Accuracy in Media


At 33, Stephen Miller has already worked for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and is now one of President Trump’s top advisers.

But when he was 8 years old, he was a mess of a kid who ate glue, had few friends and troubled his teacher so much she documented it in an end-of-year assessment. Now, 25 years later, she spilled it to the Hollywood Reporter.

The teacher has been suspended while the school district in Santa Monica, Calif., looks to see if any rules or policies were violated by the teacher releasing personal information about a student to a media outlet.

But the mainstream media took the opportunity to bash Miller.

HuffPost headlined its story: “Stephen Miller’s 3rd Grade Teacher Calls Him ‘A Strange Dude’ Who Ate Glue,” with a subhead that read: “Donald Trump’s senior political adviser once shared a lot of similarities with Pig-Pen from ‘Peanuts,’ his former teacher said.”

“Senior White House adviser may be President Donald Trump’s top guy on immigration, but his third-grade teacher thinks of him in other terms,” Huffington Post’s David Moye wrote. “Nikki Fiske, who taught Miller 25 years ago when he attended Franklin Elementary in Santa Monica, Calif., said in The Hollwyood Reporter that her former student was ‘a strange dude’ with bizarre habits.”

It then used a quote from the Hollywood Reporter story in which the teacher said, “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 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.”

The teacher said Miller had no academic problems other than sloppy handwriting, but she worried about him socially because “’he had such strange personal habits’ and was ‘isolated and off by himself all the time.’”

She said there is no record of this because the principal obscured her comments about Miller being a “strange dude” with Wite-Out after Miller’s parents complained.

The story then proceeded to point out that, like Kanye West, Miller must be a little crazy to do the work he does.

“Several people from Miller’s life have recently expressed far more substantial concerns about him than his former teacher, decrying his anti-immigrant and nativist policies in particular,” Moye wrote. “As one of the youngest and arguably most influential advisers to President Donald Trump, Miller is behind some of the administration’s most notorious and racist policies, including the travel ban on people from mostly Muslim-majority countries and the separation of undocumented families at the border.”

Moye pointed to Miller’s former rabbi, who said the “‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy Miller helped to craft” was “‘completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism, Jewish law and Jewish values” – and to his uncle, a retired neuropsychologist who said Miller “has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

Mashable cheered the “massive shade [thrown] at the political adviser,” calling it “probably the best thing you’ll read today” and went on to say, “Can you even fathom being so disliked that your third-grade teacher wants to roast you on a national level?”

Spin wrote that Miller’s teacher “came forward to contribute more insight into the drowsy White House senior adviser’s supervillain origin story” – that insight being that “the architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies was a loner who used to eat glue. Shocking.”

The Los Angeles Times at least cast a little light on the woman who was casting the shade.

“Fiske, 72, is a registered Democrat who, based on her Facebook account, supports causes associated with liberals and progressives, such as gun control and halting the killing of dogs for meat in China.”

Photo by A.Davey




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