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NBC Reports Romney Bully Story Labeled 'Factually Incorrect' By Family of Alleged Victim
Media Research Center ^ | 5/11/12 | Kyle Drennen

Posted on 05/11/2012 12:30:36 PM PDT by Kevin C

At the end of a full report on Friday's NBC Today, based on a Washington Post hit piece that accused Mitt Romney of bullying of a gay high school classmate, correspondent Peter Alexander admitted the story may be false: "NBC News isn't naming the student who was allegedly bullied....Late last night, his sister told NBC News that his portrayal in the Washington Post story is 'factually incorrect'..."

Despite that important detail, the network morning show still decided to promote the accusations. At the top of the show, co-host Ann Curry teased: "Prep school bully? Mitt Romney responds to a report that as a teenager he led a bullying incident of a classmate who later came out as gay....Could an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago impact the presidential race?"

Alexander touted the story as the "latest example" of how "nothing is off limits in politics" (Certainly not a standard the press have applied to President Obama). He went on to hype it as a stumbling block for the Romney campaign: "While Mitt Romney tries to focus on the fall of 2012, he's been forced to respond to claims of bullying dating back to the spring of '65, nearly 50 years ago."

Alexander selected the most sensational quotes from the Post story:

...the Washington Post cites five of Romney's prep school classmates, one describing what happened as an "assault"....what one of them described as a "vicious" incident where Romney allegedly led a group of friends to confront another student, who the Post reports was believed to be gay....Romney and his friends, one of them the school's wrestling champion, "tackled" the boy "and pinned him to the ground." And then as the boy began to cry, screaming for help, "Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors."

Alexander made sure to note: "One of Romney's classmates, Phillip Maxwell, confirmed the story to NBC News, noting the boys grew into 'a distinguished group of men' and 'we look back at it now and it's a black mark on our own character.'"

Asking if "a presidential candidate's behavior in high school [is] relevant today?," Alexander cited reaction from the left and the right:

...it depends who you ask. One Democratic operative tweeted, "Mitt Romney was intolerant in 1965, assaulting a presumed homosexual with scissors, and he's intolerant today, opposing civil unions and same-sex marriage." But a prominent conservative commentator dismissed its significance, tweeting, "In light of the Post's story, I just don't think I can bring myself to vote for the 17-year-old Mitt Romney for president."

Only after painting Romney as a mean-spirited bully did Alexander bother to mention the comments from the alleged victim's sister. He further explained that she "said the family is upset...that he's being used, in her words, 'to further a political agenda.'"

That prompted co-host Ann Curry to further question the legitimacy of the Post story: "Peter, on that point, can you shed any light about the timing of this? I mean, having this allegation against Mitt Romney come so soon after the President made his announcement about gay marriage."

Alexander confessed: "Yeah, a lot of people view the timing as either questionable or suspicious. Of course, the reporting came out just one day after the President said he supported same-sex marriage....a lot of people are asking questions about the exact timing of this. The Post insists this is reporting they've been working on for a while."

If Curry and Alexander were so skeptical of the story, why do a full report on it? And even then, why not lead with the doubts of the account's veracity?

They failed to mention another problem with story that the paper was forced to correct. One of Romney's classmates quoted in the original article never witnessed the incident in question and had never even heard about it until the Post contacted him about the story.

Thursday's NBC Nightly News also covered the story, but in a more measured fashion. While chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd highlighted many of the same quotes as Alexander, he provided several sound bites of Romney and others pushing back on the allegations. Alexander's piece only featured a single clip of Romney responding.

In addition, Todd balanced the Romney story with Barack Obama's troubled youth: "In 2007, then-candidate Obama faced some criticism for his admission of youthful indiscretions in his book, 'Dreams From My Father.'" In the audio book sound bite that followed, Obama admitted: "I kept playing basketball, attended classes sparingly, drank beer heavily, and tried drugs enthusiastically."

Todd wrapped up the report by pointing out: "...the Romney campaign's been in damage control mode, and late this afternoon, they've been sending out statements from other high school friends of Mitt Romney, sort of serving as character witnesses, saying he was not a mean guy, this is not Mitt Romney's character."

Here is a full transcript of Alexander's May 11 report on Today:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ANN CURRY: Prep school bully? Mitt Romney responds to a report that as a teenager he led a bullying incident of a classmate who later came out as gay. He says he doesn't recall it. But is sorry if anyone was hurt. Could an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago impact the presidential race?

7:08AM ET SEGMENT:

CURRY: Now to presidential politics, and an alleged bullying incident from Mitt Romney's high school days that is making headlines now, nearly 50 years later. He addressed the issue on Thursday. We've got NBC's Peter Alexander in Washington with more on this story. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Ann, good morning to you. If it wasn't already sufficiently clear that nothing is off limits in politics, here's your latest example. This alleged bullying incident first reported by the Washington Post cites five of Romney's prep school classmates, one describing what happened as an "assault." Last night the Romney campaign pushed back, putting out statements from some of Romney's high school friends, calling the characterization of him as a bully absurd, saying Romney, "never had a malicious bone in his body."

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Prep School & The Presidency; Romney Responds to Story of Bullying in High School]

MITT ROMNEY: Give me your vote on Tuesday, give me your vote in November, we're taking back the White House!

ALEXANDER: While Mitt Romney tries to focus on the fall of 2012, he's been forced to respond to claims of bullying dating back to the spring of '65, nearly 50 years ago. When he was a high school senior here at the exclusive Cranbrook school near Detroit.

Several of Romney's former classmates told the Washington Post about what one of them described as a "vicious" incident where Romney allegedly led a group of friends to confront another student, who the Post reports was believed to be gay. And didn't fit in with his bleach-blond hair covering one eye. The article says Romney and his friends, one of them the school's wrestling champion, "tackled" the boy "and pinned him to the ground." And then as the boy began to cry, screaming for help, "Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors."

One of Romney's classmates, Phillip Maxwell, confirmed the story to NBC News, noting the boys grew into "a distinguished group of men" and "we look back at it now and it's a black mark on our own character."

On Thursday, Romney quickly addressed the claims on Fox News. And denied bullying anyone for being gay.

ROMNEY: I had no idea what that individual's sexual orientation might be, going back to the 1960s, that wasn't something that we all discussed or considered. So that's – that's simply just not accurate. I don't recall the incident myself, but I've seen the reports, and not going to argue with that. There's no question but that I did some stupid things when I was in high school. And obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.

ALEXANDER: This controversy has raised another question: Is a presidential candidate's behavior in high school relevant today? Like most everything else in politics, it depends who you ask. One Democratic operative tweeted, "Mitt Romney was intolerant in 1965, assaulting a presumed homosexual with scissors, and he's intolerant today, opposing civil unions and same-sex marriage." But a prominent conservative commentator dismissed its significance, tweeting, "In light of the Post's story, I just don't think I can bring myself to vote for the 17-year-old Mitt Romney for president."

And NBC News isn't naming the student who was allegedly bullied, but, in fact, he died several years ago. Late last night, his sister told NBC News that his portrayal in the Washington Post story is "factually incorrect" and said the family is upset, Ann, that he's being used, in her words, "to further a political agenda."

CURRY: Peter, on that point, can you shed any light about the timing of this? I mean, having this allegation against Mitt Romney come so soon after the President made his announcement about gay marriage.

ALEXANDER: Yeah, a lot of people view the timing as either questionable or suspicious. Of course, the reporting came out just one day after the President said he supported same-sex marriage. Mitt Romney has said he opposes same-sex marriage, referring to it as a "tender and sensitive topic." Nonetheless, a lot of people are asking questions about the exact timing of this. The Post insists this is reporting they've been working on for a while.

CURRY: Alright. Peter Alexander, thanks so much for your reporting this morning.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012electionbias; bully; enemedia; fakebutaccurate; howtostealanelection; jasonblairsyndrome; pravdamedia; romney; smearcampaign; yellowjournalism; zogbyism

1 posted on 05/11/2012 12:30:42 PM PDT by Kevin C
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To: Kevin C

It’s not wether the allegation is true,it’s the seriousness of the allegation.... so said Dan rather re Bush’s flight/vacation records


2 posted on 05/11/2012 12:33:29 PM PDT by stevecmd
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To: Kevin C
Obama admitted: "I kept playing basketball, attended classes sparingly, drank beer heavily, and tried drugs enthusiastically."

Alright! Obama fried his brain. Mitt brought a pair of scissors to a hazing attack which may or may not have succeeded (and it looks like it didn't if the sisters are right).

3 posted on 05/11/2012 12:34:22 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: Kevin C

Fake but accurate


4 posted on 05/11/2012 12:38:11 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Kevin C
In U.S. "journalism" of the 21st century, truth for its own sake is not even a consideration.

This is the Orwellian world of groupthink and newspeak. A "higher truth" prevails (nevermind that it's nothing but untruth).

5 posted on 05/11/2012 12:38:55 PM PDT by Savage Beast ("You can, in fact must, shout fire in a crowded theatre. It just has to be the truth. " J. Goldberg)
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To: Kevin C

Unless he drove drunk, had an accident and left a woman to die in the submerged car who really cares what he did in high school.

Oh wait, the dems don’t even care about that.


6 posted on 05/11/2012 12:40:25 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kevin C

I miss World Weekly news with Bat boy. At least it was more factual than NBC.


7 posted on 05/11/2012 12:40:38 PM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (Some day our schools will teach the difference between "lose" and "loose")
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To: Kevin C
The latest Washington Post entry for the Mary Mapes Fraudulence in Journalism Award
8 posted on 05/11/2012 12:41:07 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets
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To: Savage Beast

There can’t even be exceptions any more that test (the old word is “prove”) the rule. No, history has to be edited to factor out those untidy exceptions to received dogma. This is also why so many insist falsely that “Stand Your Ground” law factored in the Trayvon/Zimmerman altercation. It’s too tempting to rewrite the story.


9 posted on 05/11/2012 12:41:53 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Mitt! You're going to have to try harder than that to be "severely conservative" my friend.)
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To: Kevin C

Sooner or later, the Criminal Media Syndicate, formerly called the Mainstream Media, will p!$$ off every person who still tunes in. It will still be subsidized by the government, but, like Pravda, it will be universally regarded as pure propaganda.


10 posted on 05/11/2012 12:47:28 PM PDT by giotto
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To: Kevin C

a) It was a stupid story to begin with.
b) Its publication literally HOURS after Obama’s gay marriage announcement shows obvious collusion with the Democrats.
c) Its publication mainly gave Obama critics a perfect opportunity to point out how the mainstream media can ferret out minor incidents in the High School life of the Republican candidate, but can’t manage to come up with anything on most of the (fairly recent) adulthood of the current President.
d) Complete fail.


11 posted on 05/11/2012 12:50:40 PM PDT by JennysCool (My hypocrisy goes only so far)
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To: driftdiver

Chuck Todd leaves out the story in Obama’s audio book where he says he screamed, “Leave me alone!”, then pushed a pudgy, dark-skinned girl and made her cry and run away as his buddies rewarded him with a round of laughter. A true hero.


12 posted on 05/11/2012 12:52:16 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: driftdiver
Unless he drove drunk, had an accident and left a woman to die in the submerged car who really cares what he did in high school.

That's a great answer to just about any allegation they throw at him.

13 posted on 05/11/2012 12:55:16 PM PDT by jersey117
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To: Kevin C
So the spineless cowards of the progressive liberati are attempting to do a hatchet job on Romney for being a bully. Forgive me for being a throwback to the stone age, but I'm glad to hear that. Today I have a little bit of respect for him, yesterday I had none.
14 posted on 05/11/2012 12:55:58 PM PDT by yank in the UK ( A liberal mocking Christianity. I asked "why don't you mock Islam?" he replied "Muslims are violent)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

It’s too tempting to rewrite the story.
_____________________________________________________________

I don’t need the story re-written. I don’t much like Romney, but if he he makes fun of queers he moves up a few notches in my book.


15 posted on 05/11/2012 12:59:35 PM PDT by JAKraig (Surely my religion is at least as good as yours)
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To: Kevin C

To the media and Obama.... The truth is a lie.... The lie is the truth..


16 posted on 05/11/2012 1:02:15 PM PDT by baddog 219
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To: Kevin C

At this point one has to wonder if some people in the msm are on the DNC payroll?


17 posted on 05/11/2012 1:03:42 PM PDT by kjo (+)
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To: Kevin C

I expect Romney will get the ‘real man’ vote, the women who love ‘real men’ vote, parents who fear for their children’s future and many conservative black Christians who fear for us all.


18 posted on 05/11/2012 1:11:25 PM PDT by sodpoodle
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To: Kevin C

We’ll see if Brian Williams follows up.


19 posted on 05/11/2012 1:35:58 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Kevin C

Considering this is the kind of sleazy behavior Romney pulled in the primary, I’m not about to cry for Obama-lite Mitt.


20 posted on 05/11/2012 1:50:08 PM PDT by risen_feenix
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To: Kevin C

Yep. It won’t matter if its not true, the MSM will run with it anyway


21 posted on 05/11/2012 1:55:09 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: Savage Beast
The children have taken over.

God help us.

22 posted on 05/11/2012 1:55:31 PM PDT by John 3_19-21 (More voices, more power.)
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To: stevecmd

Every conservative commentator should, on having this issue raised, ask: “If you are so interested in Romney’s high school record, why aren’t you asking why Obama has hid his high school, college records, draft registration, birth, and social security registration.” Then call for Obama to release all records about his past.


23 posted on 05/11/2012 2:02:16 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: FReepers

24 posted on 05/11/2012 2:17:14 PM PDT by tomkat ( FU.baraq <font finger=middle>)
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To: mnehring
Fake but accurate

That's what the victim's family says. I wish spineless Mitt Romney would deny it or own it.

Romney says:

" I don't recall the incident myself, but I've seen the reports, and not going to argue with that. There's no question but that I did some stupid things when I was in high school. And obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it."

I don't know about you, but I distinctly recall that I didn't assault anyone with scissors in high school and I'd argue with any report that said I did. If Romney didn't do it, he should say so. Instead, he said he did stupid things in high school, and apologizes to anyone he hurt, but doesn't recall this particular incident of hurting someone.

Grow some, Mitt. Deny it or own it.

Is he going to weasel-word every answer? Talk about a slow political death during this election period. Deny it or say the story isn't relevant. Don't weasel it even if you're genetically disposed to weasel everything, Mitt.

Obama's a pitiful excuse for a human, but at least he says he tried drugs enthusiastically. He doesn't say "I did a bunch of illegal and questionable things in college, but I don't remember whether that included taking drugs. If it did, I apologize."

Note: I didn't say vote for Obama OR don't vote for Romney. I'm just pointing out the obvious. Mitt's a weasel.

25 posted on 05/11/2012 2:27:21 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: kjo

Do we really have to wonder?


26 posted on 05/11/2012 2:50:33 PM PDT by Freestate316
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To: Kevin C

I’m sure they knew that.

“I think you can lie about any number of things and still be considered an honest person.” — Dan Rather


27 posted on 05/11/2012 2:54:35 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: kjo

The media and DNC have colluded on a number of stories throughout the past several election cycles including the forged National Guard memos and the “culture of corruption” stories about a couple of Republican homosexuals in 2006.

And these same partisan hacks get to moderate every damn debate. A rigged debate is a rigged election.


28 posted on 05/11/2012 2:55:54 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Barack Obama has cut and run from what he called "the right war".)
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To: Kevin C

I rather think that all politicians on our side, when faced with specious accusations should reply simply by dryly quoting the Psalmist, “False witnesses rose up and they laid to my charge things I knew not.”

It would impress their Christian constituents, for the really traditional obliquely identifying the false accusations made against them with the false accusations made against Christ (since the Orthodox and Latins apply that verse to Christ’s Passion) and give no place for opponents to apply the false notion that “defensiveness” (outside of the relationship between therapist and client or spiritual father and confessor) is something to be condemned.


29 posted on 05/11/2012 3:26:53 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda
Headline: Teenage Mitt Romney tackled and cleaned batboy's ears. "He didn't look like us, he didn't fit in."


30 posted on 05/11/2012 3:37:23 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Kevin C
Obama bullied a little girl.
31 posted on 05/11/2012 3:41:25 PM PDT by tobyhill (Conservatives are proud of themselves, Liberals lie about themselves)
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To: a fool in paradise

Brietbart was the only guy out there blowing the whistle...and he’s dead.

Just saying.


32 posted on 05/12/2012 6:06:35 AM PDT by kjo (+)
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