Friday, May 11, 2012

Questionable Journalism: Washington Post Explores Romney's Teen Years

Mitt Romney as a teenager
 The Washington Post wins today's "questionable journalism" award for publishing an article that delves into Mitt Romney's high school years in order to unearth "troubling incidents." The article reports that Romney engaged in acts of bullying with several other students at the elite prep school he attended. Romney is now 65-years-old.  Most of the events the article describes occurred nearly one-half century in the past.

The article is not even remotely relevant to Romney's worthiness as a president. If he were still assaulting and harassing young boys, then, clearly, the content of the article would have significance. It would establish a possible pattern of unacceptable behavior. Neither the Washington Post nor any other credible news source, however, has presented evidence which demonstrates that Romney continues to harass and abuse other people. This article is simply a hit piece.

The article is similar in its lack of substance to a 2008 New York Times report that dragged up rumors about John McCain having a close relationship (no specifics -- just a "relationship") with a female lobbyist. The story received a lot of criticism. At the very least, both of these stories press against the boundary of good journalism.  It is also fair to say, however, that these stories cross that line. The Washington Post article has given readers another reason to question the fairness of the media.

There are many important issues to examine regarding Romney and President Obama. Hopefully, the Washington Post will attend to these matters, rather than providing useless and questionable information concerning the candidates.

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