Fox News' senior political analyst on Sunday dismissed a Washington Post story which revealed that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had assaulted a gay classmate in 1965.
"Look, this was not a prank," Brit Hume admitted. "This was hazing and it was mean. There was no doubt about it and I don't have any doubt about the basic truth of the story. The problem with the story dating from high school was that it was the utter failure of the Post to connect it to anything else in Romney's life or career."
"If it were a story that this is where you get the first example of the mean streak that Romney has shown or the tendency to take advantage of people who are in a weaker position -- there was nothing," he added. "I think it was much ado about not very much."
In an report published by the Post last week, Matthew Friedemann, who described himself as a “close” friend when Romney attended the prestigious Cranbrook School in 1965, said that the future Massachusetts governor picked on John Lauber, "a soft-spoken" gay student, for his long bleached-blonde hair.
“Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair,” the Post's Jason Horowitz wrote. “Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”
Hume blasted editors at the paper for thinking the story was a "big deal."
"You have to wonder what kind of news judgement these people have if you really think that?" the Fox News contributor opined. "The story, if it were played on an inside page at much less length, might have been appropriate -- the way it was handled, ridiculous."
"This was 5,000 words of nothing," Wall Street Journal editor Paul Gigot agreed. "It was about his high school years. 'Oh, he went to an elite prep school. Oh, he was a happy-go-lucky guy. He was a leader of the prankster group.' So what?"