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NPR embarrassed by Juan Williams after he compared Michelle Obama to Stokely Carmichael.

By Ali Frick  

"NPR embarrassed by Juan Williams after he compared Michelle Obama to Stokely Carmichael."

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jaun-billo.jpgLast month, conservative NPR pundit Juan Williams stoked outrage when he called Michelle Obama “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress” on Fox News. Today, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard sharply criticized Williams for the statement, and said that the organization has asked that he no longer be identified as affiliated with NPR when appearing on The O’Reilly Factor. In response, Williams issued a partial, half-hearted apology for what he called the “faux controversy”:

When I asked Williams about his comments, he initially called it a “faux controversy.”

But then he reviewed the tape and realized that “the tone and tenor of my comments may have spurred a strong reaction to what I considered to be pure political analysis of the First Lady’s use of her White House pulpit,” said Williams via email. “I regret that in the fast-paced, argumentative format my tone and tenor seems to have led people to see me as attacking instead of explaining my informed point of view.”

Williams defended his “informed point of view” about Michelle Obama by insisting that it “is not out of the realm of main-stream political discourse.” In 2005, the NPR ombudsman emphasized that NPR journalists “should not participate in shows that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”

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