-By Warner Todd Huston
It seems to be the left’s new mantra, when caught doing something wrong, blame the “right-wing noise machine.” Disgraced Politico journalist Joe Williams is grabbing that new montra with gusto.
Williams, you’ll recall, was the Politico journalist suspended for outrageous race and class-baiting comments he made on MSNBC.
More recently, it was reported by various conservative websites that Williams also had some legal troubles with his wife, including a May 24 incident where he pleaded guilty to assaulting her.
Williams appears to be feeling the heat about the attention Internet sleuths have given him. So much so that this week he’s issued a statement attacking the “right-wing noise machine” for maligning him.
On Wednesday a conservative web site published a one-sided account of a dispute between me and my ex-wife, Amy Alexander — an incident that has nothing to do with my journalism career or work with and departure from Politico.
The facts: Amy Alexander, my ex-wife, confronted me in February when I came to pick up our autistic son for a therapy appointment. My wife accosted me in front of him and I defended myself. In retaliation to my protective order against her, she wrongfully filed charges against me — several days after the incident. In the best interest of my children, and Amy, I chose to avoid an acrimonious, embarrassing trial.
Sadly, this is the latest incident in a difficult post-divorce relationship; I’ve contacted police and social services several times because of my former spouse’s behavior. Most people want above all to keep these matters private; I’m no different.
Yet earlier this week, my former spouse threatened several times to create with a ‘PR disaster’ for me without a clear reason, vowing I ‘won’t work in this town again’ if she chose. As a result, the right-wing noise machine decided to add fuel to the fire by publishing half truths taken out of context.
I was with my children when the FishbowlDC reporter called me; I gave her the personal cell number of my lawyer, Shawn Bartley, and urged her to talk to him. Instead, she went through the motions, leaving a message on his office phone even though it was July 4. The story ran without waiting to hear from him, or without calling me back – a step most responsible journalists would have taken.
Last Monday on the BIll Press Show, I anticipated conservative reporters would come at me again for pointing out their dubious credibility. Unfortunately, they have, proving my larger point: the right-wing noise machine will relentlessly bully anyone who publicly disagrees with their narrow world view.
With this story, they’ve also crossed the line from questionable reporting into full-blown hack journalism.
Well, I guess like President Obama, it ain’t HIS fault!
So, what does Politico think about all this? We may never know. Politico Editor-in Chief John Harris told Mediabistro that he isn’t interested in the story any more. When asked for a further comment on Williams, Harris demurred saying, “This isn’t the kind of thing I would weigh in on anyway.”