The memo from editor-in-chief John Harris and executive editor Jim VandeHei said Catanese’s tweets were viewed by “many people” as “offensive” and that his “tweets on Akin created a distraction to his own work, and to the newsroom as a whole. They also made himself part of the story, requiring us for now to remove him from Akin coverage.”
Catanese’s tweets commented on and reacted to U.S. Senate candidate Akin‘s August 19 comment that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Akin later apologized, saying “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”
For example, Catanese wrote: “Ok, I’m gonna (ask for it) & defend @ToddAkin for argument’s sake. We all know what he was trying to say . . .”
Catanese also wrote: “Poor phrasing, but if you watch the intv @ToddAkin meant to convey that there’s less chance of getting pregnant if raped.”
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“Bad idea trying to have nuanced conversation on highly charged issue on here. Did not intend to take a side. Lesson learned.”
Check out the full Politico memo on Huffington Post.
We have written to Politico’s Catanese for more information and will update with any response.
UPDATE: 8/21/2012 1:02 PM EST: Added in Akin’s apology statement.