The PJ Tatler

Media Gets Pwnd by 'Stench' Satire

This is rich. Michael Walsh reported earlier on Tatler about the column written by Politico’s Roger Simon regarding Paul Ryan’s supposed “stench” nickname for Mitt Romney.

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

The media immediately picked up on the “scoop.”

Except for one, small detail: Simon was pulling everyone’s leg.


Simon told BuzzFeed: “Some people always don’t get something, but I figured describing PowerPoint as having been invented to euthanize cattle would make the satire clear. I guess people hate PowerPoint more than I thought.”

Buzzfeed also compiled some media outlets who fell for Simon’s ill-written satire.

Lawrence O’Donnell:

“Yes, the Stench! That is what Paul Ryan is actually calling Mitt Romney, according to Politico.”

You can get back on your chair now, Larry.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles.”

Ah, Tommy — “the ring of truth.” Is that better than the, like, you know…real truth?


“Rather than decry Robinson’s comments or reaffirm his commitment to the Romney ticket since the Times story broke, Ryan has been running with the nickname, according to Politico, telling campaign staffers things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.'” (Gawker has since updated their post, saying of Simon: “We’re a bit confused by his interpretation of satire, as he’s referring to a single false fact (concocted by him?) in an otherwise mostly accurate piece.”)

Nick Denton doesn’t care as long as a Republican gets bashed.

Comedy Central:

“You can just feel the affection the two men have for each other pulsating through your computer screen, can’t you?”

Bottom rail on top now, eh John?

Last but not least, Paul Kurgman:

“Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing.” (Krugman has since updated his post: “the word is that this was really clumsy satire.”)

I was confused when I read it this morning also. I was wondering why the emphasis on Powerpoint presentations? Simon is no Rabelais, that’s for certain and perhaps he should stick with his horribly biased, laughably inept political commentary rather than try to elevate his writing into something it could never be.