While the press gleefully scooped up a weekend hit piece in The New York Times about billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s alleged mistreatment of women, it didn’t take long for the truth to emerge.
First, the main source for the article absolutely denied the charges, saying that she had been totally misrepresented. Now, it’s come out that the writer of the piece has a history of hit pieces on Republican candidates, almost all of them debunked.
According to Breitbart, author Michael Barbaro has been criticized — even by left-leaning news sources — for similar hit pieces on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Before the publication of “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private” this weekend, Barbaro was arguably most infamous for a hit piece last June in which he claimed Sen. Rubio had a history of personal financial mismanagement. His biggest piece of evidence for his claim was that Rubio had “splurged” on a “luxury speedboat” that he couldn’t afford.
Within days, it quickly emerged that the “luxury speedboat” was actually a modest fishing craft that Rubio purchased after receiving a huge book advance. Even Politico, not necessarily known as a hive of proud conservatism, noted that the $800,000 book advance was far more than enough to pay for the $80,000 boat.
Then there was a 2012 hit piece on Romney, which was ostensibly about the candidate’s San Diego house but ended up unsubtly criticizing the former Massachusetts governor for his wealth and for moving into a neighborhood where there were “six gay households within a three-block radius of his house.”
Yeah, apparently, we conservatives are so intolerant we can’t even stand to be within a three-block radius of gay people! “Pack up the bags, Martha — I heard a Pet Shop Boys album playing out of the window of the new neighbors over on Elm St. while I was on my way home!”
That article was so sleazy that even a columnist for The Nation — arguably the most left-of-center mainstream political magazine around — said that it shouldn’t have run.
In an appearance on MSNBC (via Mediaite), columnist Ari Melber said that he wanted “to call bull on both the substance of the story and the way The New York Times dealt with it.”
Saying that it was a “thin, silly story” and “an attempt — implicit or otherwise — to draw connection between (Romney’s) personal wealth and his candidacy,” Melber said, “I think this has got two strikes on it and probably shouldn’t have run.”
That has nothing compared to his hit piece on Trump, which was mostly based on hours of interviews with one woman who had a brief romance with Trump in the early 1990s, Rowanne Brewer Lane. However, it turned out that Lane had actually participated in the piece to show how well Trump treated women, and was stunned to find out that Barbaro had picked quotes out of context to make a point entirely different from what she had portrayed.
Join the club, Ms. Lane. Join the club.
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