Brooks and Shields agree: NPR screwed up with Juan Williams.

Here is the transcript of what David Brooks, conservative pundit, and Shields, a liberal commentator and journalist, said on PBS News Hour:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Thirty seconds left. The firing of Juan Williams, the analyst, by National Public Radio: the meaning of it and what is the fallout going to be?

MARK SHIELDS: Well, Juan Williams is a former colleague of mine on the Washington Post editorial page and a friend for 30 years. And I think that NPR made a serious mistake. He is an analyst. And he wasn’t a correspondent. And I think they did it in a terrible way, by telephone call, without a personal chance to explain himself. And, you know, I think it has given the right wing a tremendous opening to attack NPR, which I hate to see happen, because I think it is a valuable public institution.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I work at NPR somewhat. And I’m friends with Juan. I’m friends with the people who fired him.

But I think they did it in a bad way. I agree with Mark. I think what he said was perfectly within the bounds of debate. And the damaging thing to me is, NPR has really worked hard over the past 10, 20 years to become a straight-down-the-middle network. I’m not sure they always were decades ago. But now they really are.

And now, because of this unfortunate episode, they begin to get some ideological baggage again. And that is damaging.

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