Politico's Joe Williams was suspended by the news agency late Thursday for remarks he made suggesting Mitt Romney was comfortable only with white people. The agency also took note of a high number of tweets it described as "crude" and "inappropriate."
Politico is a news agency that is self-described as "...devoted to covering all facets of the political news cycle." Barely past midnight on Friday, June 22, Politico announced that one of its White House Reporters, Joe Williams, was suspended. A memo to staff explaining the action was released through a blog that was picked up by the media. In explaining their decision to suspend Mr. Williams while he was being investigated, POLITICO's founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei said, "POLITICO journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias."
Harris and VandeHei also said that Williams' remarks on MSNBC, coupled with too large a number of politically biased and crude statements on Twitter regarding Romney, called his unbiased professionalism into question. In response to a question on why Mitt Romney seemed to spend so much time on Fox News, Williams said, "They're like him. They're white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."
Indeed, suggesting that Romney is comfortable only among whites and making large numbers of derogatory and ridiculing tweets about him and his wife is hardly unbiased reportage.
The Washington Free Beacon was first to flag the video, followed quickly by other conservative news agencies. Breitbert.com triggered a mass outcry in the conservative blogosphere with its flagging. Indulging in a bit of hyperbole, Breitbart.com writer John Nolte posted, "This is our MSM. This is Politico. This is why God created Andrew Breitbart." Wel-l-l-l... not really. This is Politico's Joe Williams; not Politico, much less the entire mainstream media.
Breitbart may be trying to claim credit for Joe Williams being suspended, but it seems reasonable to expect such an action simply based on Mr. Williams' conduct itself, in spite of conservative outrage. It also seems reasonable on the basis of this action, to wonder why some of the Fox pundits with whom Mr. Romney likes to hob-nob have not been similarly suspended.