Politico White House reporter Joe Williams, who on Thursday was suspended after making some incendiary comments about Mitt Romney, says his future at the political news organization is “unclear.”
“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,” Williams told TPM in an email Friday evening. “Politico still employs me, but the review process hasn’t started in earnest so my future remains unclear.”
Williams on Thursday suggested that Romney is most comfortable around “white folks.” That’s why he seems so “stiff and awkward” in some town hall settings, Williams said on Martin Bashir’s MSNBC show. Those comments, coupled with crude tweets directed at Romney, proved enough for suspension, Politico’s founding editors wrote in a memo to staff.
“Politico journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias,” John Harris and Jim VandeHei 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.”
“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,” Williams said Friday. “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.”
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