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Within 24 hours, Juan Williams lost his job as an analyst at NPR, only to sign a lucrative $2 million contract with Fox News.

Fox News Chief Executive Roger Ailes took a jab at NPR in his statement announcing the three-year deal. “He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis,” Ailes said.

Williams, who had contributed commentary to both outlets, will now appear more often on the station and write a column on Fox News’ website. He was fired by NPR after saying on Bill O’Reilly’s show that he gets nervous when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and other conservative leaders rushed to Williams’ defense today, and many called for the federal government to stop providing funds to NPR.

 

You can watch Williams’ conversation with O’Reilly here:

 

 

NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm told the L.A. Times that Williams had been warned about the policy that their journalists should not participate in programs “that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.” NPR CEO Vivian Schiller said: “This isn’t a case of one strike and you’re out.” Schiller said grants from federally funded organizations provide only one to three percent of NPR’s total budget.

[Rewind: CNN host Rick Sanchez fired over on-air remarks]

Williams, who was an analyst for NPR for years, said he was fired abruptly over the phone yesterday. He addressed the controversy on Fox prior to the contract announcement. Watch his comments below.

 

 

(Photo: Williams/AP)

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