After a Politico columnist's failed attempt at satire duped a number of journalists and pundits this week, the author of the piece was asked to clarify the intent of the article at the behest of the Paul Ryan camp.
Politico's Roger Simon penned a column this week aiming to portray a satirical narrative of a strained relationship between Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Ryan. Simon's "report" noted that Ryan was gallivanting around referring to Romney as "The Stench" and penciling "finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan" into his schedule.
“I got a very, very nice note the next morning, an email, from the Paul Ryan campaign. Very polite," Simon told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing on Thursday. "It said, 'We know this is satire, but could you help us out here and maybe make it a little more clear it’s satire.'”
Journalists from The New York Times' Paul Krugman to MSNBC's own Lawrence O'Donnell misinterpreted Simon's satire as a serious piece. Simon later responded to the confusion and complied with the Ryan campaign by adding a lighthearted author’s note at the end of the column clarifying any overstatements he made in the piece.
Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1729; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than “Stench” and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn’t.
An additional editor's note clearly marking the column as satire now leads the top of the story. Simon told Jansing that the edits were made to clear his conscience.
“What if the Romney-Ryan ticket loses Florida by 13 instead of just 10. Or Virginia by 11 instead of just 9. It would be my fault,” Simon said. “I’ll carry that on my conscience forever.”