Politico reporter Dave Catanese pulled on Aug. 19 what will be remembered as a Top Ten Twitter meltdown: He conducted a thought experiment that appeared to apologize for the idiotic comments about rape made by Rep. Todd Akin:
So maybe. Just maybe, @ToddAkin didn’t really mean ‘legitimate.’ Perhaps he meant if ‘someone IS really raped’ or ‘a rape really occurs’
He then got destroyed by Twitter, apologized to Twitter and penned his regrets directly to his colleagues. In the interim, Politico management issued a memo on the matter, one that cited a disciplinary measure against Catanese. Here’s a portion of it:
Dave’s 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.
Judging from Catanese’s sparse digital trail since the mindless tweeting, the sanction against him appears to have been a bit more severe than advertised. His byline froze just after he wrote about the story that got him in trouble. So did his Twitter feed, leaving him plenty of time to think about just what he’s going to tweet next.
Unless Catanese has taken a vacation during one of the hottest political moments of the quadrennial cycle, his managers appear to have taken him not just off the Akin story, but off stories altogether.
Upon hearing that he’d been pulled off Akin coverage, Politico critics cried, “Double standard,” on the rationale that he had been treated less harshly than had former Politico White House correspondent Joe Williams. Such talk was foolish then and appears even more so now.
Catanese didn’t respond to an e-mail on the matter, and Politico leadership declined to comment for this post. Three Politico staffers contacted were unaware of Catanese’s status with the publication.