There’s been some local noise (see, for instance, here, here, here, and here) arising from the false claim by Rep. Todd Akin’s senatorial campaign that Rep. Paul Ryan, who is currently a ranking GOP BMOC, had endorsed his campaign. What was remarkable about Akin’s effort to twist some positive comments by Ryan into an endorsement was just how blatant it was, along with the fact that so many reporters actually bought into into the story without checking it out (see, for instance here and here).
However, as Steve Benen observes, the dishonesty itself wasn’t as interesting as the fact that for once it actually generated some pretty brutal pushback, this time from Politico‘s Dave Catenese (based, interestingly enough, on some of the local coverage cited above):
This wouldn’t be terribly interesting – Akin is dishonest with striking regularity – except for Catanese’s response in Politico yesterday. The campaign reporter got burned by the Akin campaign this week, so he returned the favor in this piece, which ran under the headline, “Why Akin isn’t ready for primetime.
Maybe this is an esoteric observation, but I’m glad to see Catanese slam Akin like this. Pols and campaigns lie to reporters all the time, and news organizations rarely seem to do anything about it. There’s no accountability built into the system, so officials and candidates mislead with impunity.
An esoteric observation, he says? More like the real heart of the issue. Of course, if our media were to actually call out GOP pols (or any politician for that matter – lies just seems to be more formally institutionalized in the Republican party) when they persist in misrepresenting facts, that might be all they’d ever do – at least until the politicians got the message that they couldn’t lie with impunity anymore.
As an aside, notice the title of the Catenese article. If you believe political reporters, at least two of the GOP contenders for Claire McCaskill’s senate seat, Todd Akin and John Brunner, just “aren’t ready for primetime.”