Rep. Todd Akin (R), a right-wing Senate candidate in Missouri, sent out press releases this week, touting an endorsement from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Akin isn’t considered the frontrunner in the race, and Ryan’s support was considered a significant coup. Politico‘s David Catanese ran a piece noting the endorsement.

Ryan, however, hadn’t endorsed Akin. The Missouri Republican had fudged it, hoping to mislead reporters. In some cases, it worked.

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.”

The fumbling of a non-endorsement by Paul Ryan is emblematic of a larger problem plaguing Todd Akin’s Senate campaign: It’s not yet ready for prime time. […]

Akin’s campaign team is either not acting in good faith or inept — both of which will darken his chances at capturing the GOP nomination next August.

But this mistake is hardly the first for a campaign that was slow to organize out of the gate last spring.

After listing a litany of Akin campaign missteps and errors, Catanese described Akin as a candidate with a “reputation as a quirky politician outside the mainstream,” whose campaign is “off course.”

This wasn’t an opinion piece, by the way.

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.

I don’t know Catanese, but I have a hunch he was annoyed when Akin lied to him the other day, so he responded by tearing Akin’s campaign to shreds. I wish more reporters would do the same.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.