Politico has suspended White House correspondent Joe Williams over comments suggesting that Mitt Romney is more "comfortable" around white people.
Williams, who is African-American, made the comments during a Thursday appearance on Martin Bashir's MSNBC program. During the appearance, Williams discussed how he believes Romney appears more "comfortable" appearing on Fox News Channel, as opposed to other outlets, and implied that race is a factor.
So, what exactly did this man say to have POLITICO swooning in the general direction of the nearest fainting chair?
"Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That's one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in town hall settings, why he can't relate to people other than that," Williams said during the appearance. "But when he comes on 'Fox and Friends,' they're like him. They're white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."
I wouldn't say Sir Willard Milton Romney's visible discomfort stems from his reluctance towards darker hues. He's a wealthy man who feels most at home with men and women of his economic and social class. No wonder the man has to feign sincerity everywhere he goes - connecting with the common man is a foreign concept to him.
It seems like this straw was the last one the POLITICO camel could carry before its back snapped. Not only is Williams on the hook for the above quoted, as spoken on Martin Bashir's show on MSNBC, he's also on the hook for a string of Twitter comments, including this one:
Seriously, there have been worse things said about Mitt and Ann. In the cold, cruel world of the Internet, this would be a non-issue. Except the folks at Breitbart decided to make it one and commenced flagging this and other tweets penned by "jdub":
This is tame. Spectacularly tame. Other organizations would see Breitbart's attempts to make something of nothing for what it is and subsequently ignore it. Instead, POLITICO rushed to throw Williams under the bus. Essentially, this guy got suspended (without pay) for doing what Glenn Beck does on a regular basis. If a Fox News White House Correspondent made a similar remark about President Obama, they'd get a pat on the back and plenty of thumbs-up.
I can't see POLITICO throwing one of their correspondents under the bus unless it was 1)an inside beef between Williams and the editors or 2)the POLITICO was so fearful of the response from Breitbart and other conservative outlets that it collectively shat itself and consequently shat on Williams. From my understanding, POLITICO is supposed to be neutral, yet it has a soft touch for Mitt Romney, as evinced by its executive editor and chief White House correspondent's accusations of the New York Times and Washington Post being biased against Mitt Romney:
On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady....
...and the horse-riding story came a few weeks after a second story that made Republicans see red – another front-pager, this time in the Washington Post, that hit Mitt Romney for bullying a kid who might have been gay, in high school nearly a half-century ago. The clear implication to readers: Romney was a mean, insensitive jerk.
These "implications" aren't implications at all: they're pretty much fact, verified by countless media outlets. The Romneys are wealthy as all get out and Mittens was, in fact, an asshole back in his high school and college days.
The official explanation from POLITICO for Williams' suspension is as follows:
"Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams's public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility," POLITICO's founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. "His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way."
"Joe has acknowledged that his appearance reflected a poor choice of words," the continued. "This appearance came in the context of other remarks on Twitter that, cumulatively, require us to make clear that our standards are serious, and so are the consequences for disregarding them. This is true for all POLITICO journalists, including an experienced and well-respected voice like Joe Williams."
"Following discussion of this matter with editors, Joe has been suspended while we review the matter," they wrote.
Williams declined to comment on the matter.
In the memo, Harris and VandeHei reminded staff that "POLITICO journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias."
From Williams himself:
I regret that this happened. I understand and respect John Harris' point of view - that I've compromised Politico's objectivity, and my own. At this point my suspension without pay is still indefinite, and I don't know what management has in mind as an appropriate sanction, so I can't object or appeal. Politico still employs me, but the review process hasn't started in earnest so my future remains unclear.
Having covered the Shirley Sherrod firing and seen the fallout from James O'Keefe's brand of journalism, I'm not surprised a small group with internet access and an ambitious agenda can affect reporting and distort analysis of political news. It's quite unfortunate and incredibly frustrating, however, that I landed in the crosshairs this time, calling Politico's integrity into question and jeopardizing a job and a career that I love.
I have a feeling Williams might have to call someplace else home after the dust settles.
Dr. Boyce Watkins believes that since Joesph Williams wouldn't emulate the more tepid and timid style of Juan Williams and refrain from going off-script, he was deemed a "rogue" and had to be put back in his place:
But you see, there’s a pattern and unfortunately Joe has been affected by it. For the most part, being born a Black man who speaks conscientiously or accurately about issues of race effectively defines you to be a rogue. There isn’t much of a disconnect between the Black man who is stopped and frisked on the street, and the Black male professor/journalist/doctor/lawyer who has his capabilities questioned, even when he does nothing wrong.
Cornel West was a rogue at Harvard for seeking to reengage the black community. I was a trouble maker in elementary school when I answered questions without raising my hand. Barack Obama was defined as a radical leftist by the Republican Party for saying that the wealthy should pay slightly higher taxes. It’s easy for black men to be marginalized very quickly in most mainstream environments, primarily because people are waiting for you to say something that they can define to be volatile or dangerous.
That's what made Breitbart's methods of attack so pernicious. Breitbart's team of plucky "journalists" have been successful in derailing and demolishing the careers of outspoken individuals who don't quite adhere to the desired arch-conservative narrative, under the pretense of maintaining "journalistic integrity." They know how to pick their targets, from the folks at ACORN to Shirley Sherrod - targets who could be assumed guilty before proven innocent of their "crimes" and easily disposed of with little to no consequences. No heads have rolled over the loss of ACORN or Shirley Sherrod, and I suspect no heads will roll over the premature disposal of Joesph Williams.
I suppose if Williams decided to comment on how President Obama seemed "comfortable only around his own people," he'd still have his job. Speaking of which, a commentator over at Huffington Post hits it out of the park (albeit on the Washington Post/NYT post):
The problem as I see it, is that certain parts of the so called press figure that if you are not attacking Obama 24/7 then you are a liberally biased news organization and not worthy of respect.
Whereas if you report anything negative about Mittens, then you are also a liberally biased news outfit.
They consider it fair and balanced only if you attack Obama incessantly and give Mittens nothing but the softball treatment with out looking deep into his background.
Reading both outfits it's easy to see Politico leaning hard to the right. They figure the cons will win all three houses and are doing nothing but preparing hopefully for a friendly relationship for who is in power...hopefully.
Politicos so called truth seeking is at best poorly done and at worst ignorant.
To cap things off, a declaration from the members of the Church of Andrew Breitbart and his Latter Day "Saints":
This is our MSM.
This is Politico.
This is why God created Andrew Breitbart.
Pardon me while I go throw up.