By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

All known facts

If your heart sank this morning when you encountered part one of the Globe’s seven-day, all-known-facts package on Mitt Romney, imagine how we felt at Media Nation Central. After all, you don’t have to read it. I do. And though today’s nearly-5,000-word entry, by Neil Swidey and Michael Paulson, is surprisingly sprightly, the purpose of such presidential profiles is strictly defense: by next Saturday, if the Globe has done its job, there won’t be a single Mitt tidbit for the national media to pick up on that the Globe didn’t have first.

Online, what’s notable is how far the Globe has come since its big John Kerry special of a few years ago. I can no longer find the Kerry stuff in order to make a direct comparison, but the Romney package strikes me as far richer, with a Web-only Paulson story on young Romney’s near-fatal car accident in France, where he was a Mormon missionary; an interactive Google map of France; a Michael Kranish piece on Romney’s draft deferral; a slew of photos and documents, even one of Romney’s report cards (PDF); and several videos, including this fairly creepy look at how Romney’s appearance has changed over the years. Given this cynical foolishness, I especially enjoyed a video of Romney speaking French.

Just remember: Packages like this are meant more to be admired than read. I’ll be reading. And if find anything startling, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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  1. mike_b1

    As a young man, Mitt gets in car wreck, passenger killed. Circumstances are a bit murky. Mitt walks away without a blemish to his reputation.Wonder why Ted Kennedy isn’t given the same treatment?Remember The Omen trilogy? Mitt is seeming more and more like Damien Thorn.

  2. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    It turns out it’s Willard Mitt.

  3. Anonymous

    well dan if i had to read this much about romney over a week’s time i would require a variety of purgatives and colonics applied by some kind of aztec tribal medicine man to recover. bon voyage.

  4. Rick in Duxbury

    Mike,What exactly did you find “murky”? Other than the possible question of seat belt use, (remember the year, now), what would you have had Romney do differently? If you equate being the victim of a head-on collision from a wrong-lane, passing car and the Senator’s Dike Bridge activities at Chappaquiddick, you are out of your mind. The only “murky” thing here is the desperate attempts at moral equivalence by people who won’t debate Romney on the merits. They should go back to handing out beach sandals.

  5. Anonymous

    “[D]ebate Romney on the merits”??? Rick, please enlighten us all – what exactly are his merits?

  6. Man who's feeling dumber than usual

    Dan, I feel like I should know this…but why would my heart sink when I encountered Romney’s fact-package in the Globe?Just because we know it’ll be dreadfully boring?Seriously…I really don’t know.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Sometimes my attempts at humor can be a little obscure. Just the sheer length of it — that’s all. If every installment is 5,000 words, well, that’s half a book by the end of the week.

  8. Anonymous

    Even so, the writing and the astounding level of research makes it a great read so far.(Although I agree with Dan’s assessment that the morphing Romney head is fairly creepy)This is what the Globe can do when they apply their considerable talents. Imagine if they channeled such abilities toward local coverage and breaking news. But the Globe could barely fill out an entire story on last night’s killing of a little boy in Dorchester …

  9. Anonymous

    Mike B1 – having police a the scene of an accident, instead of a family lawyer, tends to remove murkiness. As does the existance of living survivors of said accident, other than the driver in question. Perhaps that’s why the Senator was never accorded the same treatment – he walked away to begin a cover up, while Mitt left in an ambulance.

  10. Rick in Duxbury

    10:09,Well, for one thing, despite how strange most people find it, he uses his own name. Beyond that, I suspect your mind is pretty much made up.

  11. Anonymous

    Dan, my heart sank, too. The very idea that this is what I’m going to see every morning at dawn when I step outside to get the paper for the next week is truly demoralizing. And I have no intention of reading any of it.

  12. mike_b1

    Yeah, I’m sure that the story we got is exactly how it all happened. Were there police at Romney’s accident? Or were reports filed afterward? The Mormons, by Romney’s own admission, were hardly welcome in the predominantly Catholic France. The LDS Church — which of course, never hides the facts — had every incentive to go to great lengths to cover up possible wrongdoings on the part of the son of a prominent member. And what influence did Governor George Romney have over the proceedings?Doesn’t seem like any of this is as cut and dry as Mitt’s hair.

  13. Anonymous

    Ok, I’ll admit I don’t know what you two are going back and forth about. The point I want to make is, it shouldn’t take something scandalous in his past to sink Romney. He is little more than a 2-dimensional cardboard cutout.

  14. Anonymous

    Does anyone else remember Mitt’s commercials during his gubernatorial run? There was one where he talks about picking up his future wife in an AMC and being embarrassed by it. Knowing that Mitt’s father was head of AMC at the time changes the tale from that of a regular guy with a shitty car to the overprivileged dissembler we’ve come to know and loathe.Along similar lines, gotta love the Republicans complaining about people showing up with flipflops at Mitt events. NOW it’s childish?

  15. mike_b1

    anon 5:05, you’re right. And even without a scandal, it won’t matter. What Mitt doesn’t get is a Republican can win running as he did in Mass. But a Republican can’t win that way in a national campaign. Mitt has won his last election.

  16. R. Scott Buchanan

    Rick,Of course our minds are made up. The man was the governor of the commonwealth for four years and did his darndest to be our senator before that. We know what he’s about. How on earth is it possible for any sentient beings in Massachusetts to have avoided making up their minds?

  17. man who's feeling dumber than usual

    Just the sheer length of it — that’s all. If every installment is 5,000 words, well, that’s half a book by the end of the week.Oy, I see your point. I think I’ll pass…my brain would crash from GIGO if I tried to read that much about Romney.And don’t apologize for obscure humor, my wife yells at me for the same thing all the time. 🙂

  18. Anonymous

    So, Rick, that’s your full name? Because I looked up “in Duxbury” in the phone book and didn’t find any Richards or Ricks.Anyway, his name and DOB are about the only “real” things about him.

  19. Rick in Duxbury

    4:51;I was kinda wondering where all the pre-election spleen went. Good to see angry leftists again feeling their oats and railing against those nasty conservatives left in MA, (both of us). Yeah, that’s accomplished a lot so far. Let me guess, everything wrong in 2009 will still be Mitt’s fault, right?

  20. Anonymous

    Mr. in duxbury,You don’t have to be a “leftist” or even left-of-center to have serious qualms about Romney. That’s how you see this, left vs. right? A real conservative would not have run the way he did in ’94 and 2000, ya think?

  21. Anonymous

    I wonder what the editors were thinking when they parodically named the series “The Making of Mitt Romney.” Were they intentionally inviting us to entertain certain obvious variations – Making Up Mitt Romney, The Manufacturing of Mitt Romeny, The Branding of Mitt Romney?And how many of us realized Mitt was a made man?

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