Politico announced Friday that it has suspended White House correspondent Joe Williams for "controversial comments" he's made about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in recent days.
Dylan Byers reported hours ago:
"Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams's public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility," POLITICO's founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. "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," the continued. "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," they wrote.
The MSNBC incident, reported by Washington Free Beacon, involved Williams saying on the Martin Bashir Show Thursday that Romney appeared most comfortable around "white folks." This was quickly linked by the Drudge Report receiving a huge amount of attention.
Hours later, Breitbart's John Nolte caught Williams tweeting, "Either Ann Romney meant Mitt is flaccid or that when we 'unzip him' we'll find he's a dick." This included a link to an ABCNews.com blog.
Certainly, Politico is to be commended for its action, but this raises some other issues.
First, will there be any disciplinary action taken by MSNBC against Bashir for tacitly agreeing with Williams's comments Thursday by not challenging them?
Let's understand that since Romney has become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, virtually every hour of MSNBC broadcasting includes someone making deplorable comments about the former Massachusetts governor and his family.
Maybe it's high time the head honchos at NBC, Comcast, and General Electric recognize as Politico has that its anchors and commentators regularly fall "short" of "standards for fairness and judgment."
On the other hand, MSNBC has practically become Politico's news network. You almost can't turn on this cable station without seeing a Politico reporter or editor either speaking Democrat talking points or trashing Republicans, in particular Romney.
If Politico has any intention of being perceived as an impartial news source and not as Rush Limbaugh would say "an annex of the Democrat National Committee," it seriously needs to rethink its ties to MSNBC.
To be sure, the exposure the publication gets as a result of its employees constantly being on this so-called "news network" is considerable despite the low ratings.
But as no one on the planet takes seriously what emanates from this farce of a station, having your representatives regularly on television laughing and guffawing with the likes of Martin Bashir, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O'Donnell as they exclusively trash Republicans can't possibly help your brand.