The Washington Post was already skating on thin ice with its fantastically convenient hit piece on Mitt Romney, published in perfect synchronization with President Obama’s embrace of gay marriage.
Designed to paint Romney as a mean-spirited homophobic bully during his prep school days – which, let us remember, occurred over seventeen thousand days ago – the ridiculously bloated and overly-dramatic 5000-word Post “expose” related the story of how Romney allegedly led a gang of high-school hooligans and forcibly cut the hair of a “presumably gay” fellow student named John Lauber.
The piece does a great deal of mind-reading to insinuate homophobia, and in an amazing set of concluding paragraphs, heavily implies that Romney essentially murdered this poor kid with his scissors – it just took his body four decades to collapse around his broken spirit. John Lauber died of liver cancer in 2004, an even the Post dramatically contrasts with Romney accepting the Distinguished Alumni award from the Cranbrook prep school, concluding with a melancholy salute to Lauber’s hair, which he never stopped bleaching blond.
The Post based this hit on testimony from five men who “mostly lean Democratic,” including one who was a volunteer for the 2008 Obama campaign. No one else seems able remember the incident taking place.
Including, as it turns out, both a friend of Romney’s that the Post openly and fraudulently asserted had “long been bothered” by the haircut hazing… and the “victim’s” own family.
Romney friend Stu White dropped the first bombshell on the Washington Post’s phony story, telling ABC News “he was not present for the prank, in which Romney is said to have forcefully cut a student’s long hair, and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.” The assertion that he was “long bothered” by Romney’s alleged display of full-contact barbering was entirely false, and there is no way to claim it was not a deliberately false impression inserted into the Post story, since they knew perfectly well that they are the ones who told White about it, just a few weeks ago.
Much worse for the Post was a statement released by John Lauber’s sister Betsy, which reads, in full: “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.”
Wow. Just… wow. The Post apparently didn’t bother clearing their smear job with the victim’s family, even though they interviewed both Christine and Betsy Lauber for the piece. They thought they were contributing to a respectful tribute, not an ugly partisan hit.
Christine Lauber told ABC News that her brother never mentioned the allegedly life-destroying traumatic incident related by the Washington Post, and “probably wouldn’t have said anything” even if something like it did happen, because he presumably was not the fragile character he has been portrayed as. Furthermore, she tearfully insisted that “if he were still alive today, he would be furious” over the Post story.
But wait! This gets worse. Someone at the Post apparently panicked after Stu White spilled the beans to ABC News, because they committed one of the greatest sins in journalism: they quietly edited the Romney hit piece without publishing a retraction, as Breitbart.com requested in writing. The false statement about Stu White has been changed to read as follows:
“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.”
This was a colossally stupid move on the Post’s part. How often do people have to be reminded that the Internet never forgets? That caches and screen grabs of dishonestly edited material rest comfortably in the hands of media watchdogs?
ABC mentions that some other, as yet nameless, classmates of Romney are eager to dish dirt on his teenage misbehavior, although no one seems ready to corroborate the Lauber hair hazing incident. That effort will misfire badly, and solidify support for Romney from a public sick unto death of attempts to distract from Barack Obama’s record in office. MSNBC has spent 3 days hyping this fake story. Obama knows he is in big trouble to have his media cohorts fabricate junk like this.