×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Journos hit by speech impediments

Gaffes trip up on-air reporters

Cable nets have made journalists into stars and popular pundits, but there’s a fine line to tread when voicing an opinion — as Juan Willliams found out. And with the Internet supremely poised to judge and condemn anyone crossing that line, the media has seen some casualties in an accidental wars of words, some of whom may have even provided unhappy employerswith a good reason to get rid of them.

Juan Williams

Job: News analyst, National Public Radio (NPR)

What he said: “(W)hen I get on a plane, I gotta tell ya, when I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Where he said it: “The O’Reilly Factor,” Oct. 18

Who got angry: His employers at NPR

How long before he got fired? Two days

Was it something he said? Sort of. NPR was reportedly unhappy with Williams’ frequent contributions to the network and had asked that Fox News stop referring to Williams as an NPR commentator. Reaction has seen everything from verbal excoriation to bomb threats directed at the radio net.

Where is he now? Fox News. The network immediately gave Williams a $2 million contract.

RICK SANCHEZ

Job: CNN anchor

What he said: “I think Jon Stewart’s a bigot (…) I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart (Jewish).”

Where he said it: The Sept. 30 edition of “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick” on Sirius XM.

Who got angry: Jewish groups and “Daily Show” fans

How long before he got fired? Officially about a day, but Sanchez didn’t show up to anchor his show the next day, so possibly sooner. It was the first major staffing decision from CNN head Ken Jautz. Who is not Jewish.

Was it something he said? At least partly, but it’s likely that if Sanchez was a more highly-valued CNNer he’d have been scolded and told to apologize, rather than being canned. Stewart later joked, “All he has to do is apologize to us (Jews), and we’ll hire him back.”

Where is he now? Still promoting “Conventional Idiocy” (which sort of makes the joke for you) and apologizing in interviews and press releases.

HELEN THOMAS

Job: Columnist, Hearst Newspapers

What she said: “Tell (Israel) to get the hell out of Palestine… Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland. They (should) go home (to) Poland, Germany (…) and America and everywhere else. …”

Where she said it: To Rabbi David Nesenoff at an unplanned interview at the White House on May 27. Nessenoff posted the exchange on his website, RabbiLIVE.com

Who got angry: The Oval Office. Press secretary Robert Gibbs called Thomas’ remarks “offensive and reprehensible,” though he denied talking to President Obama about Thomas.

How long before she got fired? Two weeks.

Was it something she said? Yes. Officials and fellow journos asked that she be kicked out of White House press briefings, where she’s had a front-row center seat for years. Thomas stepped down and the seat went to Fox News.

Where is she now? retired

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • THE TITAN GAMES -- "The Titan

    'Titan Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

    NBC has renewed the Dwayne Johnson-hosted competition series “The Titan Games” for a second season. The series features men and women battling opponents in head-to-head physical challenges designed by Johnson. Winners advance to Mt. Olympus, a test of speed, strength, agility and endurance. “When we launched ‘The Titan Games,’ we set out to create an [...]

  • David Goodman

    David Goodman Re-Elected President of Writers Guild of America West

    David Goodman has been convincingly re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West, beating Phyllis Nagy in a bitter contest that became a referendum on the guild’s ongoing battle with talent agents. Goodman received 4,395 votes to Nagy’s 1,282 in an election that yielded record turnout among the WGA [...]

  • first wives club BET

    TV Review: 'The First Wives Club' on BET Plus

    Launching a series based on a beloved property is harder than it seems. On the one hand, you get the immediate boost of name recognition to lure in preexisting fans. On the other, straying too far from the plot and/or spirit of the original risks sparking their righteous wrath. It’s a tricky balance to strike, [...]

  • Thomas Golubic GMS Conference

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Christopher Eccleston Anorexia

    Christopher Eccleston Reveals He Was 'Very Ill' With Anorexia While Filming 'Doctor Who'

    “Doctor Who” actor Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his anorexia, body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. Eccleston, who played the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, made the revelations in his forthcoming autobiography “I Love the Bones of You: My Father and the Making of Me.” “Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content