Politico readers are grieving after the site cleaned up its no-holds-barred description of Washington’s chaotic week ― highlighted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
For the outlet’s co-founder, John Harris, it was “Just another day in Fucknutsville.”
The eye-popping phrase was splashed atop an analysis by Harris published Friday, which took stock of the president’s beleaguered administration. The piece noted that fallout from Trump’s controversial July phone call with the Ukraine president made it “a big week in the news business for visual devices,” like homepage takeovers and jumbo font headlines.
For the original version of Harris’ article, the headline drew from the famously profane Rahm Emanuel, who used the explicit term to refer to Washington during his time as chief of staff to President Barack Obama.
The headline was eventually replaced with a sanitized, more prosaic one: “Trump Killed the Seriousness of Impeachment.”
Politico spokesperson Brad Dayspring didn’t offer HuffPost a specific explanation for the change, saying, “Headlines are routinely changed by our editors, for a variety of different reasons.”
He added, “If I had to explain the rationale each time a headline changed I wouldn’t have time for anything else!”
The initial wording “was up for several hours” and it was not a placeholder, Dayspring said.
Some readers soon began tweeting tributes to the original, sharing screenshots and words of support.
To those disappointed with Politico’s edit, Dayspring said, “We’re glad they’re reading!”