Last week, the Washington Post produced a front-page story intended to shock readers with the news of Mitt Romney leading fellow preppies in cutting the bleach-blond hair of a student at their school. The incident in question took place in 1965, some 47 years ago. The news that Mitt Romney did dumb things in high school was played as if it was most revealing. But, unconnected to anything else, it leaves the reader puzzled. Why this story? Why now?
Liberal commentators are quick to respond: It's all part of the narrative (their favorite word, by the way). And the narrative is of an unfeeling, bullying, brash young man.
Okay. Let's say it's relevant. Here are some of the stories the Post did not think relevant.
Item: Bill Clinton as a graduate student at Oxford University spent a week in the home of Bedrich and Jirina Kopold in Prague. Early in 1970, Clinton was the guest of two members of the Czech Communist Party Central Committee. These were not even "liberal" reform-minded Czech backers of ousted leader Anton Dubček. That father of the "Prague Spring" of 1968 had tried to bring about "Communism with a human face."
He failed. After Soviet tanks rolled through Prague, Dubček wound up in chains in Moscow. There, a drunken Brezhnev sneered and jeered at Dubček and some of his fellow chained Communist brothers because they had soiled themselves. This wasn't the Kopold team, however. Bedrich and Jirina were the hard-line Stalinists who demanded the Soviet tanks come in and crush these first shoots of freedom sprouting up in Wenceslas Square. These were Bill Clinton's hosts, the parents of his fellow Oxonian, Jan Kopold. In 1970, if you were a Czech, you had to toe the line for Moscow in order to be allowed to go to graduate school outside the country. Jan Kopold and his parents passed the KGB's litmus test.
Item: John Kerry was a leader of the anti-war faction in the U.S. He testified in 1971 before Sen. J. William Fulbright's Foreign Relations Committee, wearing half of his uniform and all of his medals. Kerry charged his fellow soldiers with war crimes and said they violated the Geneva Conventions. This was after he met with North Vietnamese Communist in 1970 in Paris. The Post did cover this story, but only on page A8, and only in the context of reporting on a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad attacking Kerry.
Did anyone ask Kerry if he had pressed the North Vietnamese to observe the Geneva Convention for treatment of POWs? At the time Kerry was chatting with them, we now know, our POWs were undergoing torture routinely in Hanoi. Did Kerry make any demands of the Communist enemies of his country? If so, where are his contemporary notes? The Post apparently doesn't consider this news you need to know. Since 1798, it has been against federal law (the Logan Act) for private citizens to negotiate with foreign powers. Did Kerry negotiate or not? We may never know.
Item: In April 1983, Columbia student Barack Obama attended the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City. His presence there is documented. He admits as much in Dreams from My Father. The scholars at the conference were all Marxists and the meeting was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Marx's death. Obama notes that he consciously sought out "radicals" among the professors and students he studied with. "Radicals' were not radical environmentalists or radical pro-lifers or radical right wingers. The radicals he consorted with were almost all Marxists, like Frank Marshall Davis, his mentor.
For most of the time after World War II, such associations would have prevented Clinton, Kerry and Obama from receiving a security clearance to see classified documents. The fact is now that national security safeguards are being compromised daily. These are not just WikiLeaks. The identification of SEAL Team Six, the disclosure by President Obama of the number of U.S. atomic weapons (5,113) and the most recent leaks about how we infiltrated al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are examples of a serious breakdown in safeguarding national security.
Since Marxists were responsible for 100 million deaths in the past century and since Communist China, North Korea and Cuba continue to kill their opponents, these associations and activities by major contenders for the White House ought to have been considered newsworthy. To be sure, many leftists profess Marx's doctrines without endorsing the violence and oppression that always seem to accompany Marxist states.
Shouldn't Americans have been advised to question these men on how they view Marxism?
Yet none of these background stories on Clinton, Kerry or Obama was splashed across the front page of the Washington Post. Chances are the editors of the Post will not even be questioned about their judgment of what is newsworthy. So, when you see such stories in the hometown newspaper of our nation's capital, you can only say: consider the source.
Follow Ken Blackwell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kenblackwell