Today, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition host David Greene and NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro discussed the Washington Post‘s sensational accusations that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney had bullied fellow high school students in the 1960s for being “simply different.” Shapiro did not mention any of the numerous questions raised about the Post‘s report, but did cite the “It Gets Better” campaign of White House-endorsed bully Dan Savage in explaining why reports of Romney’s high school behavior should be important:
You know, we’re in something of an anti-bullying moment in America right now, between the “It Gets Better” campaign, the documentary called Bully, and the timing of this story is interesting, because it was published the day after Romney’s opponent, Barack Obama, expressed support for gay marriage.
The “It Gets Better” campaign is led by sex columnist Dan Savage, who bullied Christian high school students while speaking last month at the National High School Journalism Conference, calling the Bible “bullshit” and mocking students who left in protest as “pansy-assed.” The White House has supported Savage’s anti-bullying campaign, but has not questioned or condemn his bullying and humiliation of high school students who had no way to respond.
Neither Shapiro nor Greene mentioned the contemporary bullying–caught on video–of the “It Gets Better” leader. Nor did they, question the timing of the Romney story or its possible coordination with the Obama campaign’s message; they merely cited the fortuitous timing as evidence of the story’s immense relevance.
In case listeners did not understand the intended effect of the NPR report, Shapiro spelled out the “damaging narrative” of “the privileged son of a powerful family who used his power against people who were relatively defenseless.” He made no mention of President Barack Obama’s own self-admitted past of bullying others while in school.
There’s a word for using taxpayer funding to repeat unsubstantiated, contested accusations against someone, citing disreputable sources and questionable reports sown by their enemies as fact, in order to create the worst, most “damaging narrative” possible: