Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News gig has been a long march into the bottom of an ocean awash in fearmongering, bigotry, and misinformation. Like most Fox News programming this past year, Bartiromo’s programs have been showcases for easily debunked conspiracy theories, all racist and anti-China by nature.
On Monday, CNN reported Eric Spinato, a senior Fox News employee who’d been with the network for 20 years, died from COVID-19 complications. Spinato was the “head booker and senior story editor for the Fox Business Network” where he handled bookings for top shows like Bartiromo’s misinformation-fest. Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, Fox News president Jay Wallace, and Fox Business president Lauren Petterson said in a joint statement praising Spinato’s career with the company, saying “His excitement, positivity and energetic team spirit were one of a kind and will be greatly missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Eric’s entire family, including his two sons and his girlfriend.”
Bartiromo has been a favorite stopping point for the twice impeached guy while also promoting a steady stream of misinformation. She has done so effectively enough that she has slowly moved up the ladder as the longtime hosts are pushed into retirement. Bartiromo has also made sure to push every unscientific, terrible public health idea, like going out into public and pretending that nothing is happening—an idea promoted by Rep. Devin Nunes on Bartiromo’s show in the middle of March 2020.
Less than two months ago, Bartiromo was allowing fellow Fox News host Steve Hilton to promote a theory that Dr. Anthony Fauci needed to be investigated for being responsible for creating the COVID-19 virus. You read that correctly. Fauci, a person who has served as an adviser to seven presidents, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush in 2008, and who has been serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since he was appointed to the role in 1984 by former President Ronald Reagan—that highly regarded doctor—is at fault for the existence of COVID-19. I’m not going to bore you with the Eyes Wide Shut details of this conspiracy theory, but an important thing to understand here is this isn’t simply Bartiromo letting a fellow conspiracy huckster spew his lies and racism while she pretended to be an objective participant hosting an interview.
Here she is all the way back about two weeks ago saying “We know it [COVID-19] originated in a Wuhan lab.”
In fact, we don’t know it.
Last week Bartiromo was peddling the racist fearmongering that immigrants who were “flooding” the southern border of the United States were also bringing in all kinds of COVID-19 viruses. Considering that Bartiromo and her Fox News right-wing-o-stew is promoting this when data shows that migrants coming across our border have lower COVID-19 rates than the state of Texas has had the last 12 months is a special kind of hideous misrepresentation of reality.
It’s important to note here that Bartiromo knows better. When she has flashes of her business, free market capitalist roots, she has found herself mistakenly saying true things. For example, in the beginning of March 2020, while Trump and Fox News were downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic and Donald Trump was telling people it would “disappear,” some of Bartiromo’s more serious business friends were clearly telling her the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan no matter what she and her colleagues were saying. Here’s Maria speaking with Fox Host Bill Hemmer, saying: “My sources are telling me — and I don’t want to panic anybody — but my sources are telling me that we’re going to see tens of thousands, ultimately hundreds of thousands of cases in the United States. This is going to happen. That’s why the administration tried to get ahead of that.”
This happened. But even then, Bartiromo cut the truth with a big lie. When Bartiromo said the U.S. would see “hundreds of thousands of cases in the next six months to a year,” she should have said “deaths.” Unfortunately, the underselling and the lies and misinformation, along with the single most inept administration in living memory, led to out-of-control public health and economic crises the likes that no one living remembers.
It also led to the premature death of a reportedly well-liked and well-regarded Fox News’ employee, Spinato. Spinato worked at a network where the hosts he helped support did very little to support him back by refusing to inform the audience of all the facts. Spinato leaves behind a wife and two teenage sons.