Yesterday on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir program, Politico reporter Joe Williams participated in a discussion about Mitt Romney’s tendency to restrict his public appearances to carefully choreographed events and friendly media outlets. It was noted that he has appeared on the widely reviled Fox & Friends 21 times in the last year. Fox & Friends is an avowedly right-wing mouthpiece for the GOP and a program about which even Fox reporters, producers and executives “roll their eyes” when asked about.
Williams noted that Romney’s preference for Fox & Friends, and similarly partisan settings, was interesting because it was “unscripted and it’s the only time they let Mitt off the leash.” He made the point that for Romeny to be successful he needs to broaden the range of people with whom he interacts.
Williams: Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. 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.
That is an objectively true statement. Fox & Friends are indeed white folks and they appear to be very relaxed with one another. It is also true that Romney does appear to be more comfortable with people like himself, and he does exhibit noticeable awkwardness when he tries to connect with average Americans. It is that discomfort that has resulted in his embarrassing himself by saying that he likes to fire people, that his friends are NASCAR team owners, that his wife drives two Cadillacs, that corporations are people, and that he’s not concerned about the poor.
Nevertheless, Politico has suspended Williams for these comments. This is another example of the media punishing people for telling the truth about conservatives. It seems that the only people that are ever held to account are those to whom conservatives object. Earlier this year I documented a list of the “10 People Fox News Should Fire, But Haven’t.” Media suspensions have been handed out liberally (so to speak) to Roland Martin, David Shuster, Mark Halperin, and many others. While right-wing malfeasance is ignored or even rewarded. People like Liz Trotta, Juan Williams, Don Imus, and Lou Dobbs, have managed to escape any repercussions from their bad behavior.
A recent incident involving a reporter from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller illustrates this blatant unfairness perfectly. Neil Munro rudely shouted out questions in the middle of a presidential address. His inappropriate behavior was widely condemned, even by some staunch conservatives. However, rather than suspension, he was defended by Carlson and held up as an exemplary model of journalism. That’s the difference between the right and the left in the media. The right admires and rewards rudeness and dishonesty, and pays tribute to those who engage in it. The left punishes any hint of impropriety, even when there is no substance to it. All that has to happen is for some right-winger to complain.
As for Romney’s reputed comfort amongst his own people, I defy you find a person of color in this photograph taken from his website (click to enlarge), and then explain who he means by “us.”