POLITICO has suspended White House correspondent Joseph Williams after he suggested on Thursday that Mitt Romney is most comfortable with “white folks.”
“Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him,” Williams said on Martin Bashir’s MSNBC show. “That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that. 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.
Williams’ comments Thursday, along with some incendiary tweets about Romney, led to his suspension, POLITICO’s founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a staff memo, obtained by TPM.
“POLITICO journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias,” they wrote. “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.”
Williams’ comment about Romney on MSNBC “fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way,” the editors added. “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.”
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David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com