Barbaro watch: New York Times' latest gift to Trump!

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016

Debasing encounter debunked:
Four years ago, Michael Barbaro wrote the New York Times' front-page profile of Candidate Romney's hairdresser.

You might have thought it couldn't get dumber. Thinking that, you'd have been wrong.

Yesterday, Barbaro was back on the Times' front page. This time, he was in charge of the Candidate Trump "debasing experience" watch.

The Times had chronicled Candidate Trump's long history of demeaning behavior toward women. They opened their report with the incident detailed below, their apparent top example.

That opening sentence is a bit slick. Be very, very careful:
BARBARO (5/15/16): Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.

"Donald was having a pool party at Mar-a-Lago. There were about 50 models and 30 men. There were girls in the pools, splashing around. For some reason Donald seemed a little smitten with me. He just started talking to me and nobody else.

"He suddenly took me by the hand, and he started to show me around the mansion. He asked me if I had a swimsuit with me. I said no. I hadn't intended to swim. He took me into a room and opened drawers and asked me to put on a swimsuit."
—Rowanne Brewer Lane, former companion

Ms. Brewer Lane, at the time a 26-year-old model, did as Mr. Trump asked. ''I went into the bathroom and tried one on,'' she recalled. It was a bikini. ''I came out, and he said, 'Wow.' ''

Mr. Trump, then 44 and in the midst of his first divorce, decided to show her off to the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla.

''He brought me out to the pool and said, 'That is a stunning Trump girl, isn't it?' '' Ms. Brewer Lane said.
That's the way the shocking account began. Warning:

You'll note that Brewer Lane (Trump's "former companion") hasn't been quoted saying she found any of this inappropriate.

You'll also note that Barbaro's opening sentence is exciting but perhaps slippery and slick. Did you think Trump asked Brewer Lane to "slip out of her clothes" while he lasciviously stood there and watched?

That's the impression you were fed. It seems that isn't what happened.

This is very typical stuff at our most pitiful pseudo-newspaper. Having said that, please note this important point again:

At this point, Brewer Lane hasn't said that she found this event problematic. Luckily, Barbaro was willing to do that for her! As he continued, he was soon opining as shown below:
BARBARO (continuing directly): Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. ''That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,'' he told a female contestant on ''The Celebrity Apprentice.'' Rosie O'Donnell, he said, had a ''fat, ugly face.'' A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? ''Disgusting,'' he said.

But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters.
Brewer Lane wasn't quoted saying that she found this incident "debasing." But so what? The New York Times went ahead and said it for her!

(What would Brewer Lane know, after all? She was just "a young woman"—even worse, a model!)

As you may know, Brewer Lane has now complained about the way the Times presented this incident. She has said that the New York Times "did take quotes from what I said, and they put a negative connotation on it. They spun it to where it appeared negative."

"I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump," Brewer Lane has further said, "and I don't appreciate them making it look like that I was saying that it was a negative experience because it was not."

According to Brewer Lane, she doesn't feel that she had a "debasing encounter" with Donald J. Trump. But then, if you read Barbaro's whole stupid piece, you might have guessed as much.

If you read the rest of the piece, you would eventually have seen the passage shown below. Be careful—be very careful—about that slippery quotation:
BARBARO: For Ms. Brewer Lane, her introduction to Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago was the start of a whirlwind romance—a heady blur of helicopter rides and high-end hotel rooms and flashing cameras.

''It was intimidating,'' she said. ''He was Donald Trump, obviously.''
Say what? Brewer Lane's "debasing encounter" led to "a whirlwind romance?" Only at this most ridiculous paper would an incident of this type be used as the opening incident in a lengthy, Sunday front-page profile of such an exciting type.

The lunatic judgment displayed by the Times has now become the silly newspaper's latest gift to Trump. But what about that final quotation? Didn't Brewer Lane say that she found her "debasing encounter" to be "intimidating?"

Actually, no—she didn't. Assuming she was quoted accurately, she does seem to have said that she found something intimidating. But as you can plainly see, that passage doesn't say what it was.

She may have said she found it "intimidating" to date a celebrity like Donald J. Trump. There's no way to tell what she meant from that passage—from this latest piece of crap from this ridiculous "newspaper."

Trump will be milking this gift for days. Truly, the silly people at this silly newspaper are among the nation's slowest and dumbest. And by the way, one final point:

Why was Brewer Lane described as Trump's former "companion?" Really? You don't know the answer to that?

Barbaro's name appears on the piece. Who could the editor be?

Just this once: Just this once, we'll let you ask us about our own experiences in this general area.

In 1999 and 2000, we were among quite a few old college friends who were interviewed about the college-aged version of Candidate Gore, who was wooden and stiff, didn't know who he was, had hired a woman to teach him to be a man and had a very bad problem with the truth.

This type of experience was common. A single statement would be mined from an hour-long discussion. It would then be quoted in a context which turned its meaning upside down.

Yes, this is the way they play. No one cared when Candidate Gore kept getting slimed, but Candidate Trump will be riding this gift for quite a few days to come.

How long can our culture keep working this way? We the humans are trapped inside a deeply debasing culture.


  1. "How long can our culture keep working this way? We the humans are trapped inside a deeply debasing culture."

    Maybe this actually was a gift to Trump. Maybe this is his campaign's way of countering the true accounts of his sexism. All the other accounts are made to seem untrue because this one lacks substance.

    This may have nothing to do with our culture and everything to do with a clever campaign staff that knows how to neutralize valid criticism.

    1. Trump didn't make the Times publish it. The decision to do so, in this absurd manner, belongs solely to NYT.

      And it reflects quite poorly indeed on our journalistic culture precisely because it is not in any way exceptional.

    2. Not unless he called the Times pretending to be his own publicist again.

      Barbaro didn't need to distort a trivial incident when there exist plenty of other examples of Trump's attitudes toward women:

      "And the roots of Donald Trump’s rhetoric come, in fact, in part from The Howard Stern Show. Trump appeared upwards of two dozen times from the late ’90s through the 2000s with the shock jock, and BuzzFeed News has listened to hours of those conversations, which are not publically available. The most popular topic of conversation during these appearances, as is typical of Stern’s program, was sex. In particular, Trump frequently discussed women he had sex with, wanted to have sex with, or wouldn’t have sex with if given the opportunity. He also rated women on a 10-point scale.

      “A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” he told Stern in one typical exchange.


      Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate."

      Given the many other examples, why would Barbaro do this? I think he may have intended to help Trump, just as most of the NY Times coverage of Trump has helped him.

      Notice how today's papers are full of articles about the many ways Hillary can lose the general election, her inauthenticity compared to her style in 2008. They are working overtime to keep Hillary out of office and helping Trump is one way to do that.

    3. The entire premise is pretty weak, and once again reinforces the fact that all our side ever does is cry "racist/sexist." Trump has made crude remarks about women? Trump has made crude remarks about damn near everyone! That's literally what he's best known for. He's mocked his competitors throughout the campaign process on basis of physical attributes (he said he has had it "up to here" with Rand Paul, mocking his height, and he stood up on stage splashing a water bottle around to mock Rubio's sweating, just to take two examples off the top of my head).

      It's sad, and defeatist, that our side has devolved almost wholly into identity politics. Even if we avoid Trump, this is going to cost us plenty in the long term if we keep on this path.

    4. Matt, the difference is that Trump isn't trying to insult anyone when he makes crude remarks about women but he was trying to insult his competitors. Trump has made crude sexual remarks about his own daughter, about women he supposedly likes. That suggests that he thinks about women in those terms. When he insults Rubio, no one believes that he thinks about men in such terms -- he is clearly just trying to needle an opponent. Then there is the content of his insults toward his female competitors (and women like Megyn Kelly) compared to the type of remarks made about men. The comments about male competitors are based on their individual traits -- the ones about women are based on their looks, emerging straight out of stereotypes about women. That makes them sexist even though both sets of comments are derogatory.

    5. It was a very, very stupid article.

  2. The Lugenpresse strikes again! As Trump himself says, "These are very dishonest people." Only the Times could spin a whirlwind romance with a billionaire that was probably one of the highlights of Ms. Lane's life into a debasing experience.

    1. I was engaged to a millionaire for a year. It was debasing because of the sense of entitlement of the young man. I put up with a lot because I cared about him and because of the glamor of being around rich people, but the novelty wore off and eventually I got fed up with being treated like a possession, an appendage instead of a person.

      Trump likes women because they make him feel manly. He doesn't think of them as people and he doesn't like them for who they are. They are prizes he gets for winning. Ms. Lane's reaction to him is irrelevant when he clearly doesn't view her with respect.

      If I went to a party with no intention of swimming, I wouldn't like being pressured into it by the host. What would have happened if she had said no to putting on the bathing suit? Do you imagine Trump would have made her his "companion" for her stimulating conversation? It seems unlikely to me.

    2. maj, do you mean L├╝genpresse?

    3. I prefer my German Americanized.

  3. "Just this once: Just this once, we'll let you ask us about our own experiences in this general area.

    In 1999 and 2000, we were among quite a few old college friends who were interviewed about the college-aged version of Candidate Gore"

    Just this once we'll let Bob Somerby skip his insistence of others that they name names.

  4. Sadly enough there are some who think being linked to Trump is a feather in the cap. I find being linked to him in any fashion is gross and demeaning. He has no respect for anyone- even himself.

    1. Most say the same about Bill Clinton. Cigars? Oval Office? Intern? Nothing Trump has said compares.

      As Trump says about vulgar comments, "All of these politicians have said far worse than that, drunk, standing in a corner.”

      And we all know this to be true, because we've almost all said similar things about women we dislike and heard it said by almost everyone else.

      There might be one percent who haven't, and most of those are probably conservatives.

    2. Article is about Trump.
      And yes, Bill Clinton is a pig. Better?

    3. Clinton is not a pig for engaging in private sexual behavior with a consenting adult who did not work for him.Biden fondles women in ways Clinton never did.

    4. What did Biden do to you, my wounded Clintonista? Where did he touch you? Can you show me on this doll?

    5. I think Monica Lewinsky has alot of soul and is just an authentically beautiful person. I have sympathy for Bill Clinton's mistake with her. It was stupid behavior, but I think it was an actual love affair.

  5. Good God these weirdos' looks and attitudes couldn't be any closer to what we would expect given their apparent inclination to interpret any heterosexual relationship as victimizing women. They come off like children of Salem with no clue as to what they're being called out on, or the meaning of the word "lie."

  6. CNN Confronts NY Times Reporters After Trump's Ex Rips 'Misleading' Report

    a former girlfriend of Donald Trump blasted their Sunday report on the billionaire's conduct towards women. Rowanne Brewer Lane, a former model who dated Trump in the 1990s, accused reporters Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey of being "completely misleading" in their interview for the article.

    I don't know if this helps Trump, but it sure hurts the New York Times. (Or, it ought to hurt them, if the public still has any standards.) It took many decades for the Times to build a reputation as our best, most reliable newspaper. I think they will keep that reputation, despite this kind of reporting, because their error unfairly hurt a Republican. A comparably inaccurate report of Hillary's experiences would hurt the Times' reputation more among their fellow media. Although, it's noteworthy that CNN had this interview blasting the Times for their bad report.

    1. None of the inaccurate reports about Hillary Clinton seems to have hurt the Times.

    2. DinC, nobody challenges the New York Times.
      Somerby has told us this innumerable times.
      It is bad for the careers of guild members.

    3. This CNN article discusses how Trump aggressively refuted the Times unfair news story.

  7. Even if this report is as bad as Somerby claims it is (and it's not) I don't see how it is a "gift" to Trump.

    Hillary is going to specifically target white, married women in the suburbs who tend to vote Republican. Trump has said enough about women in general and in particular (Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz) just during the course of this campaign to give her plenty of ammo.

    And you can bet the mortgage that more is coming. He just can't help himself.

    So, no, women aren't going to read this story and say, "Poor Donald is being treated unfairly by the NYT" and forget everything else he's said and done.

    1. Did you read Matt in the Crown above? Probably did, but you love you some identity politics. The report doesn't even need to be true, just as long as it has some truthiness, right?

    2. Married suburban white women will vote for Trump. They ignore the victim identity politics that define the Democrats and focus on what is best for their children which excludes coddling terrorists, murder of police officers, and the low IQ thugs-as-victims prog mental affliction.

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