Politico Reporter Suspended Over Remarks Made about Mitt Romney
Politico reporter Joe Williams has been suspended over inflammatory remarks he made about Mitt Romney on Thursday. He later said he was done working for the organization, reported Huffington Post on Friday.
Williams appeared on MSNBC with Martin Bashir to discuss Romney’s stance on immigration. When asked why Romney has trouble connecting with Hispanic voters, Williams said that the candidate appears “very comfortable” around “white folks.”
Jim VandeHei and John Harris, both Politico editors, called the statement “unacceptable” in a memo to staff. It “fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way,” they wrote.
Williams later remarked about the candidate on Twitter. He tweeted “Jeeves knows my tastes” in response to Romney saying that there is nothing surprising he has had the occasion to eat.
Fishbowl DC reported that the reporter tweeted Friday afternoon, “@JillEBond. I’m done @ politico. Dtails to come.”
According to an article in the New York Times, Williams had a history of describing Romney and other conservatives in provocative terms on his Twitter feed.
The memo to the Politico staff is below, via The New York Times:
Politico journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias. This expectation extends to all of the public platforms in which we and our reporting and analysis appears, including cable TV and social media platforms like Twitter.
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.
Joe has acknowledged that his appearance reflected a poor choice of words. 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.