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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Williams’

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Friday’s installment of “Ask Piranhamous Anything” got lost in the shuffle, so Monday it is. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple, funny and insightful.

Are networks and newspapers too focused on getting things first rather than right (i.e. the SCOTUS ruling and Fox News and CNN)?

Reporters have always wanted to be first, which in the Twitter age means right less and less. A “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment was rare before the 24-hour news cycle. But once news moved from newspapers to TV they happened more frequently. Now the news cycle has gone from 24 hours to 140 characters, which has only meant more mistakes. So can you really blame CNN and Fox? Absolutely. But the Twitter news cycle, while allowing for more mistakes, allows for those mistakes to go from a printed 24-hour shame to essentially being on the level of misspeaking.

Should Politico and White House Correspondent Joe Williams have gone their separate ways?

Williams is hardly alone at Politico in his contempt for anyone not in the Democrat Party, so what’s one more? The media stopped being honest brokers decades ago, we just have alternatives today that highlight them now. Williams was a little worse than usual, but rather than being an exception to the rule he’s probably just an outlier. Sad but true.

As a journalist I sometimes get death threats. What should I do about it?

Who doesn’t get them these days? If they’re the standard “I wish you were dead” cracks, take pride in doing your job well enough to get under someone’s skin with the truth to that point. If its a rarer “I am going to shoot you as you walk to your car” or even more specific, call the police. It would be better if you could just shoot the prick, but I hear prison isn’t as fun as it’s portrayed in the movies. Hopefully police can follow the digital footprints back to the person making them and they can either have their lives made hell through court costs or, better yet, they can find out how accurate the Shawshank Redemption actually was.

Did Politico’s Joe Williams Just Bury Himself?

Politico White House Correspondent Joseph Williams spoke out on Current TV’s “Full Court Press” this morning for the first time since his publication suspended him for racial comments he made against presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

But he may not have done himself any favors.

First things first: Williams says he’s still employed with Politico but remains on suspension without pay. He has lawyered up, for what purpose he wouldn’t say. He said he knows his employers respect his work; he said both sides would like to negotiate an agreement to allow him to remain with Politico. He hopes this happens “sooner rather than later.”

Williams acknowledged to host Bill Press that he made “errors in judgment” but pointedly blamed right wing publications such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart.com for relentlessly reporting on Williams’ purported liberal bias. “Certainly they’re in the business of gathering scalps and we’ve seen it,” he said. He said the story quickly became “about him” rather than what he said. This made him uncomfortable.

In review, Williams appeared on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show last week and said Romney feels more comfortable around white people, he insulted his own publication on Twitter, and wrote penis comments regarding Mitt and Ann Romney. “The words ‘white folks’ set people off like a match to a tinder keg,” Williams told Press.

When Press began to almost counsel Williams on the difference between being a commentator like himself and being a reporter, Williams remarked, “We are paid to observe, but we are not blind.” The host asked if Williams would apologize to Romney. He said if he did that, then “a lot of other people would have to as well.” Further, he said his thoughts on white people are nothing new and that he should not have to apologize: “I probably should have selected my words more carefully. In some people’s minds they were incendiary.”

Press, more than once, called Williams a “friend of the show” and said he hoped it would remain that way. Nonetheless, he wasn’t easy on Williams and asked him what he meant by tweeting that Politico was a “shitburger,” a news nugget first reported by The Daily Caller. Press did not say the word “shit” but it was implied. The reporter said the comment was meant to be private. He was “venting.” He said he fully expected more revelations of embarrassing tweets.

Williams appeared to choose his words carefully this morning, but maybe not carefully enough where Politico is concerned. Politico brass in particular rewards privacy and discretion. He had been previously warned to clean up his act. Williams declared that the Washington Press Corps. as a whole has a problem with minority hires and said Politico is no exception.

Sources tell FBDC that Williams seemed stressed but generally in good spirits on this morning’s live program. He wore bright red Chuck Taylors with a matching red handkerchief in the breast pocket of his dark suit. Noteworthy: He was booked through the phone and not through Politico. Politico was informed of the booking, but did not respond despite being told about his appearance.

Listen to the full interview here.

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