NPR conducting review of Juan Williams firing

NPR has commissioned a third party to review the process leading to the firing of news analyst Juan Williams, according to a memo sent to employees Thursday by NPR president and chief executive Vivian Schiller.

NPR has drawn fire from conservatives after firing Williams last month for comments he made on Fox News about feeling nervous when he sees fellow airplane passengers in Muslim garb. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have criticized Williams's firing as well as Schiller's subsequent remark that he should have kept his views between himself and his psychiatrist.

Additionally, President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission proposed cutting federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting among other ideas in order to reduce the long-term national debt. The move has strong support among Republicans eager to defund NPR. On Thursday, NPR issued a statement calling federal funding crucial to the survival of public radio stations nationwide.

In Thursday's memo, Schiller said NPR has retained the Weil Firm as "an independent, objective third party to review both the process by which the decision was made, and the way it was implemented and communicated." Schiller said the review has already begun.

"They have been asked to work quickly, but more importantly, to ensure a thorough process," Schiller said. "That review is well underway, but not complete; as such, it would be premature to anticipate what form their report will take or what parts might be made public at this time."