding Diversity Through NPR http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/funding-diversity-through-npr/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/funding-diversity-through-npr/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:55:28 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4775 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: NC in DC

The mothership, on Mass Ave. WAMU is up in Tenleytown, if you were wondering.

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1076, which would take federal funding away from NPR and prohibit local stations from using such money to acquire ANY programming. While reading this message on WAMU’s website, something else struck me about this issue– how it will impact diversity:

This issue affects a much larger population than only WAMU 88.5 and our Washington community. If H.R. 1076 becomes law, many local public radio stations, particularly those in rural areas, would have difficulty continuing to provide the news and public affairs programs that millions of Americans rely on every day.

Diverse voices are also at stake. This bill would affect the ability of stations to access Native Voice 1, the Native American Radio Service. It would impact the work of the Latino Public Radio Consortium and the African American Public Radio Consortium, which create and distribute programs that showcase those diverse perspectives that mainstream public radio wants and needs to hear.

When I was at Public Media Camp last year, I heard a speaker mention that in some rural areas, public radio is the only source of culturally-diverse or international news and programming. At a time when newspapers around the country are shrinking, if not closing, that’s a sobering thought. If H.R. 1076 passes, who will be silenced? And how would that impact all of us?

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Local Tweets About NPR and Anacostia http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/local-tweets-about-npr-and-anacostia/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/local-tweets-about-npr-and-anacostia/#comments Wed, 16 Feb 2011 21:44:40 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4246 Continue reading ]]>

I used Storify, a neat tool which aggregates tweets (or other snippets of social media) and presents them in one tidy package to pull together local reactions to yesterday’s Morning Edition segment on Anacostia. What you see above is a screen shot of the collection. The full, interactive “story” is below the jump:

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And Now, Another View of Anacostia, from David Garber http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/and-now-another-view-of-anacostia-from-david-garber/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/and-now-another-view-of-anacostia-from-david-garber/#comments Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:33:26 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4231 Continue reading ]]>

The Morning Edition story about Anacostia which riled some locals.

Yesterday, NPR’s Morning Edition aired a piece about how Washington, D.C. is changing: “D.C., Long ‘Chocolate City,’ Becoming More Vanilla“. The segment was taped in Anacostia, and if social media is an accurate way to gauge local reactions, this highly-anticipated story dismayed and disappointed some listeners who live in Chocolate City.

While the racial makeup of D.C. is changing (everywhere– not just east of the river), some D.C. residents worried that the story showed an incomplete picture of a community which already struggles with how it is stereotyped and viewed. Did journalist Alex Kellogg go to Anacostia with a predetermined narrative in mind, which he padded with formulaic soundbites? A black resident is forced out. A young white gentrifier takes his place. People are robbed and pistol-whipped in an “edgy”, poor, black part of town.

Or is Kellogg guilty of dwelling on a community’s challenges instead of its immense potential? Is it even possible to tell a Ward 8 community’s story in under eight minutes? After speaking with David Garber, one of the people who was interviewed by Kellogg, I wonder if the answer to that last question is…”Maybe not.”

I emailed Garber as soon as I saw his tweets, which denounced the piece. Here’s what I knew about him from reading his blog, “And Now, Anacostia“, before Morning Edition taught me what he actually sounded like; Garber had lived in Anacostia, he was a booster for that community and he ceaselessly tried to counter the negative reactions it inspires. When I type “ceaseless”, I mean it– in 2009, when four men broke into his home during a holiday party and robbed his guests, Garber wrote:

As the night unfolded I was most frustrated that this happened in the presence of my guests, and that they would no doubt think differently about a neighborhood that they had grown comfortable with.

That’s right. Garber wasn’t worried about his safety or that he was a target– he was concerned that people who were already hesitant to visit him in Anacostia had just had their worst assumptions validated. And that’s the biggest complaint I saw yesterday– that Kellogg’s story conveniently confirmed the worst stereotypes about Anacostia. The fact that the story aired on Morning Edition, a respected program which thoughtful people trust for a nuanced take on the news only made it that much more powerful– and painful.

I called Garber yesterday, and spoke with him about Morning Edition, how he was portrayed and what he thinks about gentrification. He had quite a bit to say.

What did you think of the piece?

It was a very typical understanding of this neighborhood and neighborhoods like it. It’s unfortunate that a platform such as Morning Edition was used for such lazy journalism.

How was it lazy?

Well, it wasn’t a story about (Robert Adams) being priced out of the hood, it was the story of a guy who decided to buy a big house in PG county because he didn’t feel like living in Anacostia anymore. The reporter was trying to write about his impressions instead of reality.

But isn’t the reality that there is some displacement?

Yes. There are some people who have been pushed out of this neighborhood, sure. That is true, but I also think other parts of this story were left out or weren’t really told. The story ended up being about race whereas the story in Anacostia right now is about class. Most of the people moving here are black. It’s not a giant wave of whites in, blacks out. Anacostia’s racial history is choppy anyway, it was black for the past 50 years and before that it was white.

So it’s about class, not race?

Cities are adjusting themselves to people’s desire to live in them, that includes D.C. in general and Anacostia specifically. Generations X and Y want to live in the city, so we are seeing rightsizing…I don’t see how it’s a bad thing. For me, the story couched gentrification as something that is inherently negative, that negatively impacts neighborhoods and people who have been in them for a long time.

And you disagree with that definition of “gentrification”?

My experience with it is that it’s a lot more nuanced than that. In Anacostia and neighborhoods across D.C. there are people who’ve been here a long time, who are excited about infrastructure improving, cleanliness happening, neighborhood improvement. It’s problematic to argue against neighborhood improvement because you’d be advocating for the status quo.

Tell me more about your involvement with the Morning Edition story.

I agreed to be part of the story because I was trying to see if I could help broaden his understanding of what’s going on east of the river. One of the first things he talked to me about was the break-in at my house…which was something that didn’t really define my experience in this community, at all.

The piece made it sound like you left because of it. In reference to you, Kellogg mentioned that “this was not a neighborhood he stayed in for good, as well.”

In reality, I moved out months after that happened for unrelated reasons. The break in occurred in December of 2009. I left in August of 2010. And I moved out because of roommates, my lease.

An eight month gap between the robbery and your leaving would indicate that this was a neighborhood you did stay in, after being robbed…

Even after I corrected him a few times over email, and after the story came out…he treated it like he still believes that’s the reason why I left. His response was, “We were very careful about not saying that’s why you left.” For me, I hate even talking about the break-in because it was so irrelevant to my experience in Anacostia. It was one negative thing, but I had all these positive things that balanced it out. I didn’t see any reason to focus on it. Stuff like that can happen everywhere. I was not targeted. The people who broke in came in a car. They could’ve been from anywhere. It was an outlier of an experience.

And yet, if someone asked me about you or your blog, that break-in is the first thing I think of– specifically how you were concerned about how people would look at Anacostia after learning about it, after all of your attempts to present it in a different light. That was a memorable blog post.

I’m the first to admit Anacostia is not the most awesome neighborhood right now, but my goal has always been to do that. The negative press is already out there, so my goal was to add a positive perspective to the mix. I’m never going to say Anacostia is perfect right now. I know it’s not perfect. I also just know that it has potential and a lot of people are interested in seeing it improve.

No wonder you were so frustrated.

From the very beginning, I knew what story was trying to be told. My goal was to shape it away from that in some ways. There’s always the shock story, one population moving in, one being kicked out…that’s not what’s happening in Anacostia right now. It’s too bad that’s the story that was told.

If you look at who’s moving in, it’s a lot of professional blacks in their early to mid 30s. Gentrification doesn’t always mean racial displacement. I’ll be the first to stand up and say that I support more economic diversity in neighborhoods that are not economically diverse right now, and if that means gentrification, then we need to figure out what’s so horrible about it. Without gentrification, we’re left with pockets of poverty and food deserts; I don’t think that’s what we want.

Do you still live in Anacostia?

I lived there for 3 years, until last summer. Now I live across the river near the ballpark. I have my feet on both sides of the Anacostia river, in some ways.

Are you from D.C.? What drew you to Anacostia?

I grew up in Northern Virginia, so I’ve been in and around D.C. my whole life. When I started looking in D.C., to either rent in a nice neighborhood or buy in a less nice one, I came across Anacostia. I started believing in its potential. Everyone has their angle, I want Anacostia portrayed a certain way…and this reporter wasn’t trying to seek out representative stories, which just made it seem like a cheap shot.

It was an opportunity squandered…communities east of the river are places to trash. Some want to keep it that way…we kind of like having these places where we’re able to see the ruins of society and not offer any solutions or hear any true stories.

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Morning Edition Chokes on Chocolate City http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/morning-edition-chokes-on-chocolate-city/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/morning-edition-chokes-on-chocolate-city/#comments Tue, 15 Feb 2011 16:39:45 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4217 Continue reading ]]> During today’s Morning Edition, NPR played a story called “D.C., Long ‘Chocolate City,’ Becoming More Vanilla” by Alex Kellogg. The piece covered the demographic changes that everyone loves to discuss– namely how Chocolate City is going from Dark to Milk– and it did it in Anacostia! So not only did it hit DCentric’s sweet spot, it hit a few local bloggers’ sore spots. One of them was profiled in the story:

David Garber, 27, owns one home in Anacostia and is about to buy two more that are now boarded up. Garber, who is white, says people were happy when he moved to the neighborhood several years ago, because he rehabbed a home that was a haven for drug dealers and addicts.

He left the neighborhood after a 2009 incident where 15 friends were robbed at gunpoint at a Christmas party at his home. He insists that wasn’t the primary reason he moved, and he refuses to say the area is less safe than other parts of town — even though its violent crime rate is the highest in the city. He also insists the neighborhood is still affordable to anyone and everyone who wants to live there.

After the piece aired, Garber tweeted this:

NPR segment this morning about changes in Anacostia, in which they skew facts to tell a worn-out, sensationalist story: http://bit.ly/fDgWjR
David Garber

…which inspired me to reach out to him, to learn more about what was skewed and sensational. I love learning about the stories behind stories, don’t you? I’ll keep you posted, trust.

Update: I spoke to David Garber yesterday. Find that interview, here.

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Matt! Be our Guest (Blogger), Be our Guest! http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/12/matt-be-our-guest-blogger-be-our-guest/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/12/matt-be-our-guest-blogger-be-our-guest/#comments Fri, 10 Dec 2010 16:51:12 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=2603 Continue reading ]]> A quick administrative note: please welcome Matt Thompson of Project Argo/npr to DCentric!

Matt Thompson is an Editorial Product Manager at National Public Radio, where he’s helping to coordinate the development of 12 topic-focused local news sites in conjunction with NPR member stations. Before moving to DC, Matt served as the interim Online Community Manager for the Knight Foundation. In May 2009, he completed a Donald W. Reynolds Fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute; his explorations into creating context-centric news websites have been widely cited in discussions about online journalism’s future. He came to RJI from his position as deputy Web editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he led the creation of the Edgie-award-winning, socially networked arts-and-entertainment website vita.mn. While managing the development, community and production of vita.mn, he also managed technology and interactivity-related projects for StarTribune.com, from creating an internal taxonomy to transforming the online opinion section into a blog…

Matt graduated with honors in English from Harvard College in 2002, after writing his senior thesis on the television show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Outside of work, he blogs at Snarkmarket.com, has completed one Twin Cities Marathon, and is itching to get ready for another.

I stole that bio from here, where you can also find a picture of the man who encouraged me to apply for my dream job at WAMU: writing for DCentric. Matt kindly offered to pitch in and contribute to the blog for a week. Consider it an early holiday gift, because even though you might not realize it yet, that’s what it is.

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“Got the heat like Inskeep or Linda Wertheimer…” http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/11/got-the-heat-like-inskeep-or-linda-wertheimer/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/11/got-the-heat-like-inskeep-or-linda-wertheimer/#comments Wed, 17 Nov 2010 18:30:20 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=2125 Continue reading ]]>

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“I think the bike lobby liked Fenty.” http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/11/i-think-the-bike-lobby-liked-fenty/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/11/i-think-the-bike-lobby-liked-fenty/#comments Mon, 01 Nov 2010 15:33:05 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=1756 Continue reading ]]>


Random cab in D.C. I was too busy typing to photograph mine!

I opened the door and threw my laptop bag and purse down the expansive backseat of a weathered American sedan. “NPR, please”, I said. The driver looked at me in his rear view mirror, eyes crinkling.

“They are building a new building.” His voice was low and lovely. I instantly relaxed, as I often do, when I hear the lilt of an accent.

“NPR? Yes, they are.”

“I hope they tear all the walls. It’s just a warehouse, that thing was old.” He pronounces thing like “ting”. I love it.

“You’re awfully opinionated about a company you don’t even listen to,” I teased. “Isn’t this WTOP I’m hearing?” He decisively punches one button on his radio, and the car is filled with the Diane Rehm Show. “I work for WAMU,” I tell him.

“I switch from time to time. Whole thing is great. Rehm is doing well, Kojo is doing fine. You work with Kojo from time to time?”

I mention that I work on the same floor but that no, I don’t work with him. He changes the subject.

“How was this guy they fired? The way they fired him was a wrong one. And the other statement, that it is ‘between him and psychiatrist’…that was inappropriate. But she came later and apologized. If somebody does wrong, they apologize, then you forgive them.”

Now it’s my turn to change the subject. “How long have you been a cab driver?”, I ask.

“Almost ten years now. I once drove Geraldine Ferraro. She was with her husband, going to the airport. Also, that Donaldson guy.”

I ask him where he is from and he tells me, “Sierra Leone. West Africa.” Then he mentions that he has lived here for quite a while. I clarify– does he live in the city? He nods, twice, then mentions his neighborhood in Northeast. I’m surprised. The majority of cab drivers with whom I’ve spoken live in Maryland or Virginia.

“Before that, I lived on 7th Street.” He gestures towards the Convention Center, which we are sailing past. “I don’t think I’ll leave D.C. I like it here. The only thing is gentrification. Moving people from where they have been living for a long time, for these new condos…these luxury apartments. But eh, such is life. It’s not a good thing, but what can we do?”

I ask him about the Mayoral primary and it’s like giving him several shots of espresso. Suddenly, he’s animated, passionate, raring to go.

“To tell you the truth, most cabdrivers didn’t like the mayor. No one in my house voted for him, anyway. I think Vince Gray is a more respectful guy. Fenty became arrogant after he became Mayor– he changed completely, doesn’t listen to anyone, does what he wants to do.” He punctuates this last statement with a vigorous, disapproving shake of his graying head. I ask him about the divisiveness of the campaign…and am surprised and confused.

“They say white people liked Fenty, blacks liked Gray. I think the bike lobby liked Fenty. Wasn’t about race. The way I look at it, both of them are biracial so I didn’t pay attention to that, both have one parent who is white.”

“Vince Gray is biracial? I didn’t know that.”

He scoffs at this, impatience furrowing his brow.

“Grey is lighter than Fenty. One parent must be light.”

“I don’t know…I’ve met black people who are really light, who aren’t biracial.”

“Then each of their parents has one white parent!” he answers, triumphantly. I decide to drop it, which is fine, because he’s moved on to his next point.

“Anthony Williams left a lot on the books, Fenty only had to go along with them. Dog parks? Yeah, that’s Fenty’s idea, but fixing the schools and other things? Already on books! Fenty didn’t support baseball thing, he was strongly against it! And now he is enjoying! It was Anthony Williams’ idea to bring baseball right where it is. And now that place has changed, it’s so clean and nice.”

He makes an illegal left turn to enter NPR’s driveway and after snapping off the meter, he puts the car in “Park” before ducking down, across the front seat, to peer up at the building through the passenger-side window.

“I think this place has become too small for you all.” He smiles at me and tells me to stay “good”.

“Be happy,” he exhorts, and then he waves, before driving away.

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Juan Williams on NPR, via The Diane Rehm Show http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/juan-williams-on-npr-via-the-diane-rehm-show/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/juan-williams-on-npr-via-the-diane-rehm-show/#comments Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:32:12 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=1670 Continue reading ]]>

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Liveblogging Juan Williams on WAMU http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/liveblogging-juan-williams-on-wamu/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/liveblogging-juan-williams-on-wamu/#comments Tue, 26 Oct 2010 15:08:45 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=1648 Continue reading ]]> Today, erstwhile-NPR Analyst Juan Williams was on the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show, here at WAMU. I listened in…

Interesting: Juan and Diane are good friends, have been for many years; he has been on DR show several times. He thanks her for speaking to him during this “turmoil”. It’s a nice reminder that he’s an actual person, with a long history beyond this and not just a political football or insensitive panderer.

The NPR ombudsman has received 22,000 messages about this? Wow.

“Diane I’m the same person in both venues (NPR and Fox), but I’m aware of the differences in both venues.

“When I was fired, last Wednesday, the woman who called me said, “would you have said the same thing on NPR?” and I said, “of course”…(she tried to say I had violated journalistic ethics)…it would violate my journalistic ethics if I didn’t tell the truth!”

Diane is playing the actual exchange between Williams and O’Reilly for us.

DR: Do you have any regrets…
JW: None!

Williams says that his comment about Muslims is not analogous to the comparisons his critics are making to negative speech about African Americans (i.e. “How would he feel if people said something similar about Black people?”): “There’s no history of black people getting in airplanes and…”. He goes on to describe how fear can be appropriate, even in “small town America”, because “it’s a matter of being aware of your environment”. He clarifies that he wasn’t advocating profiling or extra scrutiny, saying “I simply admitted to my feelings.”

About the actual phone call/termination: “I think (my contract) was up late this year or early next year…well, I just got a call, I was up in NY and I got a call that said please call Ellen Weiss, so I call and when she called back she said ‘What did you say on O’Reilly Factor?’ and I told her what I said and she asked ‘did you mean that?’ and I told her I meant what I said and she said it was a violation of NPR’s journalistic standards, ‘We have people here who wear Muslim garb, the building is up in arms…”. She basically suggested or implied that I was a bigot. I said this was madness and I said I can’t believe this, can I come in and talk and she said ‘you should know this decision was made above me and there’s nothing to change my mind’.”

“Remember though, I’ve been there over ten years, so there have been various generations of management…I was hired while working at Fox news as Commentator, so that was well known as I came in…”

About his infamous comment on the First Lady and Stokely Carmichael: “(re: Michelle Obama’s comments about being proud of her country for the first time) I was trying to be very clear about the controversy that had been stirred during the campaign…I said she can’t get in that game or she’ll be a liability to the President…she cannot be Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress. People took that one statement and said, ‘Juan Williams said that Michelle Obama IS Stokely in a dress’…so that got the attention of management and they said ‘you shouldn’t be saying things like that’ and I said, ‘Again, it was matter of trying to analyze, break down the role of First Lady and how she can be an asset to the president’.”

About the Bush White House incident: “I knew a lot of the players. NPR and the Bush admin knocked heads. NPR then said you know a lot of these people, they’re coming on TOTN, can you help us get an interview with Bush? So at their request I began to have dinners…talk to people…well it took me about five years and finally the call came, ‘Yes, we;ll talk to you Juan. (NPR) said, “Delightful, we really want this interview”, so they give it play. A year later, it was the 50th anniversary of Little Rock…the President was not going, but wants to do a conversation about race relations and the U.S. NPR wanted to use a different journalist. I said ‘You asked me to build a relationship with these people and they know me!’ The implication was, ‘because you know conservatives and have worked with them as a reporter’ that i was somehow in their pocket…that’s obscene that’s offensive. It doesn’t mean there’s somehow some evidence of corruption…”

About the firing: Diane asked, “Vivian Schiller has tried to reach you directly, has emailed you, sent a registered letter (his wife got the letter yest). Are you interested in meeting with Vivian Shiller?”

JW: “I’m not sure what it would be for, I read the letter…it said ‘please call my office’. I was hurt…I was trying to stand up for the rights of Muslim Americans, I was not perpetrating bigotry and the idea that I was is deeply hurtful…and now this comment is condescending insulting. I think it’s a personal attack. I think it was intended to demean me, to suggest to a larger audience that this is someone you can’t trust, a loose cannon…there was no attempt to reach out to me in the immediate aftermath of that comment, which as I said, I found offensive.”

Diane says that it “feels like you are attacking NPR, are you confining your comments to leadership?”

JW: “I’m a big fan of radio and public radio. I have raised I don’t know how many dollars. I don’t think that there’s any question in terms of my history of being a fan of radio and public radio. I think you have local public radio as an important institution and outlet in so many communities. When I’ve had my experience with management at National Public Radio, it seems that there is a very narrow band of ideology being practiced, they’re not interested in a full expression of opinions or ideas, it’s very limited.”

A listener emails to ask about Williams’ new $2 million contract with Fox, “Is it an exploitation of your situation to conduct a vendetta against NPR, given that Newt Gingrich and others are now calling for cutting off funds for NPR?”

JW: “You know, this is an interesting thing. I am not a person who gets involved in these political things, that’s not my role as a journalist. I have simply been saying the way that I have been treated was wrong-headed. NPR has the power and credibility to go after one person and make the case that i was psychotic, unreliable, that there was a history of (issues)…”

DR: “How can you say there is no history when there is a history going back a few years?”

JW: “You’re talking about statements I have made or being on Fox. I was talking about my journalism. Ultimately, that’s what I think this comes down to (being on fox).”

On cutting funding: “I think that NPR should have money. I think that people at NPR have to be held accountable for their words and actions. To repeat, Diane, I am a big fan of radio and public radio and good reporting. This is not an attempt to wipe out anybody. It is so important to me.

(At this point, the issues I’ve been having with listening to WAMU live via the internet worsen, and the feed cuts out for a few seconds at a time. I know, listening via iTunes and Comcast is not ideal.)

A caller asks Williams about his record (?) of sexual harassment at the Washington Post 30 years ago? Apparently 500 women signed something? Caller is shocked that NPR would hire him.

JW: “I don’t even know how to respond to such lunacy.” Later he mentions that he may have told dirty jokes and that he apologized if he offended anyone.

Diane mentions that Vivian Schiller’s children are experiencing horrible fall-out from the controversy, that they are now being attacked…Williams does not address this, which is unfortunate. It was an opportunity to be gracious and make the iron-clad point that no one’s children deserve to be dragged in to this ugliness, no matter what side you’re on, that it’s just a point of decency. Williams is more interested in talking about how *he* was being attacked.

The final moments crystallize the dynamic I picked up on (and cringed at):

DR: Congratulations on your new position!

JW: Well, I have to get over what happened here.

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