Green Room

WaPo’s “Mitt the Bully” piece runs into problems

posted at 12:35 am on May 11, 2012 by

The WaPo’s lengthy hit piece on Mitt Romney, leading with a 1965 incident in which Romney and high school pals gave John Lauber (a fellow student) a forced haircut, was definitely distraction du jour. But a couple of problems have cropped up with the story.

First, the WaPo story originally reported that Stu White had “long been bothered” by the incident, but White told ABC News he was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post. The WaPo has now airbrushed this section of the story to read:

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and said he has been “disturbed” by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post.

As I write this, the WaPo has failed to append a note about the alteration of the story, in an apparent violation of the the WaPo’s corrections policy. Moreover, the new WaPo version remains at odds with White telling ABC he had not heard of it until he was contacted by the WaPo.

Second, it appears that the Lauber family is not happy with the WaPo hit piece. Christine Lauber — who appears to be quoted in the WaPo story — told ABC News she and her sisters will likely put out a statement later via a family attorney.

“If he were still alive today, he would be furious [about the story],” she said with tears in her eyes.

The NYT’s Ashley Parker has been tweeting bits of what that statement may contain. Although the Lauber family did not refute the haircut story, they say the portrayal of John is “factually incorrect.” The family adds: “We are aggrieved that John would be used to further a political agenda.”

It will be tough for the media to use the victimization of John Lauber as a cudgel against Mitt Romney if Lauber’s family thinks the media are the ones doing the victimization.

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It will be tough for the media to use the victimization of John Lauber as a cudgel against Mitt Romney if Lauber’s family thinks the media are the ones doing the victimization.

Hoist on their own petards, indeed.

AesopFan on May 11, 2012 at 12:59 AM

This is looking more and more like Rathergate Part Deux. Let’s hope the intrepid Jason Horowitz meets the same fate as Mr. Rather.

rockmom on May 11, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Hey, I for one, am all for the Washington Post deciding it is important enough for the media to go all the way back to a candidate’s high school extracurricular activities for anyone deciding to run for president, under the guise of due diligence vetting by the media.

Now that WaPo has establish this precident, I am waiting with baited breath for them to do an in depth story of Barack Obama’s years at Occidental College. (I don’t even care to hear about his high school years.) Just how much weed did the young smoke during those years? What other drugs did he do during that time? What does his old school chums say regarding Obama’s drug use? And, finally and most importantly, just what kind of academic record, courses and grades, did Obama have which also parlayed him into Columbia and eventually Harvard?

Enquiring minds …

parke on May 11, 2012 at 1:49 AM

B A C K F I R E

cmsinaz on May 11, 2012 at 6:59 AM

It will be tough for the media to use the victimization of John Lauber as a cudgel against Mitt Romney if Lauber’s family thinks the media are the ones doing the victimization.

Will it? If it’s for the greater good of getting Pope Jugears reelected, I wouldn’t put anything past them.

SagebrushPuppet on May 11, 2012 at 7:45 AM

This is like the more serious-yet-more farcical version of the “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” Seinfeld episode, where the NYU student writing the story on Jerry makes it out to be that he and George are gay, and they spend the rest of the show trying to prove that it’s wrong.

In this case, the writers and editors of the WaPo decided that dead men tell no tales about their gender preferences, and decided that because anti-gay bullying is a hot topic in the liberal media right now, they want to use Lauber as Mitt Romney’s Tyler Clementi and turn Romeny into Dharun Ravi — the callous, heartless SOB from a well-to-do family who hounded his victim into suicide.

You can almost see the people at the Post wondering this morning why Lauber’s sisters wouldn’t want their late brother to be gay, so they can help them play the victim card against Romney (the answer the Post’s people and others supporting the story will likely come up with is that Lauber’s family must also be gay-haters who contributed to his tormented life and eventual death. THat answer can’t be — at least until the post-election legal settlement — that the Post got the story wrong).

jon1979 on May 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Perhaps we should change MSM (main stream media) to MSP (main stream propagandists). This is complete and utter disregard for the truth in an effort to smear the man running against the President. Josef Goebbels would be proud.

Fafhrd on May 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Perhaps we should change MSM (main stream media) to MSP (main stream propagandists). This is complete and utter disregard for the truth in an effort to smear the man running against the President. Josef Goebbels would be proud.

Fafhrd on May 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Rush Limbaugh refers to the MSM as “state-run media”. Pretty accurate.

Bitter Clinger on May 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM