On Sunday morning, Fox Business aired host Maria Bartiromo’s interview with President Trump — one that at various points was more akin to a piece of propaganda than journalism.
Not only did Bartiromo not push back on a number of controversial-at-best claims Trump made, but she repeatedly reinforced them by uncritically saying things like, “I agree,” “I know,” and “you’re doing the right thing.”
Consider the following four examples from the interview — each of them highlighted on Twitter by Aaron Blake of the Washington Post.
When the topic of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation came up, Trump asserted, “there’s no collusion with me. There’s no Russia with me. There’s no nothing.”
Trump’s claims are contradicted by emails Donald Trump Jr. publicly released proving that at the very least, the Trump campaign was willing to collude with the Kremlin to bring down Hillary Clinton. Bartiromo did not ask Trump about the Trump Tower meeting that was the subject of those emails, or his own role in dictating a misleading statement Don Jr. released trying to explain them away.
“They found nothing. Nobody has found anything,” Trump insisted, ignoring that Mueller has already indicted or secured guilty pleas from 20 people, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“I know,” Bartiromo replied.
The news peg for Bartiromo’s interview was the six-month anniversary of Trump’s tax cuts legislation being signed into law.
As ThinkProgress has detailed, the cuts haven’t resulted in labor force participation gains or significant wage increases, and in recent weeks, the stock market has slumped as well.
Nonetheless, at one point Trump told Bartiromo that “I think ultimately the tax cuts as they kick in, and they’re kicking in…that’s going to be something really special, and you’re seeing the result of that right now.” Bartiromo replied not by asking him a follow up about data that conflicts with his assertions, but by saying, “I agree.”
The trade war Trump launched is hurting American farmers, who will pay the price of retaliatory agricultural tariffs other countries have placed on the United States. Trump’s trade war has also played a large role in the stock market’s ongoing slide.
But during her interview with Trump, Bartiromo spoke on behalf of “the markets,” and told Trump, “The markets feel like they’re trusting you at this point.”
“I think they trust me, and the farmers trust me,” Trump said.
“They do,” Bartiromo replied.
Instead of pressing Trump on the negative consequences of the trade war Trump has launched, Bartiromo actively encouraged Trump’s confrontational approach to China.
“Well, you’re doing the right thing on pushing back on China as well,” she said. “Most people understand that they’ve been stealing for us from decades.
“Right, right,” Trump replied.
Bartiromo’s approach to interviewing Trump resembles the one Sean Hannity used during the presidential campaign.
As ThinkProgress detailed in April 2016, Hannity never came close to making news during any of Trump’s 41 appearances on his show between when he launched his campaign in June 2015 and then.
That’s because Hannity — as Bartiromo did on Fox Business — functioned more as a member of Trump’s campaign staff than a journalist by proactively tamping down controversies and touting Trump’s poll numbers, instead of asking tough questions.