Remember Michael Barbaro, that New York Times reporter, who published a discredited article about Trump’s relationship to women?
A video exclusively obtained by GotNews.com shows a young anti-Trump reporter admitting to making news up when he worked for the Washington Post.
Skip to 20:56 for relevant part in regards to his Trump story. Barbaro starts talking about “making news” and getting people to “commit news.” (Thanks to Reddit for pointing this out with the time stamps!)
We’ve been onto Barbaro since last year when he didn’t know what he was talking about regarding Anthony Weiner but it’s nice for the rest of the country to catch up.
Now he’s back.
Barbaro, who is married to a man, actually tried to report about Trump’s relationship with women. Seriously.
The New York Times sent a gay guy who has a history of making things up to report on Trump’s relationship with hot women who came out and defended Trump after the hit job.
Our researcher emailed us the following from the 2005 interview. Barbaro was only twenty-five at the time.
Watch the video in full because it shows how he thinks about the media.
In 2005, Barbaro gave a lecture to a group of students at Yale University about journalism during a summer program. He explicitly defines confirmation bias through the use of his anecdotes, a good portrayal would be the following graciously lengthy quote,
“Even if the answer is, ‘I won’t answer that.’ – there’s your quote. Then every reader you know knows that you’re smart enough to have tried to get the important question asked – and an answered or unanswered. And then they know what to make of this person who didn’t answer your question. (Michael reading directly) and this is something you should really think about when interviewing people.”
In the scenario Barbaro described with regards to the quote, he is asking people to make judgments about an interviewee who has refused a question. Depending on the question ask, it may have been perceived as a bad question and the interviewee rightly declined to response. Given Barbaro depends on non-responses to write, his story will likely include gaps in understanding between the question asked and his perceived reality as to what it means since he is missing evidence. Barbaro suggested the use of confirmation bias multiple times during his 40 minute lecture while giving more anecdotes about journalism from his point of view.
You know that guy at the bar who says, “You know, that girl looked was lookin’ at me earlier. I’m not sure if she likes me, but don’t you think it’s…telling? This may appear as an exaggerated straw-man argument, but Barbaro is that guy.
Michael subsequently gets trolled by somebody who appears to know the number of years CSPAN publishes phone numbers, only for us to find Michael did not understand the context of topic he is discussing. He remains the clueless guy at the bar, asking the same question. This affected his reputation negatively, as the Washington Journal mocked him for his cluelessness. In hindsight, Mike made this mistake of clueless reporting despite the fact there were obvious negative consequences associated with it. Further evidence of the purveyance of confirmation bias throughout his career not just in 2005, but also in 2015.
Confirmation Bias isn’t just Michael Barbaro’s problem: it is everyone’s problem. The human brain has cognitive tendencies to validate information based on previous memories. Consider the time you lost your phone: is your first instinct to look on surfaces before searching underneath them? Do you utilize surefire methods of finding your phone first or save them as a last resort? Cognitive psychology studies problems like this using abstract stimuli and extensive testing for bias to reduce error as much as possible. To illustrate, a study by J. Rajsic, J. Pratt, and D. Wilson shows in Confirmation Bias in visual Searches, showed subjects took more time to find and confirm letters which were primed compared to the search time for minimal searches in five different experiments. Dubbed a “modified visual search task,” the experiments showed longer search times for primed stimuli compared to minimized searches and top-bottom patterns of searching. While the scope of this research does not completely predict human behavior, it illustrates the relationship between our brains natural tendencies to search for information based on our memories, regardless of the ethics of that search. It’s important to resist confirmation bias as a heuristic for making conclusions in situations where it is not helpful.
The history of work by Michael Barbaro is a scattered scope of work from fashion to government. Some of this work seems contrived to fuel narratives for propaganda and activism. His work has been balanced between fashion and modded cars, to homosexuality and Muslim culture, from Romney’s Campaign, to Romney’s Hair Stylist. I don’t really make anything of it, except for the way his profile description actually begins, quote, “Michael Barbaro writes about politics and government. His specialty is intimate portraits of the powerful.”
Given this description of Michael Barbaro and the subsequent work described in his profile, I would say the first line is an inaccurate reflection of Michael Barbaro’s work. It would seem he is a jack of all interests journalist rather than a political critic. A description at the very end mentions his interest to end term limits for representative government. This is disturbing, because once you remove a term limit, you can’t put term limits back in place unless the politician you elected chooses to do so.
Confirmation bias is a problem. When you are gifted the with responsibility of sharing information with the public, your perspective is secondary. Our minds struggle to keep us from looking for the answers we want when we know we should do our best to accept the truth regardless of how we feel. Change is difficult, especially when you’re asked to change by others. It’s never too late to change, Michael Barbaro. It is peanuts to me, but as long as you use confirmation bias as your bible to do journalistic reporting, you can’t be trusted. Perhaps it’s time to change your mind.
Barbaro continues to defend his discredited story in the media but Breitbart.com has exposed his history of failed hatchet jobs.
— John/TheCitySquare (@johncitysq) May 18, 2016