Sister of Alleged Romney Bullying Target Starting to Dispute Parts of Washington Post Story
First there was the story, then the controversy surrounding the story, and now a new controversy about the controversy surrounding the story. ABC News:
The older sister of Mitt Romney’s former high school classmate said she has no knowledge of any bullying incident involving her brother and the GOP presidential candidate.
Betsy Lauber, one of John Lauber’s three sisters, spoke with ABC News Tuesday night regarding the accuracy of the story.
“The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family,” she said.
Romney has since apologized for what he said were “pranks” in high school but has said he doesn’t remember the specific event.
Romney said “homosexuality was the furthest thing from his mind” when it came to the jokes he played on classmates.
“Even if it did happen, John probably wouldn’t have said anything,” Christine Lauber said.
She added she and her sisters will likely put out a statement later via a family attorney.
“If he were still alive today, he would be furious [about the story],” she said with tears in her eyes.
The Washington Post contacted and quoted both Christine and Betsy Lauber in their original story.
John Lauber died of liver cancer in 2004, according to the Washington Post.
My earlier post was wrong: this story WILL have legs.
It sounds like the next development will be whatever the family says being pitted against the five sources the Washington Post used in its story. As I noted in my earlier post, when I worked on newspapers in Wichita and San Diego, and even on some of the freelance reporting I did from India and Spain in the 70s for the old Chicago Daily News and the Christian Science Monitor, on something extremely controversial editors would ask if you had several independent sources to confirm an allegation. The Post had FIVE. If you ask working journalists, most will tell you that editors require confirming sources (papers became extra vigilant after the Washington Post’s Janet Cooke “Jimmy’s World” fiasco in 1980).
This will then boil down to partisans touting the version that promotes their political interests and — as usual — other readers and Americans making up their mind as they watch this newest twist unfold.
It will also mean the media will be looking at Romney’s record more than ever (remember the way Obama was vetted when he was new on the national scene with Reverend Wright and the visits to the schools he had attended overseas as a boy). This kind of scrutiny is normal.
ABC News has been doing its own aggressive reporting on this story as well. One report quoted a former classmate of Romney as saying his behavior as a student was “evil” and like “Lord of the Flies.”
This story will likely go on for a while…….