WaPo’s “Mitt the Bully” piece runs into problems
posted at 12:35 am on May 11, 2012 by Karl
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.