The Mainstream Media's Treatment of Obama's and Romney's Grades, Compared

The Mainstream Media's Treatment of Obama's and Romney's Grades, Compared

It’s the bombshell you’ve been waiting for: Mitt Romney’s 9th grade high school grades, delivered by the Boston Globe. Or not.

Yes, while the mainstream media continues to insist that Romney’s youth as a prep school boy in Michigan is all-important to his character and so on, it continues to conceal Barack Obama’s grades, asking us to take it on faith that Obama is a genius, even though the evidence of his presidency suggests anything but

Perhaps that is because the mainstream media knows that there are many more questions than answers surrounding Obama’s grades, and the classes he took, than they have let on. Let’s answer a few of them now.  

Breitbart News has already revealed that Obama was accepted into Columbia in one of the easiest years to gain access in the modern history of the college, that his SAT scores may well have been lower than George W. Bush’s, and that the “transfer program” between Columbia and Occidental that Obama writes of in Dreams From My Father simply didn’t exist.

What we have not yet released is that Obama may very well have been accepted into Columbia without revealing his grades at all.

On March 11, 1981, Occidental College’s faculty voted to reestablish GPAs on transcripts. By then, Obama had already filled out an application to transfer to Columbia, meaning he may very well have transferred to Columbia without having to reveal his freshmen and sophomore grades. 

“GPAs were dropped from student transcripts during the late 1960s, in an effort to de-emphasis grades and stress learning for its own sake,” wrote Arpie Balekjian in the student newspaper, The Occidental. (Arpie Balekjian, “Faculty Reestablishes GPAs on Transcripts,” The Occidental, March 13, 1981) 

Although the registrar at the time did compute GPAs for students applying for medical school and graduate school, transfers appear not to have needed specifying.  A source from Obama’s Occidental days confirms that the old policy was in effect when Obama transferred.

David Maraniss, writing in Barack Obama: The Story, quotes Obama as saying that he had a B+ average, which is hardly Columbia material. Might there be more to the story? We don’t know because those with access–David Maraniss, David Remnick, Jon Meacham, among others–haven’t bothered to ask.

They also never bothered to ask about how Obama, who did not graduate Columbia with honors, was accepted by Harvard Law School. His election to the Harvard Law Review won him fame, and to some, showed evidence of his brilliance, even though all it showed is that he was elected. (Obama may very well have not been admitted to the Harvard Law Review on merit, but through its affirmative action program, as Obama himself noted. He did so in writing to a fellow student who had criticized the policy in the pages of the Harvard Law Record. His election to the Harvard Law Review came only after other law reviews had already had black editors. So concerned with diversity was the Review that it even flirted with abolishing grade-based selection entirely in 1996.)

When mentioning Obama’s stint as editor of the law review fails to impress, Obama’s friends point to his Latin honors. Obama graduated magna cum laude. But a little digging reveals that Obama’s magna cum laude wouldn’t actually be magna cum laude today. The system produced classes where only one-third of the class did not receive honors. For the class of ’95, a whopping 71.3 percent of the student body graduated with honors, doubling the number of students graduating with honors since 1972 and tripling the numbers receiving magna cum laude. While receiving magna cum laude is impressive, it’s a lot less impressive if one in six students win it.

That’s why the Harvard Law faculty voted overwhelmingly to make it harder to graduate with honors. In effect, the policy cut the numbers of students graduating with honors in half. Under the old system, all students had to do was reach a GPA cutoff. Given the stiff competition, professors felt pressure to inflate the grades of their favorite students. Under the new system, only the top ten percent of students received magna cum laude.  (Victoria Kuohung, “Class of ’99 May Find Honors Harder to Earn,” Harvard Law Record, February 16, 1996).

Would Obama have made the cut? We don’t know. Instead, we know what Romney’s high school grades were.

And this from the Boston Globe. You’d think that the Globe, based in Boston, would be more interested in Obama’s grades from Harvard Law School, which is nearby in Cambridge, than it is in Romney’s high school grades in Michigan, but the Globe gave up any pretensions of honest reporting long ago. 


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