Politico reporter David Catanese apologized to colleagues Tuesday night for posting several controversial tweets in the hours after Missouri Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin said victims of “legitimate rape” have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy.
“My only aim was to evoke a discussion — from the neutral vantage point of a reporter — about whether there were different ways of interpreting what Akin meant with his words,” Catanese wrote, according to a memo obtained by HuffPost’s Michael Calderone. “The effort failed badly, because of my own imprecise wording.”
On Sunday, Catanese tweeted: “Poor phrasing, but if you watch the intv, @ToddAkin meant to convey that there’s less chance of getting pregnant if raped.” Later he tweeted: “So perhaps some can agree that all rapes that are reported are not actually rapes? Or are we gonna really deny that for PC sake?” On Monday morning, Catanese tweeted it was a “bad idea” to address the Akin controversy on Twitter.
Politico pulled Catanese off the Akin story and urged reporters to use good judgment on social media.
“I would never intentionally impugn a woman who has been the victim of the horrific crime of rape,” he added in the memo Tuesday. “My commentary on Rep. Akin’s repugnant rhetoric failed to make this clear.”
Akin has defiantly pledged to stay in the race, despite calls from prominent Republicans to reconsider his bid. On NBC’s “Today” Tuesday morning, Akin said Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan called him and urged him to bow out of the race.
Read Catanese’s full note here.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com