Politico has yanked a reporter off coverage of controversial Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin after the writer defended the congressman's comments about "legitimate rape" victims, reports the Washington Post. Akin claimed—then apologized for his comments—that some mysterious biological mechanism stops "legitimate rape" victims from getting pregnant, so they don't need abortions. Politico reporter David Catanese tweeted: "Ok, I'm gonna (ask for it) and defend Todd Akin for argument's sake. We all know what he was trying to say. Poor phrasing, but if you watch the interview, Todd Akin meant to convey that there's less chance of getting pregnant if raped." In fact, there's no medical evidence that chances of pregnancy are reduced in cases of rape.
Catanese also wrote: "Perhaps some can agree that all rapes that are reported are not actually rapes? Or are we gonna really deny that for PC sake?" Politico editor-in-chief John Harris said in a memo to staff that Catanese "crossed a line a reporter shouldn't cross when he seemed to weigh in on the merits of Todd Akin's comments—especially in a way many people, including Politico colleagues, understandably found offensive. Dave's tweet created a distraction to his own work, and to the newsroom," Harris added. "They also made himself part of the story, requiring us for now to remove him from Akin coverage." Catanese then tweeted: "Bad idea trying to have nuanced conversation on highly charged issue on here. Did not intend to take a side. Lesson learned."