BLUMER: Blade rehashes Romney haircut story, ignores WaPo holes

By   /   May 23, 2012  /   No Comments

By Tom Blumer | Special to Ohio Watchdog

Tom Blumer

Ten days after the Washington Post published a 5,400-word tome on Mitt Romney’s high school years, two Toledo Blade reporters, and apparently their editors, thought it necessary to produce nearly 3,000 more.

The Post’s May 10 piece was mostly unremarkable except for its description of one incident in which Romney allegedly led a group of prep-school classmates who forcibly cut the hair of fellow classmate John Lauber against his will.

The story required several corrections, not the least of which meant modifying reporter Jason Horowitz’s original claim that one of Romney’s classmates was supposedly bothered by the incident “for years.” The truth is that the classmate involved didn’t even know about the incident until shorty before the Post’s report appeared.

Beyond that, in essence refuting the report’s subtle contention that Lauber was traumatized by what happened for the rest of his life, his sisters publicly stated that he never told them about it. Lauber’s family publicly insists that “the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda.”

None of these glaring weaknesses or objections seem to have at all bothered Blade reporters Tom Troy and David Yonke. Their story appears to have had three purposes:

To make sure that Glass City-area readers, most of whom arguably could care less, learn about the Post’s report about the “bullying” incident.

To find as many of Romney’s contemporaries as possible to say that they believe the incident happened, even if it seemed out of his character. “Fellow students reached by The Blade said they never heard of the incident and were convinced it happened only because they trust their four classmates who attested to it on the record,” the Blade reported.

To marvel at how lucky Romney was that he wasn’t disciplined for the incident, which if known to school officials would supposedly have led to his suspension or dismissal.

In a classic case of what is almost certainly feigned ignorance, the Blade pair wrote:

“The incident came to light about the same time that Mr. Romney’s Democratic opponent, President Obama, announced that he personally supports the right of people of the same sex to marry, a reversal of his stance in 2008 when he said he viewed marriage as only being possible between a man and a woman.”

What misleading hogwash. The incident didn’t happen to “come to light.” its appearance was deliberately timed to appear shortly after Obama’s same-sex “marriage” announcement. Eight days before the Blade story appeared, the Post admitted as much.

By referencing only Obama’s 2008 position on same-sex “marriage,” Troy and Yonke left a clear misimpression that Obama previously had been steadfast on the subject. That isn’t the case.

Twelve years earlier, in 1996, as Los Angeles-area blogger Patterico pointed out on May 11, Obama “signed a questionnaire in which he supported the right of gays to marry.” And yes, it was Obama’s signature. In 1998, as Fox News noted on May 9, Obama’s position moved to “undecided.”

Given all the potential news stories there for the taking in Northwestern Ohio, the Blade and its reporters seriously misallocated their finite resources in spending so much time and effort on what Romney was doing when he was 18, all while adding nothing new and failing to note Obama’s record of same-sex “marriage” flip-flopping. That is, unless they believe that their mission is to bring out as much derogatory information about Barack Obama’s re-election opponent as they can while protecting Dear Leader. If that’s the case, then the Blade’s tediously long story is a perfect fit — and yet another reason why Toledo-area residents should ignore what it publishes, as so many already do.