- Screenshot/Fox News
- The Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo is facing particularly fierce criticism over her latest interview with President Donald Trump, during which she did not challenge Trump’s unsubstantiated or false claims.
- A barrage of critics online accused Bartiromo of peddling Trump’s propaganda and following an administration-approved script.
- “Almost every time Trump said something shocking or unsubstantiated, Maria Bartiromo let it slide,” CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote. “Sometimes she didn’t just fail to follow up, she encouraged it.”
The Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo is facing particularly fierce criticism over her latest interview with President Donald Trump, during which she lobbed what critics called softball questions and repeatedly agreed with the president’s controversial, false, or misleading statements.
At one point in the interview, which aired Sunday on Fox News, Trump asserted that there was no collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government and that the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had “found nothing.”
“I know,” Bartiromo responded. Twenty people – some of whom worked at high levels of Trump’s campaign – and three Russian companies have been charged with crimes in Mueller’s investigation.
The morning host later asked Trump whether he would bring up Russia’s election interference during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin set for later this month. Trump ignored the question, instead saying he would like to know “why the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC,” apparently referring to the unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic National Committee refused to cooperate with federal law enforcement during the investigation into the hack of its email server before the 2016 election.
Bartiromo did not follow up on the question. She agreed with Trump that the DNC didn’t want to give its server to the FBI and that the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state was somehow corrupt.
A barrage of critics online accused Bartiromo of peddling Trump’s propaganda and following an administration-approved script.
Aaron Blake, a Washington Post political reporter, tweeted segments of the interview in which Bartiromo did not challenge Trump’s claims.
Actual Bartiromo responses:
TRUMP: My tax cuts are great.
BARTIROMO: "I agree"
TRUMP: No collusion.
BARTIROMO: "I know"
TRUMP: Wall Street & farmers trust me.
BARTIROMO: "They do"
TRUMP: My tariffs are great.
BARTIROMO: "You’re doing the right thing on pushing back on China"
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) July 2, 2018
“Almost every time Trump said something shocking or unsubstantiated, Maria Bartiromo let it slide,” CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote in his Monday newsletter. “Sometimes she didn’t just fail to follow up, she encouraged it.”
Stelter pointed to Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has come under fire from immigrant-rights activists and left-wing politicians in recent days, has liberated towns from MS-13 gang members. Bartiromo did not ask for any evidence and moved on to a question about North Korea, Stelter said.
“When Trump supporters say the media is biased, they simply mean that most journalists don’t unequivocally agree with Trump when he makes false/subjective claims,” said Brian Klaas, a Post columnist who wrote the book “How to Rig an Election.”
“Their vision of good journalism is Bartiromo’s sycophancy, which would fit in very well in authoritarian state media,” Klaas added.
During the interview, Trump said he would push for a second “phase” of tax cuts, that he would wait until after the midterm elections this year to sign a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, and that he wouldn’t back down from his trade fights with allies.
Brian Jones, the president of Fox Business, defended Bartiromo in a statement to Business Insider.
“Maria Bartiromo’s wide-ranging interview with President Trump made news on multiple fronts and elicited answers to numerous questions,” Jones said. “We are proud of her hard work and continued success across each of her FBN and FNC programs.”
White House reporters, including Fox’s John Roberts, have previously criticized the president for refusing to participate in sit-down interviews with anyone other than his friendliest allies in the media.
“I will say that I am a little bit frustrated that the last time I interviewed the president was in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, in August of 2016,” Roberts told Business Insider in April. “I’ve been asking for an interview with the president since the day he was elected and they have not complied … And I tell them – by this time in the Bush administration, I’d done four sit-down interviews with him. And in the Clinton administration I’d done a number of sit-down interviews with him as well.”