Upton (R-Mich.), former chair of the House Communications Subcommittee (and a leading contender for the chairmanship of the Energy & Commerce Committee if Republicans win next
month), said Friday that NPR's firing of Juan Williams
over his comments about Muslims on The O'Reilly Factor "tears down the
thin veil that once shrouded this taxpayer-subsidized organization's
He called it "an egregious assault on free speech and individual expression, the touchstones of American journalism."
identifying himself as a former journalism student, said that
"censorship of the press can not be tolerated." He said that the firing
"abuses taxpayer dollars" and demands "strong congressional
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has said he will introduce legislation to defund NPR over the incident.
Republican legislators periodically threaten to defund noncommercial media, complaining of liberal bias.