Accuracy in Media

Politico has suspended reporter Joe Williams for remarks he made yesterday on MSNBC and Twitter, in which he disparaged Mitt Romney.

Williams appeared on Martin Bashir’s program to talk about his perception that Romney is struggling to connect with voters, which seems to be a major preoccupation of the mainstream media:

“But it also points out a larger problem that he’s got to solve if he wants to be successful come this fall. Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seemed 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. “

After Williams’ comments went viral, Politico announced late last night, via a memo to the staff, that they were suspending Williams pending a review of his comments:

“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 memo 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.

According to Politico’s Dylan Byers, the memo also included this gem of a statement regarding bias:

“POLITICO journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias.”

That may be the policy, but based on the numerous appearances by Williams and other Politico reporters on MSNBC, Politico is acting more like an arm of MSNBC (which itself serves as an arm of the DNC) than an independent news source.

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