by Max Brantley
Juan Williams, a correspondent for NPR and analyst for Fox News, speaks tonight at Philander Smith College in President Walter Kimbrough's Bless the Mic lecture series. It's free, 7 p.m. in the college auditorium.
As luck would have it in this lecture series, Williams comes with a note of recent controversy. He had done a friendly interview with President George Bush that won an invitation for another NPR interview at the White House, but only with Williams. NPR declined, saying it didn't want Bush to cherrypick which NPR staffer with whom he would talk. No problem. Williams put on his Fox hat and did the softballer for the Bush home team. Specifically, Bush wanted Williams to channel his thoughts about the 50th anniversary of the Central crisis, an event Bush skipped because he had no way to control the venue and any remarks he made on racial progress would have been risible, particularly in comparison with keynote speaker Bill Clinton.