Politico Reporter Joe Williams: I ‘Landed in the Crosshairs’ of ‘James O’Keefe’-Style Journalism

Politico's Joe William defended his comment about Romney

Joe Williams, the Politico reporter suspended Thursday for inappropriate comments he made about Mitt Romney, said right-wing websites had distorted his remarks and used him to damage Politico's brand.

In an email to TheWrap, Williams compared the coverage on Breitbart.com and the Washington Free Beacon to conservative activist James O'Keefe's misleadingly edited video that led to the hasty firing of Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod.

During an appearance on MSNBC Thursday, Williams suggested that the Republican presidential candidate seems the most unscripted and at ease on the "Fox & Friends" show because he is more comfortable around white people.

Also read: Suspended Reporter Joe Williams Says He's 'Done' at Politico

The White House correspondent defended his comment as "legitimate analysis of political news" that was warped by the conservative websites.

"The review process hasn't started in earnest so my future remained unclear," he said in an emailed statement. "Having covered the Shirley Sherrod firing and seen the fallout from James O'Keefe's brand of journalism, I'm not surprised a small group with Internet access and an ambitious agenda can undermine and distort legitimate analysis of political news."

The video of his MSNBC appearance was first flagged by the conservative website Washington Free Beacon and soon after gained traction on Breitbart.com, which also posted seven of his similarly tilted tweets.

"It's quite unfortunate and incredibly frustrating, however, that I landed in the crosshairs this time, calling Politico's integrity into question and jeopardizing a job and a career that I love," he said.

Here's the full text of his email:

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, so I can't object or appeal. Politico still employs me, but the review process hasn't started in earnest so my future remains unclear.  

Having covered the Shirley Sherrod firing and seen the fallout from James O'Keefe's brand of journalism, I'm not surprised a small group with internet access and an ambitious agenda can undermine and distort legitimate analysis of political news. It's quite unfortunate and incredibly frustrating, however, that I landed in the crosshairs this time, calling Politico's integrity into question and jeopardizing a job and a career that I love. 

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