JUAN WILLIAMS BOOTED FROM NPR…. NPR has never seemed entirely comfortable with Juan Williams’ propensity for nonsense when he appears on Fox News. Last year, for example, less than a week after President Obama’s inauguration, Williams lashed out at First Lady Michelle Obama, calling her an “albatross” with a “Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going.”

Soon after, NPR insisted that Williams no longer identify himself on Fox News as a “senior correspondent for NPR,” though that was his title.

This week, that discomfort reached a new level, to the point that NPR chose to sever the relationship altogether.

NPR has terminated its contract with Juan Williams, one of its senior news analysts, after he made comments about Muslims on the Fox News Channel.

NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night. […]

NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

At issue is Monday night’s episode of Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News episode. The host went on yet another anti-Muslim tirade, insisting there’s “a Muslim problem in the world,” and the “Muslim threat to the world is not isolated.” He sought Williams’ approval, and received it.

Williams told O’Reilly he’s “right,” adding “political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.” Williams went on to say, “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot…. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

In candor, this kind of talk seems so routine on Fox News, I didn’t really expect Williams to face any punishment. I hope reasonable people can agree his remarks were ugly and narrow-minded, but this is Fox News. Williams’ anti-Muslim sentiment is expressed in various forms throughout the day, every day, on the network. There are no consequences because it’s expected — intolerance and prejudice from Fox News personalities are just par for the course.

The difference with Williams, though, is that he wears more than one hat. On Fox News, he’s a token “liberal” who isn’t liberal, free to make ridiculous on-air observations. On NPR, he’s a less contentious political analyst, who strives for some degree of credibility.

But the tension was always problematic. When Williams was back at his NPR home, the audience was supposed to simply forget that this was the same guy they heard earlier on making offensive remarks on television. It was an untenable relationship.

And so Williams joins Rick Sanchez in the recently-ousted-for-ugly-intolerance club. The group would be larger if Fox News executive cared about such things, but bigotry goes unpunished at the Republican cable news network.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.