Politico Suspends Reporter Over Romney Comments, Tweets

Friday, 22 Jun 2012 02:56 PM

 

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Hours after he was suspended for numerous crude and overtly critical comments he made about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other conservatives, reporter Joe Williams said he is "done" at Politico.

Williams was suspended Thursday night after an appearance on MSNBC in which he suggested that Romney was only comfortable around white people.

The video was first flagged by the conservative website Washington Free Beacon and soon after gained traction on Breitbart.com, which also posted seven of his similarly tilted tweets.

"Politico journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias," Politico's founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. "Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams's public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility."

"His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way," they added.

Calling in from Politico's newsroom -- the red-lettered logo and gray cubicles in the backdrop - Williams appeared on Martin Bashir's show and made candid remarks about his observations of Romney's appearances on the morning show "Fox & Friends."

"When he comes on Fox & Friends, they're like him," Williams said. "They're white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."

Williams's tweets, locked from public view Friday morning, revealed a snarkier candor as he ridiculed Romney for his wealth and made jokes about the candidate's penis and infamous road trip to Canada with the family dog strapped to the room.

"Joe has acknowledged that his appearance reflected a poor choice of words," Politico's editors wrote. "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."

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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