The bad publicity for Romney-attacking ex-Politico reporter Joe Williams continued this week.
On Wednesday, Fish Bowl DC reported Williams pleaded guilty in May to assaulting his ex-wife:
On May 24 of this year, he plead guilty to second degree assault against his ex-wife, paid a $200 fine and received six months of probation. His probation ends on November 24, 2012. Other charges he plead out include disorderly conduct and affray (i.e. a public order offense that consists of fighting in a public place). His ex-wife, author Amy Alexander, obtained a year long court order against him that began in February, 2012.
This actually wasn't the first time Alexander filed charges against Williams:
Alexander filed a previous complaint against Williams in 2007. On August 2, 2007, Alexander filed what looks to be a restraining order against Williams. This appears to be temporary and lasted only from August 2, 2007 to August 9, 2007. On Aug. 9 the case was dismissed after the plaintiff withdrew the complaint.
Alexander emailed FishBowl about the matter: “I can’t comment on a legal case but will say that I sincerely hope that Joe Williams finds his professional footing and that he also begins to take seriously his responsibilities as the father of our two children.”
As NewsBusters has been reporting, Williams was suspended by Politico in mid-June for saying presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney feels more comfortable around "white folks."
Last Saturday Politico announced it and Williams were permanently parting ways.
Certainly hasn't been a very good summer for Williams.
Makes you wonder if he's going to continue blaming all his problems on "radical conservatives."
Politico announced Saturday that recently suspended Romney-trashing White House correspondent Joe Williams is leaving the organization.
The following statement was released moments ago:
"After some cordial discussions, Joe Williams and I mutually decided that the best step for him is to begin a transition to the next phase of his career," POLITICO editor-in-chief John Harris wrote in a memo to staff, sent early Saturday morning. "Joe is an experienced and respected journalist, with keen insights into politics. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has the authority and is ready to give voice to his insights and conclusions in a new setting."
"He’ll be on leave of absence during this transition, and he’s got my gratitude for the contributions he made here, both as reporter and editor. I have told Joe—and it’s a sentiment others who worked closely with him here share—that he’ll have my support as he prepares for what I expect will be a good and prominent next chapter in his career," Harris wrote.
As NewsBusters reported last Friday, Williams was suspended for amongst other things telling MSNBC's Martin Bashir that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was most comfortable around "white folks."
Maybe Williams will think better of making such comments in the future.
But this still raises the question of why other media outlets aren't taking similar measures against employees making the same remarks.
Such comments occur on a daily basis at MSNBC; HBO's Bill Maher does it weekly.
Why can so many in the media get away with unfounded racist accusations quite similar or even worse than what Williams just lost his job over?
Maybe every media outlet in the nation should take a cue from Politico and address the same problem they all have.
Joe Williams, Politico's White House correspondent that was suspended after stating Mitt Romney was most comfortable around “white folks,” said on a Wednesday radio show that he was a victim of conservative websites that seized upon those words to make a point about the media.
While a guest on “The Bill Press Show,” Williams was asked by the liberal host, “Do you believe those words were seized upon, taken out of context, blown up by people with their own political agenda?”
“What happened in my instance,” the reporter replied to the softball question, “was that those two words,” spoken while a guest on MSNBC's “Martin Bashir Live,” were “the ones that set people off.”
“You know, ‘white folks,’ ‘Mitt Romney,’ it was a match to a tinder keg among certain segments of people who decided that they wanted to push back on what they believe is the liberal media,” Williams continued.
Press then asked the reporter: “Who are these people that are coming after you?”
Williams presented himself as a victim of what he called “radical conservatives” and named two organizations.
“Clearly in my case,” he stated, “it has been two sources that have been the primary ones—The Daily Caller and Big Media [actually called Big Journalism], Breitbart’s organization—the late Andrew Breitbart’s organization.”
Their efforts, he said, gained momentum and forced Politico Editor John Harris to act.
“Deliberately targeting you?” Press asked.
“I would say yeah,” Williams replied. “In all the things that I’ve seen and what Politico was reacting to, stories that Big Media [sic] had put out, one story specifically that Big Media [sic] had put out about me making this remark, they looked at my Twitter feed.”
They saw things on the Twitter feed that they thought justified bias, threw it together in a package, put a healthy dose of cynicism on top of it, and put it out and got retweet after retweet after retweet.
However, the host asked Williams if he had been in similar circumstances before, and the reporter admitted that he had been warned about watching what he said in the past by Politico and was “toning it down.”
Soon after he was suspended by Politico, Williams posted an email apology, which reads in part:
I regret that this incident happened. I understand and respect John Harris’ point of view—that I’ve compromised Politico’s objectivity, and my own. At this point, my suspension without pay is still indefinite, and I don’t know what management has in mind as an appropriate sanction.
I’m not surprised a small group with Internet access and an ambitious agenda can undermine reporting, influence organizations and distort legitimate analysis of political news. It’s quite unfortunate that I landed in the crosshairs this time, calling Politico’s integrity into question and jeopardizing a job and a career that I love. It’s incredibly frustrating that I won’t be the final target.
I'd have more sympathy for Williams if he, as a journalist, would get his facts straight.
If two organizations were attacking me and threatening my livelihood, I'd definitely remember their names. “Big Media” is a blog, and the Breitbart site he's referring to is actually called “Big Journalism.”
Also, Williams says his problem is caused by his use of two words: “while folks.” Then he adds “Mitt Romney” to the mix. So is his problem actually caused by his use of two words or four?
If Williams can't even keep this important information accurate, how can anyone watching a report from him believe he really knows what he's talking about?
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.
A Politico reporter has suggested that racism was behind Neil Munro's questioning of President Obama at the White House yesterday. Saying "it's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context," the Politico's Joe Williams claimed racially-motivated direspect of PBO is part of a pattern among conservatives, citing Rep. Joe Wilson, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and the Tea Party.
Williams made his remarks in the course of responding to a question from Michael Eric Dyson, subbing for Ed Schultz on MSNBC last night. View the video after the jump.
Watch Joe Williams being only too happy to side with Dyson's suggestion that the various episodes cited were motivated by the fact that "this is the nation's first African-American president."
After commenting on the Munro exchange with the President Obama, Schultz sub Michael Eric Dyson suggested there was a pattern.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: The "you lie" incident by Wilson, Brewer with her finger-wagging. This seems to be part of a larger issue. And I gotta ask the question here: does it have anything to do with the fact that this is the nation's first black president and the level of disrespect is alarming and stunning?
JOE WILLIAMS: It's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context. Mostly because a lot of the interruptions, a lot of the disrespect has been unprecedented. We haven't seen anything like this before. A lot of people will suggest it's because the Republican party has moved so far to the right that they're willing to do things that were unthinkable. But certainly in my experience, it's hard to divorce that because this president doesn't look like the others. And not only do we have a lot of these sort of interruptions, a lot of disrespect towards the office, in more than my view, I mean, a lot of people in the tourist field and practicing journalists were agog, were aghast at what had happened. But you also have the promotions of the Tea Party, where they're using racially-tinged imagery, and racially-tinged sort of statements to get their point across. You have a lot of Members of Congress on the Republican side who feel like they can do whatever or talk about whatever. I mean, have you ever heard of a president being talked about in the way that this congress has talked about him, where you say our job is to make sure this guy serves one term, as opposed to our job is to see that the best interests of the country are served. So given all that evidence, it's hard to divorce that. A lot of people will defend it as saying other presidents were disrespected, but in my view none so publicly.