The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz today publishes a wonderfully told tale of the practical jokes/bullying ways of Mitt Romney circa his boarding-school years. The story begins with a chilling tale of a young Romney leading some schoolmates in forcibly cutting the hair of a student who was “presumed” to be gay.
In rounding up the news, the New York Times’ Michael D. Shear writes:
The account is likely to revive questions about how much of a candidate’s background is fair game in an election, given Mr. Romney’s age at the time. The episode in question happened almost 50 years ago, and there have been no recent accounts about bullying behavior by Mr. Romney.
I’m not seeing a three-day Poynter.org seminar on this one. The facts that Horowitz nails down, among others, are that Romney as a high-school senior participated in the physical bullying of another kid. That episode, and the culture of the school where it went down, make valuable additions to Romney’s biography.
That there have been no “recent accounts” of bullying behavior by the presidential candidate couldn’t be more irrelevant to the journalistic formulation here. The long-ago events are relevant in part because they allow us to see how Romney looks at his past. He apologized this morning for activities that “might have gone too far.”