Review: Juan Williams book ‘self-interested preaching to the choir’ about NPR departure

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Reviews of Juan Williams’ book about his departure from NPR have been mixed, so far. “Muzzled” is scheduled for release July 26, but plenty of people have been given an advanced read on the Fox News analyst’s proposal that partisanship has stifled honest debate.

Advisers to President Obama and President Bush praise it, but Kirkus calls it “self-interested preaching to the choir.”

David Axelrod, an adviser to President Obama, said in his book blurb:

“For any American who fears the coarsening of our political debate has become an impediment to our progress as a people – and, more importantly, is wondering how to fix it – Juan Williams has written a book well worth reading.”

Former adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove said in his book blurb:

“Juan Williams is both dangerous and highly constructive.  He is both of these because, although he is a liberal, he is also a well-informed independent thinker.  Driven by conviction and evidence, he is not afraid to dissent from liberal orthodoxy. He’s a liberal with whom conservatives can have an honest debate and sometimes find common ground. And while I don’t necessarily agree with every observation or opinion in this book, it is Juan’s candid appraisal of the condition of political debate in America. It ain’t a pretty sight.”

Kirkus finds Williams’ account unconvincing:

“Here, the author recounts that removal, generalizing from his experience to lament a world in which free speech is supposedly suppressed in the interest of political correctness. … Williams is not especially convincing in that generalization; to read this account, it seems he may just have had a toxic relationship with his boss, herself recently gone after a political misstep of a different kind. … In the end, about the last thing the civil-discourse cause needs, namely more self-interested preaching to the choir.”

“Muzzled” is the first in a two-book deal that Williams signed after his departure from NPR.

Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.

Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • Anonymous

    Pray tell, what is the whole post-modern hyper-partisan rationale for National Public Radio other than “more self-interested preaching to the choir?” Dissent will not be tolerated, particularly among those of the Officially Designated Victim Classes!

  • StewartIII

    NewsBusters: Who Is ‘Kirkus Reviews’ And Why Do They Hate the New Juan Williams Book?

  • Jon Miners

    If someone who for years did commentary on a national radio work and the most widely watched cable tv network is muzzeled, what does that say about the rest of us?