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Brent Bozell
L. Brent Bozell
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The Washington Post Bullies Romney


When it comes to opposition research, there is often only one difference between a candidate's vicious negative ad and an "investigative" news report: the undeserved patina of media "objectivity" and respectability.

Take the Washington Post's Jason Horowitz's 5,400-word "expose" on how Mitt Romney may have pinned a boy down and cut his hair in 1965. 1965? That's almost a half century ago. Even if every detail were accurate — and they weren't — a journalist could pull a muscle in the hyper-aggressive attempt to make it somehow relevant to the present moment or even the recent past.

The family of the alleged Romney victim, John Lauber, who died of cancer in 2004, issued a statement saying, "the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda." One sister said, "If he were still alive today, he would be furious" about the story. None of this slowed down the Post one bit and didn't stop everyone else from repeating the story.

So how hard was it to learn the allegation was false? Wasn't this the story? Who was spreading the falsehood?

This is the same "investigative" crew that expended 3,000 words last October explaining that a rock at a Rick Perry rental property had the N-word painted on it. Never mind this was about 25 years ago; never mind you couldn't see it because it was covered in white paint; and never mind that the painting over the N-word was done by Perry's family. The reader was supposed to know that it was somehow very relevant to the presidential campaign.

The Romney prep-school "prank" scandal is reminiscent of an old 1996 report on Pat Buchanan on ABC's "Nightline." Then anchor Ted Koppel not only suggested Buchanan's father was a regular listener to the anti-Semitic radio show of Father Coughlin (he later apologized when the family denied this), he even stooped to accusing Buchanan's little brothers of having beaten up Jewish kids in the neighborhood in the 1950s.

Koppel tried to put these spurious allegations "in context" for the viewer: "It's not that Pat Buchanan today is associated with overtly anti-Semitic or racist acts or statements, but rather that he has created an image of someone who might be sympathetic to such acts or statements by others."

Who, precisely, was "creating the image" of prejudice and mean-spiritedness? Why do journalists never take responsibility for their mudslinging? They just pretend someone else did it.

In the same way, the Post and other reporters are creating a negative image of Romney as "a rich kid with a mean streak" who has apparently never matured.

The Post defends itself by calling its reporting "solid," and that they found Romney classmates who would tell this tale. Yet they somehow are more credible than the very family of the alleged victim. This is not just about inaccuracy, but it's about irrelevance. Somehow the "character" of Republican contenders is always a question mark that requires sleuthing of their teenage years for signs of disturbing misbehavior.

The Post knows full well that they never did this kind of investigation for Barack Obama in 2008. Take Obama's admissions of teenaged marijuana and cocaine use in his memoirs. Did the Post send a reporter to find out from Obama's classmates how often he used illegal drugs and where he purchased them?

No. The Post tried to assert these troublesome admissions wouldn't matter in a story published a month before he announced he was running and never returned to investigate. Reporter Lois Romano declared, "Obama's partisan opponents and experts said it is too early to know whether the admissions will be a liability because the public seems to be enthusiastically embracing his openness at this point."

Do you think if Romney openly professed having bullied kids in high school that the media would report the public seems to be "enthusiastically embracing his openness"?

Obama wasn't the only candidate the Post utterly failed to vet in 2008. Did the Post offer 5,000 words on John Edwards cheating on his dying wife — in real time, as an adult presidential candidate? Then Post reporter Howard Kurtz admitted, "The whispered allegations about John Edwards were an open secret that was debated in every newsroom and reported by almost none."

It's bias like this that causes people to cancel their newspaper subscriptions. Sadly, these Posties are so delusional as to believe that their fallen-away subscribers prefer hackneyed bloggers and talk-radio hosts over this elitist garbage.

They can't see that what they're publishing here in this Romney-prank story is clouded, unconfirmed ancient history — maybe even mythology — that none of them would ever "report" on the worst of the Democrats. No one believes this newspaper's claims of objectivity and fairness. No one should.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
L. Brent wrote:

They can't see that what they're publishing here in this Romney-prank story is clouded, unconfirmed ancient history ó maybe even mythology

Was it mythology that our great GOP candidate had a dog so sick on top of his car that it had diarrhea and vomiting, signs in a dog of a possible fatal illness? His response, hose off the car and keep driving. Was it mythology that our great GOP candidate was instrumental in a physical assault and a hate crime against a gay student in high school, his response, He doesn't remember.

Character MATTERS, L. Brent, isn't that what you are always pntificating about? I don't care if some high school kid or young adult experimented with drugs 30 years ago, no big deal. Animal abuse and hate crimes, including what would today be a felony assault and battery, does matter.

Your ridiculous shameful defense of Romney, who is a damaged character flawed human being, is pathetic. Thank God the Washington Post is outing Romney, his character flaws do not change, leopards don't change their stripes. He is a ruthless human being and a corporate, heartless, predator.

"Conservative" Mantra: I, L. Brent, am a hypocrite, I pretend to take the moral high ground, and I support Romney, only because he is a conservtive, even though he is character impaired. I would support and defend Jeffrey Dahlmer if he were the Republican candiate, I am really a small, immoral man.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Bloom Hilda
Wed May 16, 2012 7:34 AM
Bloom. Actually that is what Mr. Bozell does. He points out inconsistent media coverage of liberal vice conservative issues. Your anger at Mr. Romney's dog is a good example of that since you would not have know about it if the media had not thought it was very important to point it out. Tell me what is the difference of putting your Dog in the back of a pick-up truck or your horse in a travel trailer. For that matter how does it affect his ability to be President when you seem to think that President Obama's self professed issue don't affect his ability?
Comment: #2
Posted by: david
Wed May 16, 2012 9:04 AM
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