During Sunday night’s series premiere of The Newsroom on HBO, actor Jeff Daniels’ character made a not-so-subtle reference to James O’Keefe, a self-proclaimed conservative ‘activist.’ The comment was so brief in fact, that if you weren’t paying close attention, you might have very well missed it. In a scene where his character is demanding the name of a source, he questions whether the stated source is truly legit, or that of the James O’Keefe brand.
A program centering on the fundamentals of journalism and salvaging the medium from partisan bickering, The Newsroom made it a point to poke fun at a man whose doctored videos led to the firing of Shirley Sherrod, the dismantling of ACORN and more. And while actual newsrooms, journalists and producers view O’Keefe and websites like Breitbart.com in the same manner, they somehow continue to cave to pressure from these journo-wannabes. Their latest victim: Joe Williams.
Last week, Politico decided to suspend their White House correspondent Joe Williams following an uproar from the good folks at The Washington Free Bacon and Breitbart.com. Their ‘objections’ arose after Williams appeared on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir and stated that Republican presidential candidate Romney “is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him.” Williams continued: “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.”
After a 28-year career as a credible journalist, Williams found himself suspended from Politico without pay — indefinitely.
Turn on any one of the major networks — MSNBC, CNN or FOX — and you are guaranteed to see reporters, pundits, politicians and other guests give their opinion on the days’ issues. And in the discourse surrounding the presidential race, the notion of Romney being uncomfortable with people of color, the average man and poor Whites has been discussed at length on a routine basis. But the second an African-American journalist makes the statement, all hell breaks loose.
Williams didn’t refer to Romney as a “d*ck” as Mark Halperin of TIME once called President Obama on Morning Joe (while MSNBC suspended Halperin, TIME never did). All Williams did was reiterate what countless others have already written or voiced their opinion over, and he did it in a perfectly respectable manner.