Jonathan Karl’s book Betrayal continues to leak details that fit a consistent overall narrative that started long ago; Behind the scenes, the Trump administration, along with Trump-friendly media, fought an increasingly ugly war to rescue a lost election. The latest involves Trump loyalist to the extreme, Maria Bartiromo, and the man looking for an extremely early exit post-election, Attorney General Bill Barr.
To their credit, the authors of post-administration books, have found unique angles that shed further light on that “fog of war” period between November 3rd and January 20th. It is difficult enough for those of us that must follow developments closely to remember each critical detail, never mind the casual but informed American.
CNN brings us a revelation that in any other context might shock the reader. Mid-level Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo screamed at the Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, over his factual finding that no significant fraud occurred during the election.
One of the enduring questions in media is, “What happened to Bartiromo,” which Karl takes head-on:
“Bartiromo had once been a widely respected and trailblazing financial journalist. As a correspondent for CNBC, she was the first television reporter to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Now she had her own show on Fox News and she was using it to boost a series of unfounded allegations designed to overturn a presidential election.”
Indeed, Bartiromo’s show went further than any other (as a broad consensus) to blindly accept the rumors swirling at the time. Sydney Powell was a frequent guest who left Bartiromo’s head shaking as if each Powell assertion was an obvious fact if only the public would pay attention and catch the Democrats.
To that end, this mid-level anchor at Fox ended up calling Bill Barr as Attorney General, and screamed at him:
Barr states: “She called me up and she was screaming. I yelled back at her. She’s lost it.”
There are precious few, beyond spouses, allowed to get on the phone and scream at the attorney general, the top anchors in the nation are not among those few, never mind Bartiromo. But this is how things worked in MAGA world, the more loyal one might be to Trump, the harder one fought for him, the more that person could count upon Trump’s protection and get away with it. So long as one was fiercely fighting on Trump’s behalf against someone less “loyal,” an intern might have gotten away with hurling obscenities at Vice President Pence. If the example is a stretch, it is not that far a stretch.
As a follow-up, Karl called Fox News and asked about the incident, noting the obvious breach of ethics. Karl never spoke to Bartiromo but the Fox spokesperson denied the incident on Bartiromo’s behalf.
Given Bartiromo’s behavior and “ethics” at the time, the story does not stand out as “impossible,” indeed – though we cannot know – it fits a pattern that feels quite “real.”
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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