Was The Romney “Bullying” Story Good Journalism?

There's much to question about The Washington Post's decision to run a 47 year old story about Mitt Romney.

In the days since The Washington Post broke the story about an alleged bullying incident from Mitt Romney’s days as a High School student (which James Joyner wrote about here and here) there’s been much debate about whether or not the story was proper or not. As many critics have pointed out, the original post story got several facts wrong, including the fact that one of the classmates it quoted about the incident now says he wasn’t even aware of it until a few weeks ago when a Post reporter called him to ask about. We’ve also learned that the family members of the alleged victim have objected to the way he was portrayed in the article, and said that he never told them about the alleged incident before he died. There have also been questions raised about the timing of the story, which appeared seemingly out of nowhere on the morning after President Obama had made clear is support of same-sex marriage, given the fact that there was at least the implication in the article that the alleged victim was attacked for being “effeminate” the parallels were hard to miss. In the end, the question one is left with is whether the Post dropped the ball in even running the story.

Patrick Pexton, the Post’s Ombudsman, takes a look at the criticism and, not surprisingly, concludes that his paper acted properly.  Pexton does admit, because there’s really no way around it, that the paper did act improperly in failing to advise readers that it had made a substantive change to quotes from one of Romney’s classmates that changed what he said completely:

This is the original online paragraph:

“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 has long been bothered by the Lauber incident [emphasis added]. “But I was not the brunt on any of his pranks.”

This is the new paragraph as it appeared in print and now appears online:

“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. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks” [emphasis added].

The Post changed the story after talking to White again and discovering that White only learned of the prank in recent weeks after being told of it by a Cranbrook classmate.

Kevin Merida, national editor of The Post, said on Friday that “We should have updated it with a note.” I agree with Merida. I would have used strike-through text online to make it clear to readers that that part of the online story was changed. I think that’s just the better part of candor. There is now an editor’s note at the very bottom of the story. The Post is not calling it a correction. I think it is a correction, but not germane to the central theme of the story.

This part of Horowitz’s story is tangential at best. It is only about how one person, who was not an eyewitness, felt about the incident.

Four of the five witnesses to the forcible haircut cited by the Post are on the record, by name, and remember it well. Their accounts remain unchallenged. I also think it’s important to point out that Romney quickly apologized after the story was published, and although not a detailed apology, I think his demeanor in the apology seemed genuine.

Perhaps a fair point, and I think we can even agree that the incident actually did occur. The real question, the one that actual journalists used to ask themselves back in the day, is whether it is now, or ever was, a relevant story about Mitt Romney. The only thing we know about Mitt Romney after reading the story that appeared on the Post’s web site on Thursday is that he was kind of a prick when he was in High School. As James Joyner noted in his initial post about this story, though, it’s hard to see what relevance that has to Mitt Romney the 65 year-old man who, after High School, married, went on a Mormon mission, and attended BYU and Harvard Law School, experiences which he has said in the past changed him as a person. There’s no evidence that Romney engaged in any kind of similar activity as an adult, and the Post’s story does absolutely nothing to try to tie the admittedly cruel actions of Willard Mitt Romney the young man to the character of Mitt Romney the husband, father, businessman, former Governor, and candidate for President. For that reason alone, it strikes me that the entire story was a waste of time. Journalism isn’t just about digging up some old story from the past, it’s about explaining how that story is relevant to the current day. Last Thursday, the Post completely failed to do that.

Getting beyond that issue, there’s also the question of timing, which Paxton seems to suggest was purely coincidental:

The other criticisms are that this story was published knowing that President Obama was going to announce his shift in favor of gay marriage. The allegation is that somehow The Post is working with the White House to time the story.

Do I think The Post took advantage of the timing? Yes. Vice President Biden had telegraphed the president’s position on gay marriage just days earlier. This story on Romney was in preparation for three weeks. It is part of a series of biographical stories on Romney being written by Horowitz and others and edited by The Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and associate editor, David Maraniss, who is known for his best- selling biographies of major U.S. political figures.

If I were an editor I might have sped it up a little, too, to take advantage of the national discussion on gay marriage. Does that mean Post editors are timing stories with the White House? I hope not, and I doubt that is the case.

Merida said they held the printed version for a day because they didn’t want it clashing with the Thursday front page coverage of Obama changing his mind on gay marriage.

“It just happened to coincide with the time when President Obama made his statement. We factored it in and that was the decision not to run it in print on Thursday,” Merida told me.

Reading between the lines, it appears that this article was originally intended to be part of a multi-part biographical series on Mitt Romney that would be running in the Post at a future date. We’ve seen those kinds of series before, of course, so there’s nothing unusual about that. Indeed, I recall similar multi-part series about John McCain and Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, and similar pieces about John Kerry during the 2004 campaign. What’s unusual, though, is for those pieces to be published in anything other than a chronological order over a period of a week or so. Obviously, the Post ran with this story at this time because they thought it had some relevance to the same-sex marriage debate that had been reignited by Vice-President Biden’s comments last Sunday. What that relevance is, only they seem to understand though. Were they trying to pain the picture of Mitt Romney as a mid-60s gay basher, for example, as contrasted with the President’s “evolution”? I’m not sure, and I generally don’t buy into media conspiracy theories, but I honestly don’t see what the editors were thinking when they came to the conclusion that someone that happened 47 years ago at a private High School in Michigan has anything to do with “the national discussion on gay marriage.”

So, in addition to feeding us a story that was largely irrelevant, the Post ended up publishing at perhaps the oddest and most inappropriate time of all. All in all, I’d say that was pretty crappy journalism in the end. Let’s hope they do better with the rest of that Romney biography they’re working on.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Good journalism? It’s hard to know where to begin.

    This story is typical of what goes on in modern politics – the Swift Boat Veterans, Bush AWOL, the Birthers, Bullying – we say we’re uneasy with it, and maybe we are, but honestly I believe that most people hope that these stories work to the advantage of their political preference.

    In general, I’m not sure we (the people) have the patience for the time and effort it requires to produce “good journalism”. We want everything immediately, and that includes our information. It really is no different from how we are in our business endeavors today – almost everything is expedited, pushed out before due diligence has ensured that everything is in order.




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  2. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    If the Post had reported that young Mr. Romney set fires or tortured animals, you would not be denying its relevance because we’d all know that those are very serious behaviors in youth that predict even more serious anti-social behaviors in adults.

    So, let’s dismiss the “it was only high school” defense as such since it rests on the unstated belief that the particular acts are not very serious. In other words, that holding a boy down while he cries and cutting his hair is essentially no big deal. Bullying is no big deal, whereas mutilating a household cat would be. In dismissing this story you’re making a value judgment about the seriousness of bullying, not about whether youthful behavior is relevant per se.

    This is generational. Old guys, many of whom either participated in or tacitly accepted bullying, have a vested interest in seeing it as a prank. The newer generations have come to see it as a very serious matter indeed. Carry out this identical act today and you can be expelled from school. You can also be arrested.

    Now, would you consider expulsion from school to be worth a story? I suspect you would. So again, this is about subjective value judgments on the importance of bullying.

    If you want to make the argument that bullying is no big deal, make that argument. But don’t dress it up as a story about whether or not the Post had any business reporting the matter. Because the fact is if we substituted sexual predation for bullying, or arson for bullying, or self-mutilation for bullying, you’d think it was relevant as hell. So would I.




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  3. @michael reynolds:

    None of the hypothetical facts you bring up are in the Post story, of course, because they didn’t happen. As I said, what is lacking in the story, and what makes it bad journalism, is the fact that they just throw the story out there without making any case for how its relevant to events occurring 47 years later.




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  4. Jeremy R says:

    The story probably was destined to be a one day wonder, but then the Romney camp handled it so poorly and dishonestly they dragged it out. First with non-denial-denials of no recollection, and then with half apologies still with no recollection, and finally with half apologies, with no recollection of the specific incident, but admitting to having, in general, done lots of unspecified “stupid” things in high school.

    Does anyone here actually believe that if Romney truly didn’t recall the incident the Romney camp wouldn’t have immediately held a press conference, as McCain did in response to the 2008 NYT female lobbyist story, and tore into the “liberal media” while giving a full throated denial? No GOP candidate passes up the opportunity to frame themselves as victims of the “liberal media”.

    Romney’s bizarre, weaselly response to the story became the story.




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  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    what is lacking in the story, and what makes it bad journalism, is the fact that they just throw the story out there without making any case for how its relevant to events occurring 47 years later.

    That would be advocacy or analysis, not reporting. The facts speak for themselves. Evidently some of Mr. Romney’s posse have regretted the incident and are now contrite. Mr. Romney apparently does not share their sense of regret. That’s relevant.

    In any case, again, you’re avoiding the obvious, which is your assumptions about the importance of the crime in question. (It was a crime, by the way.) If the report had been, “Mr. Romney shot a guy in Reno just to watch him die,” I guarantee you no one would now be demanding that the Post show relevance. If the report had been, “We have pictures of Mitt Romney strangling puppies at age 17,” you would not be demanding to have the relevance explained to you.

    You instinctively dismiss this as a prank, and that’s why you conclude it is irrelevant.




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  6. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Do you really want the media deciding that this or that incident is irrelevant?

    If there’s credible information that a candidate was a scumbag in the past, put it out there. Sure, people can change — but sadly they often do not. Let the candidate demonstrate that he has changed.




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  7. Davebo says:

    As I said, what is lacking in the story, and what makes it bad journalism, is the fact that they just throw the story out there without making any case for how its relevant to events occurring 47 years later.

    I think you have some misconceptions regarding journalism.

    Is the story the truth? (IE, did Romney participate in an assault in high school?)

    Is it accurate?

    Is it objective?

    Is it fair and impartial?

    It’s up to the reader to determine the relevance of any story. That you have decided this story isn’t relevant doesn’t make it bad journalism.




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  8. anjin-san says:

    without making any case for how its relevant to events occurring 47 years later.

    They don’t have to make the case, the case makes itself. Romney is running for President. I want to know what makes him tick. This episode has told us something about Romney then, and his response to it has told us something about Romney now. Neither picture is very flattering.

    I’ve talked a bit about my own experiences with bullying. One of the ringleaders in our jr. high school bullying was a guy named Joe. He was not a big guy, but damn he was tough. Guys twice his size did not want to tangle with him.

    By the time we were in high school, most of us (football dudes), Joe included, had realized that we had been involved in something pretty ugly. There was not a lot of bullying when I was in high school. If Joe found out about a stronger guy picking on a weaker one, he would beat the crap out of them. Problem solved.

    The guy I want as President is probably the guy standing between the bully and his victim. The guy I want as President is the guy who steps up and takes full responsiblity for things he did when younger that he now knows were wrong.




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  9. mantis says:

    Obviously, the Post ran with this story at this time because they thought it had some relevance to the same-sex marriage debate that had been reignited by Vice-President Biden’s comments last Sunday.

    Or that it had enough of a connection that they thought the timing would sell more papers and bring more traffic.

    Yes, newspapers try to make money (not that they’re very good at it). That doesn’t change the facts, or the quality of journalism that uncovered them.




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  10. mantis says:

    @Gustopher:

    Do you really want the media deciding that this or that incident is irrelevant?

    They already do that. All the time.




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  11. michael reynolds says:

    By the time we were in high school, most of us (football dudes), Joe included, had realized that we had been involved in something pretty ugly. There was not a lot of bullying when I was in high school. If Joe found out about a stronger guy picking on a weaker one, he would beat the crap out of them. Problem solved.

    Exactly. Show me that Mr. Romney became Joe 2.0 and I’ll be impressed. Given his response to this story, that epiphany and transformation did not take place.




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  12. John Burgess says:

    @Davebo: Ha, ha, ha! Those USED TO BE journalistic standards. Now, it’s what will sell advertising, draw attention to the medium, and advance the careers of the journalists. Forget subscriptions, forget speaking troof to power. It’s all about extending the power of the medium while pretending to be an awesome institution.




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  13. steve says:

    “So, in addition to feeding us a story that was largely irrelevant, the Post ended up publishing at perhaps the oddest and most inappropriate time of all. ”

    No, it was the perfect time. The Post is in the business of making money. If they were sitting on this story as part of a series, then had the opportunity to publish it at an opportune time, that is just business. While I agree that these kinds of stories are largely irrelevant, they do sell well. Look at the Obama dog meat story. How could that be relevant? Still, it moved well.

    Steve




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  14. @anjin-san:

    And I know human beings well enough to know that what someone does at 18 is barely relevant to the kind of person they are at 65




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  15. Dazedandconfused says:

    Preppies For The Truth?

    It’s just a character anecdote. George Washington cut a cherry tree and couldn’t tell a lie. Mitt cut….oh,….nevermind.




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  16. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug, there are so many things wrong with your post that it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll start with one thing that I think no one anywhere has noticed. You said this:

    Pexton does admit, because there’s really no way around it, that the paper did act improperly in failing to advise readers that it had made a substantive change

    Yes, WP made a change to the text, and there was a period of time where it made that change while “failing to advise readers that it had made a substantive change.” That problem was finally addressed. As of now, the article does indeed “advise readers [regarding] a substantive change.”

    What no one anywhere seems to have noticed is that Matthew Jaffe at ABC did something similar, and worse. This article of his has been widely cited (including by you, in this post): “Sister of Alleged Romney Target Has ‘No Knowledge’ of Any Bullying Incident.” 5/10/12. Take a look at the article and notice this passage:

    When ABC News showed her the story, Christine Lauber’s eyes welled up with tears and she became agitated.

    She described her brother as a “very unusual person.”

    “He didn’t care about running with the peer group,” Christine Lauber said. “What’s wrong with that?”

    Is that what the article said originally? No, it’s not. This is what the article said originally:

    When ABC News showed her the story, Christine Lauber’s eyes welled up with tears and she became agitated.

    She also corrected the story, saying her brother was a boarder, not a day student.

    She described her brother as a “very unusual person.”

    “He didn’t care about running with the peer group,” Christine Lauber said. “What’s wrong with that?”

    I highlighted the words that have been removed. That original text can be seen here. It can also be seen in Joyner’s post of 5/12/12 (“Family of Alleged Romney Bullying Victim Denies Knowledge of Incident”). If you google the bolded words, you will also find them in many other places.

    The Jaffe article includes this note: “This post has been updated for context.” Is that an adequate way for ABC “to advise readers that it had made a substantive change?” No, it’s not.

    By the way, here’s one of the problems with the statement that was removed: it claims that WP said that Lauber was a day student. Guess what: WP did no such thing. Weigel pointed that out here.

    There’s plenty of irony here, because a lot of the folks making a big deal about WP editing their article are exactly the same people who are also citing Jaffe, without noticing that Jaffe edited his article in a much worse way. And they are using the bolded text as proof that WP made a mistake, when in fact Jaffe accused WP of making a mistake they never actually made. And then whitewashed his own mistake by deleting it without alerting his readers.




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  17. Scott O. says:

    Doug, this

    the original post story got several facts wrong

    is bs. They got one minor detail wrong. I agree with the ombudsman that they should have made the update more obvious but it doesn’t change the story at all. Trying to remember back to my school days I believe most of the bullying was in jr. high. So someone bullying at age 18 is different than at age 15 to me. And being the ring leader is different than going along with they gang. Leaving that aside, it’s how Romney reacted to the story that has kept it alive. The ombudsman notes that the editor had a couple days of back and forth discussions with the Romney campaign before the story was published. so they weren’t caught off guard.




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  18. anjin-san says:

    And I know human beings well enough to know that what someone does at 18 is barely relevant to the kind of person they are at 65

    That might have a little more meaning if we did not see that Romney, at 65, is being a weasel boy about this whole thing right here in 2012.

    If you want to be a water boy for the weasel boy, have at it.

    At any rate, I question the depth of your knowledge of human nature. Some people experience remarkable growth over the years. Some grow steadily, but not spectacularly. And then there are people who don’t really change a heck of lot over time, they just don’t seem to have the capacity for much growth, or the willingness to experience the effort and pain that come with growth. I am 35 years out from high school, and some of the people I came up with have changed very little.

    If Romeny had been stand up about this thing, he would have won some respect from the Democrats in the room. Instead, his actions confirmed our fears about his character, or lack therof…




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  19. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And I know human beings well enough to know that what someone does at 18 is barely relevant to the kind of person they are at 65

    I’ve read claims that he’s not that kind of person anymore, that he has changed, and is now a kind person. All those claims lack one major thing. Examples of actual kindness.

    Do I think Romney has changed? No. Just consider his reaction to the story.

    Has there ever been a reason for him to change? Some sort of life-changing experience that made him reflect on the person he had been? Highly doubtful.

    Some people just doesn’t change.




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  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And I know human beings well enough to know that what someone does at 18 is barely relevant to the kind of person they are at 65

    I don’t think you know any such thing. I gave examples above, you don’t want to address them because you know you can’t. If you knew that a teen-aged Mitt Romney had committed a rape you would sure as hell believe it still mattered. Would you like to state that a teen rape was irrelevant to the adult? How about a murder? Are you this forgiving with convicted teen criminals? My sister-in-law’s best friend and her entire family were murdered by the son. He’s now locked up. Do you have any problems with him running for president? I kind of do.

    So, yes, sorry, past behavior is revealing. Particularly past behavior that is not acknowledged and is not repented of. We all know it, and you know it, too.

    You entire approach on this rests on your dismissal of the gravity of the incident in question.




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  21. Michael,

    The examples you gave are completely different, and far more serious, than what apparently happened at Cranbrook. And I agree, the event was cruel.

    Obviously, 18 year olds can commit acts that are relevant. If someone commits a murder at the age of 18 (or even 17 or 16 in most states) they are likely to spend most if not all of the rest of their lives in prison, and justly so. However, we’re not talking about murder here, are we?

    If there were other examples of similar behavior from Romney’s life that suggested a pattern, then perhaps I would consider this relevant.




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  22. michael reynolds says:

    Put it another way: anti-social behavior in kids has a context — family, religious beliefs, trauma, schooling, perhaps genetic factors, medical factors, etc…. To argue that youthful behavior is irrelevant is to argue that those factors are likewise irrelevant. It’s to argue that family, belief, trauma, etc… have no bearing on the adult.

    That’s absurd. Of course your upbringing, genetic package, schooling, faith etc… have an effect on who you are as an adult. In some cases the individual who has committed shameful acts as a child turns his/her life around and in effect profits from that experience. You’re arguing that people are tabula rasa upon reaching age 21. You’d never argue that what they did when they were 21 is irrelevant to discussions of their character at age 22. Or 25. You wouldn’t argue that behavior at 30 is irrelevant to age 50.

    The causation isn’t 1+1=2, it’s often much more complicated and unpredictable. But irrelevant? Sorry, no. It’s all part of a continuum.




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  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    And this is a more serious problem (that is, more serious than what I said above about “saying her brother was a boarder”). Doug said this:

    As many critics have pointed out, the original post story got several facts wrong

    “Many critics” have done what you’ve done: claim that “the original post story got several facts wrong” without noticing the unwarranted assumptions embodied in this claim. No, there is no proof that “the original post story got several facts wrong.”

    including the fact that one of the classmates it quoted about the incident now says he wasn’t even aware of it until a few weeks ago when a Post reporter called him to ask about

    You’re talking about Stu White. I explained his situation in detail here.

    Your words (“one of the classmates it quoted about the incident”) imply that WP presented White as a witness. A lot of people are making this claim, even though it’s false. No, WP never presented White as a witness. They only presented him as someone who had heard about the incident at some point.

    And you don’t know that “he wasn’t even aware of it until a few weeks ago when a Post reporter called him to ask about.” That’s what ABC said, but I just demonstrated ABC’s sloppiness (at least with regard to these stories of theirs, which they are obviously producing in a hurry). As I explained in the linked comment, what WP says White said is different from what ABC says White said. How do you know that WP is wrong and ABC is right? You don’t.

    There is no proof here of any error whatsoever by WP. As I explained in detail in the linked comment, what happened with White could have been caused entirely by mistakes and/or poor communication by him and/or ABC.

    ==================
    Scott:

    They got one minor detail wrong.

    Even this is not clear. Consider the following scenario. Horowitz (WP) interviewed White before the article was published. White said, or implied, that he heard about the incident a long time ago. WP then published these words: “[White] has long been bothered by the Lauber incident.”

    After the article was published, White talked to ABC. ABC then published these words: “[White] was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.” Is that really exactly what White said to ABC? Who knows.

    Horowitz then interviewed White again, and then WP published this:

    Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story reported that White “has long been bothered” by the Lauber incident. White later clarified in a subsequent interview that he has been disturbed by the incident since he learned of it several weeks ago from a former classmate, before being contacted by The Washington Post.

    The important thing to notice is that this does not amount to proof that WP ever did anything “wrong.” It’s entirely possible that White was unclear, or changed his story, and that WP accurately reported what White said in the first interview, and then also accurately reported what White said in the second interview.

    I agree with the ombudsman that they should have made the update more obvious

    It’s true that the update was not obvious at first, but it was then made obvious. This is yet another detail that I think a bunch of people are still confused about.

    but it doesn’t change the story at all.

    Exactly. This is the key point. Regardless of the reason for the update (that is, who made a mistake which led to the need for the update), the change is not material, because WP never presented White as a witness. This is where the deception comes in, as I explained in my linked comment. And Doug is contributing to that deception.




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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    However, we’re not talking about murder here, are we?

    Exactly my point. Your position rests on your value judgment that the specific act is not a serious one. That’s your argument, not that childhood acts are irrelevant, rather that you don’t think this was very serious.




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  25. James says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Here’s what being a bully says to me. That he likes power. He wants to dominate those weaker than him. So he grows into a man who runs for high political offices, made a career of tearing apart other companies, and has no problem forcing his personal beliefs upon others.

    Being a nice guy to friends and family are hardly examples of how he’s not longer a bully, it’s how he’s sought out a life that’s allowed him to harness his “bulliness” that shows that he hasn’t changed much since then.




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  26. LaurenceB says:

    What jukebox said.

    I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that posts be accurate when criticizing others for innaccuracy.




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  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug:

    However, we’re not talking about murder here, are we?

    No. We’re talking about assault. Phillip Maxwell is an attorney. He was there, and he described the act as “assault and battery.”

    On what planet is it not relevant to know that a candidate for POTUS was witnessed committing an assault? That’s a serious criminal act.

    it’s hard to see what relevance that has to Mitt Romney the 65 year-old man who, after High School, married, went on a Mormon mission, and attended BYU and Harvard Law School, experiences which he has said in the past changed him as a person.

    Romney was interviewed by Fox here. Here’s how he responded when the Lauber attack was described: by laughing, or chuckling. Scroll to 1:10 to hear that. And then he used this language: “pranks … hijinks.”

    This is sufficient to demonstrate that “changed him as a person” is false. At the time, he didn’t see his behavior as a serious problem, and he still doesn’t see his behavior as a serious problem. It was a serious criminal act, not something to be laughed about and dismissed as “pranks … hijinks.”

    Journalism isn’t just about digging up some old story from the past, it’s about explaining how that story is relevant to the current day.

    The relevance is obvious. The 18-year old who attacked Lauber is the same person who stood by silently while a debate audience booed a gay solder. And the same person who abandoned Grenell. He was a coward then and he’s still a coward now.

    ==============
    michael:

    That’s your argument, not that childhood acts are irrelevant, rather that you don’t think this was very serious.

    He was 18, so ‘child’ is probably not the right word.




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  28. Jenos Idanian says:

    @PJ: I’ve read claims that he’s not that kind of person anymore, that he has changed, and is now a kind person. All those claims lack one major thing. Examples of actual kindness.

    You haven’t seen them because either you weren’t looking, or didn’t want to see.

    Romney, sons save drowning family — Mitt personally rescues dog

    Romney shuts down entire office to find missing teenage daughter of employee

    (Same link)

    That help any? I admit they’re not as timely and relevant as the very shakily-sourced 1965 story, but they still oughta count for something…




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  29. anjin-san says:

    experiences which he has said in the past changed him as a person.

    I am sure thats what he says. Can you show us actual examples of things Romney has done that would lead us to thing that he is a kind/compassionate/thoughtful/self-aware adult?

    The more I learn about this guy, the more he reminds me of GW. A spoiled kid who grew up to be a rather shallow man.




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  30. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I’m not sure I see the point. The bullying story shows a penchant for hurting those weaker than him, people who are vulnerable. Helping out friends and peers is not exactly evidence to the contrary.




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  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    the very shakily-sourced 1965 story

    No, it’s not shakily-sourced. Five witnesses are referenced, and four of them are named. And Mitt himself has essentially confessed, in a statement that has been largely ignored. That darn liberal media.

    And even though a lot of people are claiming errors by WP, no one has actually proven any actual errors.




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  32. superdestroyer says:

    The impact that last the longest of the article is to convince more people to stay out of politics. I used to believe that one needed to start planning on being president while in college. Now that timeline is backup to high school.

    How many very competent and innovative managers and leaders have decide to do something other than politics because they would prefer to not have their personal lives picked over in detail.

    As the U.S. becomes a one-party-state and there are few, if any, competitive general elections, my guess is that the media will lose the interest in wall-to-wall coverage of elections and will concentrate on covering the influence peddlers and clouts.




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  33. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    M.R.

    Remember when the Democrats tried to excuse Clinton’s adultry and sexual adventures with the argument that they were not relevant.

    Of course, a man who would lie to his wife and child would not think twice about lying to everyone else. If what people to their whole lives is important, then it should be important for all politicians and they should all be reviewed equally. However, in the coming one-party-state, my guess is the media will decide who will be the winners by giving some politicians a push while making others out to be heels.




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  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: I’m not sure I see the point.

    The point was to show Romney demonstrating “actual kindness” (PJ’s phrase) or indicating he’s as “kind/compassionate/thoughtful/self-aware adult” (anjin’s phrase).

    And those are two data points, versus the singular datum of the haircut story.




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  35. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I know well enough to know that people generally don’t change. They change their methods, they change their manners, they get a family and learn to protect their own, but the core values and character don’t often change.

    It’s a rare thing when someone actually becomes a better person. Frankly, it’s a lot more common that someone just gets better at hiding the terrible person they are.




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  36. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Since you are into data, where is the data in the sinking boat story that indicates these people were “drowning”? Cause I don’t see any. Certainly it was a scary and unpleasant experience, and it was nice that the Romney’s got on their Jet Skis and fished these people out, but “drowning” actually means something, and these folks had life jackets on.

    It’s a nice story, but face it, even Jimmy Carter would have done it.




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  37. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So, he raced out and saved people who were wearing life jackets from drowning.




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  38. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Remember when the Democrats tried to excuse Clinton’s adultry and sexual adventures with the argument that they were not relevant.

    No, I don’t. I remember Joe Lieberman and Al Gore — two very prominent dems at the time — and others as well, openly expressing anger at Clinton, as did most of the MSM. Democrats were very disappointed in Clinton at the time.

    Then what happened is that the GOP overplayed their hand and attempted a legal coup. And that didn’t go so well for Republicans.

    It was the American people, in possession of all the facts, who decided to re-elect Mr. Clinton decisively.




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  39. michael reynolds says:

    I give Mr. Romney credit for the rescue. It’s a data point in his life. The bullying is another.




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  40. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Next time try addressing my entire comment instead of just the first line.

    How exactly is America becoming a one party state? Great claims require great evidence.

    How about this. The party in the White House has changed 4 times in my lifetime (with 18 years to 12 years in favor of the Republicans). Control of the Senate has changed 6 times (with 15 years Republican, 14 years Democrat (including the unfinished year of the 112th Congress, and two years that the Senate was split evenly). The House has changed hands 4 times (16 years to the Democrats and 14 years Republican, including the unfinished year of the 112th Congress).

    I can certainly see no pattern of “becoming a single party” country. In fact, it looks that the Republicans have had an edge on time in power in both the Presidency and the Senate. If you have an evidence to the contrary, I would be more than happy to see it.




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  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: A fair point, but not overly relevant — Romney didn’t wait to see “are they just in trouble, or in serious danger?”

    And I also misspoke on the missing girl story — he didn’t commandeer the office, but the entire firm to find the girl. He didn’t just tell the father “go ahead, take a few days off, keep us posted and let us know if there’s anything we can do,” he shut down all business and turned all their resources to find her — and succeeded.

    I’m more comfortable with those examples from Romney’s past than the crap stories that get a hell of a lot more traction from the press and the left.




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  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gustopher: I know well enough to know that people generally don’t change. They change their methods, they change their manners, they get a family and learn to protect their own, but the core values and character don’t often change.

    So, Obama’s no different from his dog-eating, coke-snorting, pot-smoking days? Hell, even I don’t say that.




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  43. jukeboxgrad says:

    And I just noticed another material, covert change to the ABC article that so many people are in love with. The article originally said this:

    Betsy Lauber, one of John Lauber’s three sisters, spoke with ABC News Tuesday night regarding the accuracy of the story. “The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family,” she said.

    Romney has since apologized for what he said were “pranks” in high school but has said he doesn’t remember the specific event.

    That text can be seen here.

    This is what the article says now:

    “The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family,” she said.

    She did not say specifically how the Washington Post story was incorrect.

    Romney has since apologized for what he said were “pranks” in high school but has said he doesn’t remember the specific event.

    I highlighted the words that were added. So here’s what ABC did. They removed these words:

    She also corrected the story, saying her brother was a boarder, not a day student.

    And instead put in these words:

    She did not say specifically how the Washington Post story was incorrect.

    Has anyone aside from me noticed that ABC edited their article this way? As far as I can tell, no. No wonder so many people think ABC demonstrated an error by WP, even though it’s ABC that made an error, and then hid it.




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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: I didn’t address your “full comment” because I was answering someone else at the time.

    Hell, I can make a far better case about Obama being a bully, based on actual examples from his adulthood and mainly his presidency, than this says about Romney.

    Challenge me, and I’ll come up with at least five examples of Obama mocking those who were far weaker than him, in no position to respond gracefully, or both. Most from the past five years or so.

    Obama has a mildly disturbing tendency to make himself look good by making others look bad.




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  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: OK, it turns out I overestimated you yet again. First, I thought I’d answered one of your comments, and you were upset I had not answered another one. Turns out I wasn’t talking to you at all.

    Now you’re asking me to substantiate another commenter’s allegations. Is there any particular reason you’re not asking him to back up his statements, and demanding that I do so in his place?




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  46. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    A fair point, but not overly relevant

    Only relevant to point out that you were lying to make Romney’s commendable actions sound more heroic than they actually were.

    than the crap stories that get a hell of a lot more traction from the press and the left.

    The men who went on the record in the bullying story are highly credible, as far as I know, their honesty is not in question. That is more than I can say for you.

    And let me be clear, I hope Romney is a stand up guy, I really do. He might be President. Based on what I know about his character so far, I am not impressed. His response to the bullying story was simply pathetic. If you have evidence that Romney is an actual leader, by all means pass it along – just don’t make crap up.




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  47. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You are correct about that point, that was aimed at superdestroyer but I forgot to add the @code for it.

    And sure, I’ll bite.




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  48. steve says:

    “Obama has a mildly disturbing tendency to make himself look good by making others look bad.”

    When talking about other politicians, this would be difficult?

    To the larger topic, I think people really do change. I know too many people who have done so. Most of us do if you think about it. Yes, some people remain the same as they were in high school, but most of us mature. We should judge Romney by what he says and the policies he supports. I think he fits Hayek’s description of a conservative.

    “Conservatism, though a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place.

    A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others.”

    Steve




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  49. An Interested Party says:

    Challenge me, and I’ll come up with at least five examples of Obama mocking those who were far weaker than him, in no position to respond gracefully, or both. Most from the past five years or so.

    Obama has a mildly disturbing tendency to make himself look good by making others look bad.

    Poor, poor Donald Trump…he was such a victim of bullying…




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  50. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: OK, five examples of Obama acting in a way that some (me, among others) could be considered “bullying.”

    1) Obama makes up quote portraying President Rutherford B. Hayes as a technophobe to defend his own support of green energy. Hayes, according to actual historians, actually embraced the telephone and had the first one installed in the White House — but Obama said, “One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?'” Obama said during a speech about energy. “That’s why he’s not on Mount Rushmore.”

    Putting false words in the mouth of a deceased (and Republican) president to make himself look better.

    2) Obama once fumbled a comment about meeting the living former presidents, and turned it into a false cheap shot at a former first lady. “In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living….I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.”

    Nancy Reagan didn’t hold seances in the White House. She consulted astrologers. It was Hillary Clinton who spoke of “talking with Eleanor Roosevelt.” Again, not only factually false, but utterly unnecessary.

    3) While running for president, a (female) reporter pressed him for a question. Obama answered “”Hold on one second, sweetie, we’re going to do — we’ll do a press avail.” “Sweetie (Peggy Agar) never got her “press avail,” but did get an answer after the “sweetie” remark made the news.

    4) Obama and bowling. After a particularly bad ball, Obama quipped that “it’s like the Special Olympics or something.” He later apologized to the Special Olympians.

    5) At a press conference, then-Senator Obama took a question from a youthful-looking reporter and answered “you have such a baby face.” The enitre room laughed at Nick Lovelady — including a certain female intern Lovelady was hoping to impress.

    In each case, Obama later corrected himself and apologized — but he obviously doesn’t learn from these kinds of incidents. He seems to think that if he just says he’s sorry, he can keep getting away with it.

    And he does. But I don’t like what it says about his character.

    OK, here’s the bonus one:

    6) The White House Correspondents Dinner, for decades, was an event where the president showed up, was roasted, then got up at the end and gave a few shots back at the press. However, starting last year, it turned into the president and the press teaming up to take their shots at others. Last year, it was Donald Trump — who wasn’t given a chance to answer any of his mockers. This year was little different — at least Jimmy Kimmel tried to take it back to its original purpose.

    Yeah, in the big picture, they’re all small potatoes. But if we’re looking at little things that reveal character, they mean something to me.




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  51. anjin-san says:

    @ Steve

    A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege.

    And here you have the big problem with Romney. Like GW, he looks at the world from his perch on the mountaintop and concludes “people like me need more than we already have”, while at the same time concluding “average people are being coddled – they can make do with less than they have now.”




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  52. Sara says:

    Let’s start with the fact that in a school the size of Cranbrook back then, this story would have been all over school within the hour, if it took place at all. For a friend of Mitt Romney’s to not have even heard of it, tells us so much.

    Yes Mitt was known for his pranks in school. There is no indication that he was cruel.

    I am within months of the same age as those in the events described and I am going to categorically state that none of us knew what being homosexual or “gay” was all about. It was not something ever discussed. However, in 1965, there was much angst from traditional teens and their parents about long hair, that was becoming so popular after the British Invasion. It was not unusual for a son to be buzz cut by his Dad with words like “I’m not going to have any sissies in my house,” or “no son of mine is going to go around looking like a girl.” At a button down school like Cranbrook, a bleach blond long-haired nonconformist would have been a target no matter what. I didn’t go to a private school, but it was in an upper middle class neighborhood and having someone come into school looking like that would have been a shock, heck we ragged on kids who didn’t wear Oxford cloth button down shirts or a girl who would come to school in pants or a guy in Levis. It just was not done. And it wasn’t “cool.”

    Lastly, there were kids of very rich and high-powered families at that school, much more so than Mitt’s family. The fact that there were no repercussions, no expulsions, no disciplinary action is just unbelievable for that time. Just using common sense, you would think that if a kid went off to school with long hair and came home with it all hacked off, someone would have noticed, yet apparently the family knew nothing.

    I’m sorry, but I find the story hard to believe first of all and even if true, it made me laugh because I’m sure that had this been my high school, this Lauber kid would have been toast and the butt of jokes by everyone.

    And all this talk of an assault or crime is so 2012. In the 1950s and ’60s, kids settled their own problems, they didn’t run and tattletell or go cry to mommy and daddy, no one threatened to sue nor call the police for everything. To me, the reaction to this story by some is just a blatant reminder of the wussification of America and the insidiousness of the Nannystate.




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  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Sara

    You cant even be consistent in your own post – how do you reconcile:

    In the 1950s and ’60s, kids settled their own problems, they didn’t run and tattletell or go cry to mommy and daddy,

    with

    The fact that there were no repercussions, no expulsions, no disciplinary action is just unbelievable for that time.

    Lauber did not tell his family. Big surprise that.

    There is no indication that he was cruel.

    Except of course, what happened to Lauber. Please note that Mitt did not deny the story. That tells us quite a bit.




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  54. Ron Beasley says:

    Good journalism has become an oxymoron in the US. It’s become tabloid journalism in part to compete with Rupert Murdoch. If I were to do today what I did did in High School 50 years ago I would probably be in a maximum security prison. Is there some evil political purpose – probably not, they are just trying to get readers. No this is not good journalism but that is no surprise.

    BTW – I am a progressive and hope that Obama kicks Romney’s ass in November.




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  55. superdestroyer says:

    @James:

    The number of states that the Democrats can win without spending a dollar for the national election is slowly increasing. The number of seats that the Democrats can retain without any effort is slowly increasing. Look at how the Republicans are having to spend money in North Carolina and Virginia while the Democrats do not have to worry states like Michigan and Wisconsin.

    In the very best election scenario, the Republicans can hope for 50% plus a little. The Democrats know that they can win in a rout. Look at states like California where the Democrats have all state wide offices and the Republicans are an after thought. As the demographics of the U.S. becomes more like the demographics of California, politics will tend to the same thing.

    Look at the number of U.S. House seats where the Republicans have zero chance of winning and then look at the seats where the Democrats have zero chance of winning.

    If you look at voting patterns, the Republicans win in many areas by a small amount See http://www.wmhartnett.com/2008/11/10/county-level-2008-election-results-as-3d-maps/

    And the demographic changes of the U.S. convert more areas into urban areas where the Democrats win by huge margins, the U.S. will be a one party state. Just look at Chicago is a good example.




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  56. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I’ll start with the first one since it is different than the others. Obama didn’t make it up. It does appear to be an apocryphal quote but it is one that has had some legs, in fact, Ronald Reagan used the same quote in a speech and also attributed it to Hayes.

    Number 2 was definitely a cheap shot but if you do a Google search for Nancy Reagan and seances and go to advanced to filter out all the Obama results there are plenty of articles that refer to her and seances. Whether or not they happened the idea that they happened is part of the political zeitgeist.
    Number 3, I don’t know the President well enough to know if he meant that demeaningly or he just calls women younger than himself sweetie.
    Number 4 is inappropriate and shows how poorly the mentally challenged are regarded in this country.
    Number 5 is also inappropriate.

    Do they show he is a bully or someone who is bad at off the cuff jokes. Since two of them involved the press, who can hardly be argued as powerless and Donald Trump hardly lacks outlets for him to speak back.




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  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    Last year, it was Donald Trump — who wasn’t given a chance to answer any of his mockers.

    What bullshit. He was in room packed with reporters. If he had wanted to step into the hallway to make a statement, either during or after the event, he would have been surrounded by microphones and cameras within nanoseconds. Why didn’t he do that? Because Obama had crushed him like the bug that he is, and he had nothing to say in response.

    As James said: “Trump hardly lacks outlets for him to speak back.”




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  58. James says:

    @superdestroyer: The 3D map was interesting but, since it compared the 2004 and 2008 Presidential races that a large part of that was the reaction to the failures of the Bush Administration. We’ll have to see how 2012 shapes up.

    How did the Democrats lose the House and most of their majority in the Senate in 2010 if they are so safe? Even the long held Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy went red. While the urbanization of America is increasing follows that city = Democrat. Many red states have major metropolitan areas that consistently vote and since GSS survey have shown that liberals have a much lower birth rate than conservatives. I still don’t see your doomsday scenario occurring.




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  59. Sara says:

    You cant even be consistent in your own post – how do you reconcile:

    In the 1950s and ’60s, kids settled their own problems, they didn’t run and tattletell or go cry to mommy and daddy,

    with

    The fact that there were no repercussions, no expulsions, no disciplinary action is just unbelievable for that time.

    Simple, one is telling it from the student’s side. The other is to illustrate that discipline in school was rigidly enforced and whether a Governor’s son or not, Romney and posse would have paid a price in some manner had the incident actually taken place and had it come to the attention of Cranbrook. Most likely, that price would have been calling parents and turning the kid over to them. Back then, parents rarely backed their kids against teachers or any other adults and calling them would have been the kiss of death. The idea that police would have been called or someone would threaten to sue or that this would be bullying is ludicrous.

    All I’m saying is that if you want to pass judgment on this alleged incident, do it from the perspective of that time, not by the politically correct Nannystatism of today.

    In my school, boys still got taken to the boiler room and paddled for being overly boisterous or disruptive, if you came into class chewing gum, you would wear it on your nose for the rest of class, and if two guys got into a “mine is bigger than yours” argument, more likely than not, the Coach would have grabbed them by the back of the neck and knocked their heads together to knock some sense into them. And I guess they would have gone apoplectic if they knew that our initiation into junior high was to be coated head to foot with ketchup by a senior and have to run down the middle of the street yelling the “British are coming, the British are coming.,” with the whole school lining the street hooting and hollering, laughing, pointing, and catcalling.




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  60. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: and Donald Trump hardly lacks outlets for him to speak back.

    Let me repeat: in previous years, the target of the roast was given the last slot at the podium.

    Trump wasn’t given that slot; he wasn’t even told that he — a guest — was to be the main target. And I can’t buy into how both Obama and the press decided, independently, to shift the target to Trump. There was serious collusion. And it was kept quiet.

    So he had opportunities to rebut. He took them. But was he granted the chance at the event? Hell, no.

    It takes a hell of a lot for me to feel the slightest bit of sympathy for Donald Trump. I am disgusted that Obama and the press pulled it off.




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  61. superdestroyer says:

    @James:

    Republicans are better at turning out to vote than Democrats. However, E. Warren will probably be the next senator from Mass. The idea of a Republican winning a state wide election during a presidential election year is laughable. That would require a huge number of voters to split their ballots between Brown and Obama.

    Also, the highest birthrate if for Hispanics and they vote for Democrats in overwhelmingly number. White conservatives have a higher birthrate than white liberals but some of those children born to conservatives will get jobs in the public sector, in social work, in education, in academia and will become liberals. How many children born to liberals will ever go into a career field that lends itself to being a conservative.

    The percentage of children in second grade that are white are less than 50% and some of those are immigrants that will automatically vote for Demorats.

    The thing to remember is that Hispanics are the new blacks and Asians are the new Jews. The problem for the Republicans is that there are no new Mormons.

    In addition, why would anyone who is 18 and interested in politics think about being a conservative and have the MSM and the liberal activitist nitpick evertyhing they say or write. Why not become a progressive, repeat the politically correct talking points, live in NYC or NW DC, and climb up the power structure.




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  62. anjin-san says:

    Hmm. Obama bullied Rutherford B. Hayes, who has been dead for over a century.

    A new Rubicon of Stupidity has been crossed…

    Of course Ronald Reagan once did the same thing, so apparently Reagan was a bully.




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  63. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Do they show he is a bully or someone who is bad at off the cuff jokes.

    To me, they show someone who is bad at off the cuff jokes in a way that makes him look like a bully. It’s the consistency of the “bad jokes” that tend to all go “bad” in the same direction. It’s the pattern.

    Of my six examples, you agreed with three, quibbled one, and dismissed two. Obviously I disagree, but aren’t those three examples (plus the “sweetie,” which in nearly all cases puts major sand in feminists’ knickers) enough to show a pattern?




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  64. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Here, let me explain it to you, in simple terms even you might be able to grasp:

    Obama likes to attack people who can’t hit back. That includes the dead. And it fits the pattern — Obama was talking about how great he was in the context of how much better he was than his predecessor. He needed a straw man to show how smart he was in backing green energy, and he didn’t bother to verify that what he was saying was accurate.

    It’s who he is. It’s what he does.

    You seem to like it. I don’t.




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  65. anjin-san says:

    Obama likes to attack people who can’t hit back.

    Of course – like Donald Trump. “The Donald” is helpless, he is such a victim. How could someone with as few resources as Trump every hit back?

    Trump is a LEGENDARY bully. Obama laid an epic smackdown on him. I can think of few more deserving.

    And now I remember, its coming back to me… you are a total, utter, waste of time. Dismissed.




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  66. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Trump is a LEGENDARY bully. Obama laid an epic smackdown on him. I can think of few more deserving.

    Me, neither. But the way it was set up? Trump gets invited to be a guest at an event where the president gets roasted. Instead, Obama and the press quietly collude to make it a roast of Trump. Cheapness personified. Totally classless.

    No wonder you liked it so much.




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  67. anjin-san says:

    @ Sara

    I grew up in the 60s/70s, and I did some crappy things to other kids. Nothing like this incident, but things that I am pretty ashamed of. I don’t try to pass them off as “hijinks”. It was just plain mean – stronger kids picking on weaker ones. Period.

    I advise you to go back and carefully read Romney’s remarks about this issue. He made a tacit admission that this incident did indeed take place, be did not have the stones to come right out and admit it, and that is telling.




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  68. anjin-san says:

    You seem to like it. I don’t.

    No, you like to make up things about saving drowning people who are not actually drowning. Pretty classy.

    Bye bye.




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  69. Sara says:

    ANJIN-SAN:

    He admitted that he did some pretty bad things, apologized to anyone who he hurt by those things he did and he said he did not recall this particular incident, that may or may not have happened. My point is that no one remembered it happened either until prodded by the WaPo writer and there is no record of any kind that it happened. Mitt Romney’s life is filled with acts of compassion and caring and this story is nasty leftist projection of their own evil thoughts and desires. If you think getting a haircut by a bunch of guys in a private school is so earthshattering, you’ve led a very sheltered life. Of course, the handwringers over this story are the same ones who insult combat hardened troops by calling them “children.”




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  70. James says:

    @superdestroyer: The statistics that I quoted were liberal vs conservative birth rates, not white liberal vs white conservative birth rates. The group with the highest overall birthrate is actually Mormons.




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  71. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Yes, I agree that they show a pattern I just disagree with you on what that pattern means. With the exception of Trump which could easily be argued as planned the others seem to more to be coming from someone trying to be funny who isn’t funny (I direct you to his terrible spilled milk joke).

    I am sure the sweetie gets “feminists’ knickers” in a twist but I guess I’m not the kind of person who has every been offended when older woman has said similar things to me.




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  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    sara:

    Lastly, there were kids of very rich and high-powered families at that school, much more so than Mitt’s family. The fact that there were no repercussions, no expulsions, no disciplinary action is just unbelievable for that time.

    The Lauber attack took place in Michigan. At the time of the attack, Mitt’s daddy was the Governor of Michigan, and he had been in office for over two years. At that time, POTUS was LBJ. Unless you can show that LBJ had kids at Cranbrook, you’re in no position to make your claim about “much more so than Mitt’s family.”

    And no, it’s not at all “unbelievable” that everyone at the school would understand the importance of not saying bad things about the Governor’s son.

    Just using common sense, you would think that if a kid went off to school with long hair and came home with it all hacked off, someone would have noticed, yet apparently the family knew nothing.

    This silly argument was addressed days ago in the earlier thread. Please keep up.

    I find the story hard to believe

    What you “find” has no significance. What matters is that there are five credible witnesses, and that Romney has essentially confessed.

    no one remembered it happened either until prodded by the WaPo writer

    He was calling Romney’s classmates to ask what they remembered about him. That’s not “prodded.” It’s called journalism (link):

    I had already had, I would say, more than a dozen conversations with people and I called just another guy on the list, and he told me about it




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  73. LaurenceB says:

    @jukebox,
    It’s kinda sad to see the folks here in the comments paying no attention to the facts, preferring instead to speculate on motives and character and unknowns and such. And Doug has disappeared completely – not even attempting to back up or back his mistakes.

    Oh well. I guess that’s life in the blogosphere.

    Ironic, though, that first James and now Doug have made the sort of errors that would have gotten them fired in a millisecond if they were journalists at the WP.




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  74. anjin-san says:

    @ Sara

    If you think getting a haircut by a bunch of guys in a private school is so earthshattering

    Actually, I don’t. You have either not read my remarks, or you have, and your reading comprehension is poor. The issue is Romeney’s weasel boy reaction to this story right here in 2012? It would be disappointing coming from any grown man. From a man who says he should be the most powerful person in the world, it is, at best, disturbing. Please read this thread. Everyone is willing to cut Romeny slack for something he did as a kid, even if it goes far beyond “hijinks”. They are not so forgiving of his actions now, as a mature man.

    there is no record of any kind that it happened.

    Yes there is. Highly credible people discussed it in the WaPo article. People from the uber-respectable, powerful families you were discussing earlier. Unless you have evidence that they are all liars, you are simply spewing crap.

    this story is nasty leftist projection of their own evil thoughts and desires

    Now you are simply ranting. The right has countless blogs for that, perhaps you would be more at home on one of them…




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  75. James says:

    @Sara: Have you ever served in the military? I did and yes, some of them are children. Some of the greatest people I have ever known as well as some of the worst, I met in the Army. It’s kind of like life. There are brave people in there as well as cowards; men of high principle and those with none. Hero worship does nobody any good.

    Try Googling head shaving and humiliation and it has a long and storied history.




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  76. KansasMom says:

    @Sara: If no one remembered it until prodded by WAPO, then why did one of them apologize to Lauber at O’Hare before he died? And “getting a haircut” is a prettty mild way of describing being held down against your will and threatened with a sharp object. In Kansas they call that assault and battery. And since you want to talk about “children” keep in mind that Romney was 18 when this happened, lots of other 18 year “children” were getting their asses shot at in Vietnam at that time.




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  77. jukeboxgrad says:

    Ironic, though, that first James and now Doug have made the sort of errors that would have gotten them fired in a millisecond if they were journalists at the WP.

    In fairness to James, we should note that he made an appropriate correction. Doug? I don’t expect it.




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  78. Capt Jack says:

    Funny you call Romney a “Prick”. Your true bias is showing. Do you ever mention how nobody calls Obama a “Pot Head” even though he regularly smoked marijuana? How about COKE? Obama says he experimented? Do you really believe that? How come you investigate a rumour about Romney, but never investigate FACTS about Obama?
    There is no more real journalism.




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  79. superdestroyer says:

    @James:

    If you include non-white birthrates, liberals (blacks and Hispanics) are ahead of whites overall. The percentage of each new birthyear is less and less white. That means that there are fewer people in each year group that conservatives could possibly have any appeal.

    The Democratic Party knows that demographics are 100% on their side. Increasing immigration and passing things like the Dream Act just make the one-party-state arrive sooner.

    Image what happens when ACA kicks in with the subisides and 40 million people start to get a new check from the government. The idea that a conservative party can survive that is laughable.




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  80. KansasMom says:

    @Capt Jack: It’s no longer a rumor when it is backed up by 4 or 5 named sources and acknowledged by the campaign.




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  81. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, Obama’s no different from his dog-eating, coke-snorting, pot-smoking days? Hell, even I don’t say that.

    Do any of those speak to his character or values?

    He was a kid, he ate what he was given. It’s like eating broccoli, if broccoli could fetch. It’s like eating a pig.

    And, when in college he — like most college students — tried drugs. A victimless crime. He wasn’t attacking those weaker than him, he wasn’t hurting anyone.

    Which of these speaks to the character of the man?




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  82. Gustopher says:

    @superdestroyer: Do you know where you won’t find any of that scary social safety net that seems to bother you? Somalia.

    Unfortunately, they have a lot of black folks there, so you mig not like it.




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  83. James says:

    @superdestroyer: Here’s the problem that you are missing, GSS survey shows that self identified conservatives have a higher rate than self identified liberals. Regardless of race. You attempt to refute that by saying 100% of any given ethnicity is liberal or conservative. This is obviously not true. Please do not refute facts with assumptions.




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  84. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jack:

    How come you investigate a rumour about Romney, but never investigate FACTS about Obama?

    Someone else who hasn’t read the prior threads. “Investigate FACTS about Obama” has indeed been done, at length. Although there are lots of people like you trying to pretend otherwise. See here and here.

    And an incident reported by five witnesses (four named and one unnamed) is not properly described as “a rumour.” Especially since Romney has essentially confessed.




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  85. jukeboxgrad says:

    Romney trying to treat the attack as a joke (hear him laughing via here) is only prompting the witnesses to speak up and contradict him. For example:

    I’m a lawyer. I know what an assault is. This kid was scared. He was terrified. That’s an assault.




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  86. anjin-san says:

    @ Guestopher

    dog-eating

    You really have to wonder about the mentality of people who are obsessed with this. We all know that eating dog is perfectly norman in fairly large parts of the world.

    When I was a kid, there was a strict rule in our house. You ate what was put in front of you. All of it. (I was lucky both my parents were excellent cooks). If the kids did not want to clean their plates, we had the option of sitting at the table with our unfinished dinner until bedtime, and then going directly to bed. That was how it was back then.

    Still, this kind of nonsense is actually encouraging. The right has tried attacking Obama on his record, and it is not really working. So they are playing to the peanut gallery with this nonsense.




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  87. michael reynolds says:

    Nothing is more revealing than this new Republican tack — tacitly accept that Mr. Romney was a bully by trying to change the conversation to an attack on long-since-adjudicated stories about Mr. Obama.

    The dog that didn’t bark? In this case it’s any real defense of Romney. Where are the passionate defenses of Romney’s character, his record, etc? Where are the passionate testimonials of his fans? Cue the crickets and the tumbleweed.

    Obama’s support is 90% about Obama. Romney’s support is also 90% about Obama. Romney’s not even a major character in his own story. I almost feel sorry for him. He’s the political equivalent of a revenge f*ck — it’s not about him, it’s about a whole other relationship.




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  88. michael reynolds says:

    I ate horse when I was a kid. I was living in France and my mom served it for dinner. Like Obama, I was 10.

    You have to be functionally retarded to think this means anything.




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  89. jan says:

    Was The Romney “Bullying” Story Good Journalism?”

    No!




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  90. anjin-san says:

    I ate horse when I was a kid.

    Barbarian. You are shunned. I shun you.




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  91. Capt Jack says:

    @James: It was 1965!!!




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  92. Capt Jack says:

    The “Journalists” are ignoring a LIFETIME of of good deeds and focusing a teenager activity in 1965!
    Meanwhile Obama’s activities in 1970’s 1980’s 1990’s, 2000’s as a ADULT are ignored?
    This includes relationships with radicals, drug use, radical papers, destructive Chicago politics, the hiding of every important document in his life?
    I would say very POOR journalism.




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  93. KansasMom says:

    18 years old is an adult. In 1965 forcibly holding someone down and threatening them with scissors was assault and battery, perhaps with a deadly weapon. A 65 year old man who doesn’t remember the incident, yet giggles about it and offers a non-apology is “severely” something. I’d lean towards sociopathic myself, but I guess some might call it conservative.




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  94. jukeboxgrad says:

    jack:

    a LIFETIME of of good deeds

    Not everyone thinks that vulture capitalism is properly described as “good deeds.”

    Meanwhile Obama’s activities in 1970′s 1980′s 1990′s, 2000′s as a ADULT are ignored?

    Since you presented that as a question, here’s the answer: no, those things have not been ignored, although there are many people like you trying to promote that falsehood. Here’s what’s been “ignored,” by you: my comment where I showed you how to find extensive coverage regarding “Obama’s activities in 1970′s 1980′s 1990′s, 2000′s.”

    Thanks for providing such a great example of how conservatives ignore all inconvenient evidence. We can see you have adopted every Republican’s favorite position.

    the hiding of every important document in his life

    Name one document that any other president has provided that has not been provided by Obama.

    I realize you’re too ignorant to know this, but no president before Obama released their birth certificate (we ultimately saw Reagan’s, but not until after he left office). Or their college transcripts (GWB’s were leaked). Let me know where I can find Mitt’s BC. And his transcripts. Why is he “hiding” those things?




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  95. Hey Norm says:

    Romney was a bully. Most bully’s are cowards, and we repeatedly see his cowardice on display today. So yes, it’s completely relevant , and stop saying what happened then has no bearing on the man today.
    Frankly I laugh at criticism of journalism from someone who constantly pretends to be unbiased by taking refuge in BOTH SIDES DO IT faux analysis.




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  96. superdestroyer says:

    @Gustopher:

    Many of those countries in Europe that have massive levels of unemployment and have either defaulted in the past or facing default now. In addition, the Scandinavian countries that progressives seem to love are overwhelmingly white, have little immigration, have a birthrate well below replacement.

    The demographers in the Scandinaviaa countries know that they current level of welfare and entitlement is unsustainable. It would be nice if progressive in the U.S. would learn the same level.




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  97. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer: Off topic, but couldn’t let this stand:

    “The demographers in the Scandinaviaa countries know that they current level of welfare and entitlement is unsustainable. It would be nice if progressive in the U.S. would learn the same level. “

    If progressives figured out a sustainable level for the welfare state, will right wingers back off?

    I mean, don’t appeal to sustainability when the real beef is with the existence of a welfare state.




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  98. superdestroyer says:

    @James:

    Blacks vote for Democrats at a rate over 90%. I know that there are polling questions that are used to try to demonstrate blacks are really conservatives. But when you look at the voting of blacks and the actions of black Democrats, it should be obvious that blacks are the most liberal group in the U.S.

    In addition, over 70% of blacks born today are born to single mothers. I doubt if any of those single mothers are conservative or would ever support Republicans.

    Hispanics vote for Democrats at a rate over 70%. The CHC is very liberal. Given that around 50% of Hispanics are born to single mothers, I failed to see that conservative Hispanics are having the most children.

    There are some Republicans who believe that Asians should be conservative. But as long as the government has set asides for Asians, I doubt that Asians will be interested in many things conservatives.




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  99. superdestroyer says:

    @Herb:

    The real issue is that birthrates are part of the sustainable calculations. I doubt is progressives would ever let that be considered. If taxes are set very high to fund a large mount of entitlements, then the birthrate of the upper classes collapses. This is due that when people are paying high level of taxes, they are not willing to lower their standard of living to have children.

    The Democrats believes that they can have a high level of entitlements and sustain the spending by having open borders and unlimited immigration.

    The continuous budget problems in California show clearly demonstrate that unlimited immigration will not make high levels of spending sustainable.




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  100. Hey Norm says:

    “…If taxes are set very high to fund a large mount of entitlements, then the birthrate of the upper classes collapses. This is due that when people are paying high level of taxes, they are not willing to lower their standard of living to have children…”

    WTF is any of this based on?
    Do you just sit there and make shit up?
    It’s pure fantasy, from the high tax rates that no one is asking for, to the large amount of entitlements which no one is asking for, to the factually un-supportable birthrate collapse of the upper classes.
    This is an extremely low tax nation.
    Democrats have proposed cutting entitlements repeatedly.
    And the birthrate thing is just bullshit.
    You are a pathetic racist.




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  101. Tim says:

    @michael reynolds: I find the discussions about Horowitz’s article to be more proof that it was bad journalism.




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  102. Tim says:

    @Gustopher: The media decides every day what is relevant or not relevant about every aspect of our political candidates and our society. I’m pretty sure there have been issues not reported about our candidates that you would agree are irrelevant and many that have been reported that you thought were irrelevant.




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  103. Davebo says:

    Quell surprise. All conservatives think the WP article is bad journalism yet not one, including Doug, can explain why beyond “I didn’t like the article”.

    At least Doug seems to have had the common sense to stop digging.




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  104. Herb says:

    @Tim:

    “The media decides every day what is relevant or not relevant about every aspect of our political candidates and our society.”

    Yes, but the media is so diverse (hundred of TV channels, thousands of newspapers, millions of websites) that there is no “The Media.” You really could pretty much stay in a bubble if you want.

    I actually find that the folks who most loudly complain about the media are the folks most susceptible to its influence.




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  105. Hey Norm says:

    The Obama campaign is out with a harsh ad re: Romney and Bain and Vampire Capitalism.
    If this keeps up Romney is going to be bloodied and battered by the convention….never mind November. The Republicans might start to think Ron Paul is a good idea after all.




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  106. LaurenceB says:

    @DaveBo

    Au contraire, Doug went to great pains to lay out in excruciating detail why the article was bad journalism.

    Perhaps you missed his elegant argument:

    “The original Post story got several facts wrong”.

    What more evidence do you need?

    /sarcasm




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  107. al-Ameda says:

    @Capt Jack:

    the hiding of every important document in his life?

    It’s that Birth Certificate thing isn’t it?
    Or is it his college transcripts?
    Or is it his marriage license?
    Or is it his driver’s license?




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  108. Hey Norm says:

    @ Laurence B…
    Yeah…he said there were several facts wrong…and then he actually named ONE. A fact that did not change the story one bit.
    Again…hardly one to be criticizing journalism.




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  109. jukeboxgrad says:

    he said there were several facts wrong…and then he actually named ONE.

    Doug didn’t even do that. You’re giving him too much credit. He actually named this many proven errors by WP: zero.

    What is known is that WP made a change. It is not known if this reflects WP ever actually getting anything wrong. It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that all that happened is this: WP interviewed White twice, and what he said the second time is a little different from what he said the first time. If that’s what happened, then there was no error on the part of WP.

    Accurately reporting what White said is not an error, even if you have to change the article because White came along later and decided to tell his story a little differently. I have explained this in more detail in a few different places, such as here.

    A fact that did not change the story one bit.

    This is the key point. The change regarding White is not material. Period. It only appears material if you falsely claim that White was presented as a witness. It appears especially material if you falsely claim that White was presented as the only witness (even though WP did not present White as a witness, and even though there are five witnesses who are not White). And this is exactly the deception that the usual suspects are currently promoting, and Doug is helping to promote that deception.




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  110. jukeboxgrad says:

    I just noticed something I find interesting.

    According to the WP ombudsman, “this story on Romney was in preparation for three weeks.” That means Horowitz started working on it about 4/19.

    Anyone notice what was happening around that time? Ann Romney was popping up everywhere, talking about what a prankster Mitt is. On 5/2, CS Monitor ran this story: “Why does Ann Romney keep calling Mitt a ‘wild and crazy’ guy?”

    This message was also being sent from other parts of the campaign, including Mitt himself. That’s nicely documented here: “Romney Campaign Helped Cultivate Candidate’s Prankster Image.” (It’s true that this was happening prior to 4/19, but it seemed to accelerate around that time.)

    This is what seems to have happened: Horowitz was calling Mitt’s high school buddies, and word of this inevitably got back to Mitt, so the campaign had reason to expect that the stories about Lauber et al might finally come out. They decided to try to inoculate Mitt by painting this picture of him as a prankster.

    And of course this is consistent with the way he behaved when the story came out: he tried to pretend that it was just a prank, a joke. I think we have reason to believe that he prepared that reaction long in advance.

    What I find interesting is that his campaign is so clueless. He has surrounded himself with people who apparently didn’t realize the strategic importance of him at least pretending to take the matter seriously. By laughing about it, he made it worse. The stupidity is remarkable, especially since it seems that the laughing was planned in advance, and was designed to fit in with this picture they’ve been painting that Mitt is a wild and crazy prankster.

    It’s not just that Mitt is a lousy human being. He’s also incompetent as a politician, and it seems that he has hired a bunch of people who are similarly incompetent.




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