The Washington Post has a story up today that reports on an awfully mean prank Mitt Romney played on a classmate when he was in high school.
The quick version: Romney saw a student with "presumed homosexuality", sporting bleached hair that was probably pretty out-of-place at an elite prep school in the 1960's.
Romney reportedly said to his classmates "He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!"
A few days later, Romney and his friends took the student to a schoolroom, pinned him down, and Mitt cut his hair.
Five students recalled the incident, most of them "lean Democratic" and one volunteered for Obama in 2008.
Now.... undoubtedly, if true, this was a very mean, bad, awful case of bullying.
But I don't think it's what the author tries to pass it off as.
The reporter makes a big point of the victim's sexuality throughout, and implicitly seems to link it to Romney's presumed biases.
There are minor red flags about the dubious link throughout -- the first being that the author, who later confirms the victim was homosexual -- writes about the prank through the lens of the victim's "presumed homosexuality."
Nowhere does it say the students presumed that he was gay. They might have, but you can't say that because he was an outcast with bleached hair, people presumed he was gay.
That's a huge presumption the author is making on behalf of Romney.
Even if the sources and witnesses said they assumed the victim was gay, it's unfair to say that Romney himself did and that's a very serious presumption of someone's thoughts and probably shouldn't be in a report like this.
The second red flag comes in this passage.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann
That word "incensed" is so loaded.
It implies hatred, anger, and rage, and that implies that Romney carried a deep loathing of behavior like that.
If you accept the rest of the article -- that Mitt was a prankster -- this particular one fits perfectly with the idea of Mitt as Prankster; not Mitt as Hater of Gay People.
Was he "incensed" at every person he played a prank on?
In reality, this sounds more like mean bullying you'd get from a prep school in Scent of a Woman.
That makes it worthy of report, but the author goes much further and questionably weaves a narrative about the victim's sexuality and Romney's reported rage on a fashion decision.