On Monday, Politico reporter David Catanese was removed from covering the scandal surrounding Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin after he published several tweets defending Akin’s inflammatory “legitimate rape” comments. Catanese said he was merely engaging in a defense of Akin on Twitter “for argument’s sake,” but Politico opted to remove the veteran Missouri reporter from covering the scandal. On Wednesday, Catanese sent a memo out to Politico employees offering his apologies for the incident.
“So looks like he meant to say — ‘If a woman was REALLY raped, it’s statistically less likely for her to get pregnant.’ What’s the science,” read just one of Catanese’s offending tweets on Monday before Politico removed him from the Akin story.
“I would never intentionally impugn a woman who has been the victim of the horrific crime of rape,” Catanese wrote in the memo to Politico staff obtained by the Huffington Post. “My commentary on Rep. Akin’s repugnant rhetoric failed to make this clear.”
It is clear to me from conversations with colleagues the hurt I caused with my remarks on Twitter Sunday night.
I know that many colleagues were angry and offended by the content of those Tweets. After speaking today with some of those who were most offended, I fully understand the reasons for their offense and I sincerely apologize to all my colleagues at POLITICO.
The entire incident was a misjudgment on my part. It was never my intent to lend support to Rep. Akin’s inexcusable remarks.
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.
The effort failed badly, because of my own imprecise wording.
I would never intentionally impugn a woman who has been the victim of the horrific crime of rape. My commentary on Rep. Akin’s repugnant rhetoric failed to make this clear.
I am deeply sorry and apologize for the distress and distraction I have caused in the newsroom and promise to learn from this experience to better express my journalistic intent with greater precision and sensitivity.
Catanese has not revised any additional disciplinary action since his removal from the Akin coverage.
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