Reporter Pulled Off of Todd Akin Duty for Playing Totally Unnecessary Devil’s Advocate

Illustration for article titled Reporter Pulled Off of Todd Akin Duty for Playing Totally Unnecessary Devil’s Advocate

After Politico reporter David Catanese had a little Socratic dialogue with himself and Twitter about the merits of Todd Akins' concept of "legitimate rape," Politico editors have decided it's best if Catanese maybe doesn't cover any more Akin-fallout news.

Catanese fired off a series of tweets ruminating on the legitimacy of Akins' argument, eventually announcing to the world, "Ok, I'm gonna (ask for it) & defend @ToddAkin for argument's sake. We all know what he was trying to say..." In this instance, "asking for it" meant asking to be roundly castigated for engaging in a pointless bout of devil's advocacy when what he ought to have been doing, according to Politico's editor-in-chief John Harris, is soberly chronicling the rapid media dismemberment of Todd Akin's bloated political corpse:

David Catanese crossed a line a reporter shouldn't cross on Twitter when he seemed to weigh in on the merits of Todd Akin's comments — especially in a way many people, including many POLITICO colleagues, understandably found offensive.

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.

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Catanese apologized, explaining that it was a "bad idea" to try and have a "nuanced conversation on a highly charged issue." He added that he'd learned his lesson, though what lesson he learned isn't exactly clear. Maybe it's the lesson a lot of loquacious social media users learn at one point or another to maybe let some potentially stupid thoughts marinate before spewing them across the internet's bathroom floor. Maybe Catanese learned that trying to defend Akin, even just for the hell of it, is strictly a losing proposition because Akin's comments are indefensible. Even Mitt Romney thinks so and he tries really hard not to have a firm opinion on anything ever. Akin said what he said — there's no implied meaning in the congressman's ignorance, only ignorance.

David Catanese, Politico Reporter, Removed From Todd Akin Coverage [HuffPo]

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DISCUSSION

ididthatonce
ididthatonce

Ugh, people.

Playing Devil's Advocate is an asshole move. 99% of the time, the person is arguing about someone that DIRECTLY AFFECTS the person they're "debating" with. Don't play that game of "I'll just say this to see what your arguments are" when it's an issues that could actually affect me, yo. It may seem like a big joke to you, but it's real life to me.

And then, without fail, the person playing Devil's Advocate will end the conversation with, "there's no need to get emotional about this." Sorry that I get emotional when you're arguing that I have no rights to my OWN FUCKING BODY you twatwaffle.

Brb punching everything within a 5-foot radius.