Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.
— Now that the presidential campaign has started in earnest, Democrats plan to portray Mitt Romney as a detached rich guy who comes across as less than human.
But when my Democratic friends hear a story that the media have suppressed showing Romney’s human side, many say it could swing their vote to the former Massachusetts governor.
|The media has largely ignored Romney's human side.
The story goes back to July 1996 when the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner in Romney’s new venture capital firm Bain Capital, disappeared. As it turned out, Melissa Gay had attended a rave party in New York City and had become high on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was.
Romney swung into action. He closed down the entire firm in Boston and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to try to find Gay’s daughter.
Romney set up a command center in a conference room at the LaGuardia Marriott. He hired a private detective firm to help with the search and established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the New York City Police Department. He called everyone Bain did business with in New York and asked them to help his company find their friend’s missing daughter.
The company’s accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and its law firm put up posters on street poles with a photo of the missing teenager. Cashiers at Duane Reade Pharmacies, which Bain Capital owned, stashed fliers in the bag of each shopper.
Romney and others from Bain Capital trudged through New York, including Central Park, and talked with everyone they could — prostitutes, drug addicts — who may have seen her. They made rounds at the local nightclubs at 3 a.m., hoping someone somewhere could identify her.
The hunt made the local evening news. Television cameras showed photos of the girl and video of investment banker types in three-piece suits roaming through Central Park.
Two days after Romney began the crusade, a teenage boy that Melissa was with phoned in. He asked if there was a reward, then got nervous and quickly hung up. The police traced the call to a home in Montville Township, N.J.
Gay’s daughter, when they found her in the basement of that home, was shivering through detox after a massive dose of ecstasy. Doctors later told Gay that Melissa probably would not have lasted another day.
“It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die,” Gay says. adding of Romney’s intervention, “I’m not sure we would have gotten her back without him.”
If Romney’s effort was amazing, so has been the mainstream media’s lack of interest in the story. When writing a profile of Romney for Newsmax magazine, I noticed seven sentences on the rescue buried near the end of a 4,665-word Boston Globe article from 2002.
When interviewing Romney in Boston for the cover story headlined “Romney to the Rescue,” I asked him for the details. Modest man that he is, he would not talk about the rescue for the record. But I was able to get the full story for the April 2007 issue of the magazine.
Aside from Romney’s humanity, the story demonstrates his character and competence. You would think that any profile of Romney would include the tale. In fact, the mainstream media have almost universally ignored it. When the media have mentioned the story, it’s usually in a short item about an ad focusing on the rescue by Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super PAC.
The press’ lack of interest in a story that could potentially swing many voters to Romney is as shocking as was the media’s blackout of Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. For more than a year during the 2008 campaign, the media would not run a story about the fact that Wright had been Obama’s minister and self-described mentor and sounding board for 20 years.
As noted in my story "Media Blackout on Rev. Wright Started in 2007,"
for three months the media ignored Newsmax stories documenting the relationship and reporting Wright’s outrageous claims about America.
According to a Hillary Clinton aide quoted in David Remnick’s “The Ridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” if the media had run the Wright story just two months earlier, Obama’s candidacy “would have been over.”
In both cases, the media chose their favorites and covered up the truth in an effort to swing the election to Obama. No wonder journalists today are held in as high regard as used car salesmen.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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