When, in the greatest poem written between the publication of Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine Comedy, the wormy Unferth reminds Beowulf of his youthful braggadocio, the eponymous hero questions his accuser’s sobriety, noting that he an his friend Breca made those errors of judgment, “being but boys in our time of youth” (my translation).
Playing Unferth’s part, the Washington Post, Ed Morrissey reports, “Despite demonstrating zero curiosity over Barack Obama’s college transcripts to check on just how brilliant the academic actually was, the Post now has a big expose on Mitt Romney’s high school career as … a practical joker“. And following the great Geatish hero’s lead, Romney has apologized, acknowledging his youth: “Back in high school,” he said in a radio interview, “I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that” (via Ed).
Asking if “a decades old high school story is really ‘news’,” Jennifer Rubin offers:
When long investigative pieces on Obama’s last three years (i.e. his presidency) start appearing on the front pages of newspapers, maybe the press has justification for going back decades to explore his opponent’s childhood. But so long as gobs of potential, substantive stories on Obama go unreported, you have to wonder why time and resources are spent on his opponent’s high school years. No wonder conservatives are suspicion of mainstream media.
Just as Beowulf questioned Unferth’s competence to ask question questions, so do we wonder at the Post’s competence to cover presidential elections in an even-handed manner.
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty wonders about the absence of comparable Post coverage on Obama’s youthful indiscretions:
The fact that we see this all-out inspection of Romney’s teen years, with almost nothing equivalent four years ago, undoubtedly explains why “#ObamaTeenYears” is trending on Twitter. After all, this event occurred roughly two to four years before Barack Obama ate a dog, and about a decade before young Barack Obama used cocaine. If those events of youth are considered irrelevant to evaluating the presidential choice before Americans, it’s unclear why a scene out of Dead Poets Society should warrant such extensive coverage from the Post.
Do wonder when they’ll start asking Obama about his failure to release his college transcripts.