The Hollywood Reporter took a break this week from publishing glowing profiles of celebrities like disgraced former anchor Charlie Rose to take a big, ugly swing at White House aide Stephen Miller.
You may want to sit down for this, but the Hollywood Reporter's Wednesday story alleges that Miller was a messy loner when he was a child. They have the dirt on him from ... third grade. Whoa, if true.
The report, titled “Stephen Miller's Third-Grade Teacher: He Was a ‘Loner’ and Ate Glue,” is as stupid and nasty as it sounds. It’s just gossip regarding what Miller was like as an 8-year-old boy.
The entire story is a just a transcription of remarks by Nikki Fiske, who taught Miller at Santa Monica's Franklin Elementary School in the early 1990s. She said:
I can still picture him sitting in my classroom.
Do you remember that character in Peanuts, the one called Pig Pen, with the dust cloud and crumbs flying all around him? That was Stephen Miller at 8. I was always trying to get him to clean up his desk — he always had stuff mashed up in there. He was a strange dude. I remember he would take a bottle of glue — we didn't have glue sticks in those days — and he would pour the glue on his arm, let it dry, peel it off and then eat it.
I remember being concerned about him — not academically. He was OK with that, though I could never read his handwriting. But he had such strange personal habits. He was a loner and isolated and off by himself all the time.
At the end of the year, I wrote all my concerns — and I had a lot of them — in his school record. When the school principal had a conference with Stephen's parents, the parents were horrified. So the principal took some white-out and blanked out all my comments. I wish I could remember what I wrote, but this was 25 years ago. I've taught a lot of third-graders since then. Of course, Stephen wasn't political then — it wasn't until later that he started to make waves.
That’s it. That’s the entire story. The Hollywood Reporter thought this was good enough to publish. Competing newsrooms, including Mashable, SPIN, the Cut, Splinter News, the Root, the Daily Mail, and Raw Story, thought the same.
What public interest did this serve? Where is the news value? The revelation that Miller may have been a lonely and sad child when he was in third grade? Great scoop, fellas.
The real takeaway from this story is that Fiske sounds like a real piece of trash. What kind of teacher goes to an entertainment newspaper with gossip about an 8-year-old boy? Hell, forget that she’s a teacher. What kind of human being does that?
I didn’t think it was possible, but they found a way to make the least sympathetic member of the Trump administration a sympathetic character.