Rep. Fred 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 political bias."
He called it "an egregious assault on free speech and individual expression, the touchstones of American journalism."
Upton, 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 scrutiny."
Sen. 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.