Thursday, May 10, 2012

Was John Lauber Really Gay?

I don't know.

There's so much that's utterly bogus about this story is hard to begin. But first off, was this guy John Lauber really gay? That's an important question, since the story is not just about alleged bullying, but "anti-gay" bullying --- and it comes the day after President Obama endorsed gay marriage. It's ridiculously coincidental, and hopelessly redundant to have to point it out, but this is the meme that's been dominating the news today. And of course, it's viciously unfair to Mitt Romney, which is the point. But all's fair in love and war, so what can you do, I guess?

Here's the story, from the Washington Post, "Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents." And note the tentative thesis at the introduction:
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
Look, I read the article. I didn't want to because it's 5,000 words long and equally short on political significance. Until the very last couple of paragraphs, the article states only that Lauber is "presumed" to be gay. Ben Shapiro takes a look at that, "Washington Post Disgraces Itself By Targeting Romney's 'Anti-Gay' High School Story":
Today, the Washington Post ran an egregious hit piece about Mitt Romney … circa 1965. Seriously. They dug up some of his old classmates, who “mostly lean Democratic,” to tell tales of his “vicious” assault on a student, John Lauber, who had been mocked for his “presumed homosexuality.” What happened? Romney saw the student wearing bleach-blonde hair over his eye, and proceeded to lead a “prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. [Fellow classmate Matthew] Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”

Now, there’s not much to this story. It sounds more like Romney didn’t like Lauber’s hair than that he wanted to bug Lauber for supposedly being gay. In fact, that’s a conclusion drawn by the Post without asking Romney what was going through his head. Why the Post considers certain types of hairstyles evidence of homosexuality is left unsaid.

Beyond that, the timing of the story is obviously designed to protect President Barack Obama, who just yesterday said that he would embrace same-sex marriage. The narrative from the media therefore became: Obama is fine with gays, Romney hates them. Since they had zero evidence that Romney has any antipathy toward homosexuals, they had to dig up an incident nearly 50 years ago, invest it with anti-gay rage, and print it as fact.

This is character assassination of the worst kind. It doesn’t go to Romney’s deeply-held beliefs and positions. It doesn’t show how he was defined as a young man. It’s just an old prank brought up and infused with nastiness, sans evidence, in order to turn Romney into a jerk in the public eye.
Well, yeah.

But again, it's not until the end of the piece that we learn that Lauber "came out as gay to his family and close friends." The rest of the report notes repeatedly that Lauber's homosexuality was presumed, or that the students just know "there was homosexuality there..." That's it. They just knew it. And no one at the report is interviewed with actual evidence of Lauber's homosexuality. So again, it's not just about bullying, which is bad. It's about "anti-gay" bullying --- which is the worst offense imaginable, or so we're led to believe.

And we're also led to believe that this guy Lauber was gay. He's dead now, passed away in 2004. So there's no interviewing him, conveniently.

And note at the clip: Romney says that whether someone was "homosexual, that was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case."

More from The Right Sphere, "Washington Post Hit Piece On Romney… Embellished?" (via Instapundit).

Added: From The American Pundit, "Whoa: Family of Romney’s Alleged Bullying “Victim” Says Story Inaccurate, They’re Disgusted by WaPo" (via Instapundit).

And at ABC News, "Sister of Alleged Romney Target Has ‘No Knowledge’ of Any Bullying Incident." Plus, from Draw and Strike, "Washington Post Caught Making Sh!t Up Again."