If misinformation is your thing, you can do no better than listening to Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. It goes without saying that you’d be better served, news-wise, by dropping acid and crawling inside a narwhal with a Brink’s bag full of ‘70s Tiger Beats. And yet after Fox News recently whipped out the bolt gun in the wake of its $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, Bartiromo’s stinking viscera were conspicuously absent from the abattoir floor.
Bartiromo was front-and-center in the network’s post-2020 election campaign to conceal the fact that Donald Trump is a colossal, one-term loser, and so you’d think she’d be one of the first out the door. And yet you’d be wrong.
Fox reportedly dissolved its investigative team on Friday, prompting concerned observers to ask, “Wait, Fox News has an investigative team? WTF? What do they investigate?”
“The rank and file journalists are getting let go. Meanwhile, upper management are sitting pretty while they are the execs responsible for the Dominion debacle,” one Fox employee tells Rolling Stone, which has confirmed the unit has been axed. “We are the sacrificial lambs.”
Dominion filed a defamation suit against Fox in 2021 for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election results. The misinformation at the heart of the lawsuit was pushed largely through the network’s opinion hosts, which operate independently from its news division and aren’t held to typical journalistic standards.
“The outrage is that Suzanne Scott and Maria Bartiromo keep their jobs,” the employee says, referring to the network CEO and one of its opinion hosts named in the lawsuit, respectively. “Meanwhile the journalists get let go. We are in shock.”
Yes, Bartiromo and Suzanne Scott. You might even call them the unwitting architects of Dominion’s successful bid to hold Fox accountable for its election lies. Bartiromo, for instance, gave pro-Big Lie attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell airtime after it had already been determined they were of one mind, and neither of them was quite sure who was using it at any given moment.
Los Angeles Times:
Bartiromo testified that no one in management did anything to stop her or force her to correct the record. While Bartiromo devoted time to the story, top executives, reporters and even Fox News stars such as Tucker Carlson and Dana Perino were saying privately that Trump’s claims were bogus and questioned the sanity of Powell and Giuliani. [...]
Much of the deposition testimony related to Bartiromo focuses on the appearances by Powell and Giuliani. The duo were given a platform in front of the “Sunday Morning Futures” audience of nearly 2 million viewers a week, where they amplified Trump’s false election claims.
Bartiromo herself made misstatements, such as repeating inaccurate claims that Dominion was owned by voting software company Smartmatic, which is also suing Fox News and other conservative networks for defamation.
Meanwhile, Scott, whose brain has presumably not melted under the Fox studio klieg lights or the beatific gleam of Donald J. Trump’s irresistible jowl-forward smile, was as culpable as anyone else for Fox’s Dominion face-plant.
In fact, at one point Scott actually complained about on-air fact-checks that threatened to deflate the network’s ever-expanding Big Lie balloon:
The top executive at Fox News was furious one of the network’s reporters was fact-checking Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, writing in a December 2020 email that it was “bad for business”.
Suzanne Scott, the chief executive of Fox News, was responding in early December 2020 to an on-air fact-check by Eric Shawn, one of the network’s anchors. “This has to stop now,” she wrote to Meade Cooper, another Fox executive. “This is bad business and there clearly is a lack of understanding [sic] what is happening in these shows. The audience is furious and we are just feeding them material. Bad for business.”
For the record, a Fox spokesperson issued a “clarification” after the email was made public, saying, “This is not about fact-checking—the issue at hand is one host calling out another.” Okay, even if we give that spokesperson the benefit of the doubt, it’s still not a great look! News organizations are supposed to be interested in sussing out the truth by any means necessary. Anyway, why would you believe a statement from the spokesperson for a network that doesn’t fact-check anything?
In another email, which Scott sent to Fox News President Jay Wallace after reporter Kristin Fisher fact-checked a Rudy Giuliani press conference, she lamented that, “I can’t keep defending these reporters who don’t understand our viewers and how to handle stories. We need to manage this. […] The audience feels like we crapped on [them] and we have damaged their trust and belief in us.”
Nice. Way to stand in the gap for democracy, Suzanne.
And yet Scott and Bartiromo get to keep their posh offices. It sort of reminds me of that time the financial sector cratered the U.S. economy and a bunch of regular folks lost their jobs, but the people who did the cratering got generous bonuses. Or when then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker used the crisis to screw over the state’s teachers.
That shit has to stop happening. Seriously. Will it? Bwahahahahahaha! Of course not, you naif! These people have less than zero shame.
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