Last Friday morning the cable news ecosystem was focused on allegations that Senator Al Franken had engaged in sexual misconduct with his then fellow USO co-host Leeann Tweeden, which was illustrated in a damning photo that showed Franken allegedly groping a sleeping Tweeden.
FBN’s Mornings With Maria was no exception in providing coverage, but host Maria Bartiromo’s false equivalency was on full display when she declared that there were “no allegations” against President Donald Trump after a guest made mention of the 14 accusers.
Bartiromo’s guest Chris Lu, former deputy Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration, pointed out that “there’s probably an equal number that have made allegations against the President” as have been levied against Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore.
But Bartiromo was having none of that, chiding her guest for bringing up President Trump and proclaiming “He said during the campaign that wasn’t true. In fact, didn’t he say also that, you know, all of this will come to light and there will be a lawsuit? I mean… we’re talking about a situation where we have a picture with the guy’s hands on her breasts. You can’t compare the two.”
Twitter had a predictable field day with Bartiromo’s comments, which led to her blocking numerous blue checked Twitter accounts, thus keeping the story alive for another media cycle.
This morning, Bartiromo issued an apology-cum-clarification, sidestepping the notion that she alleged that Trump had never faced sexual misconduct allegations. Bartiromo said:
One of my guests tried to get it to pivot, tried to turn the conversation into a conversation about Donald Trump. And at that moment I said whoa, whoa, whoa we are not talking about Donald Trump, there are no accusations about Donald Trump , we’re talking about Al Franken right here. And that comment apparently was taken wildly out of context, obviously, I’m aware there are several women who accused the president, then-candidate Donald Trump during the election of misconduct. We were talking about the here and now, the news of the day and that was what I was referring to when I said there are no allegations. So I just want to be clear, I want to clarify. I apologize if I wasn’t specific and precise enough on that day.
So, Bartiromo is saying that she just meant that Trump had not been accused that day? Well, OK, but that’s not what it sounded like. At all. To suggest that viewers, or various media critics, took her comments out of context, is just absurd. Her job as a broadcaster is to provide context, and when you don’t do a good job you end up having to block a bunch of colleagues on Twitter. It seems the context she was offering here is that there is a picture of Franken’s incident and no proof of Trump’s. Oh wait, except that there is that Access Hollywood tape. Also, “several women”? At last count there were 14 (!) individuals making allegations against the sitting president.
What followed in the segment is even more embarrassing, a ridiculous display of toadyism by her co-host Dagen McDowell, in which she said she “will be damned” to “stay silent” over the treatment of Bartiromo.
Here’s the thing. Baritromo wasn’t taken out of context. I believe her that she knew that there were allegations against Trump and if that is true she just made a mistake (or was just acting as a partisan hack). It happens. But by digging in and trying to offer some contorted explanation for the “context,” she isn’t helping her cause. She was correctly quoted on Friday and blocking of various Twitter accounts, many after they had called her out, only made matters worse.
All things being equal, it probably wasn’t the most enjoyable weekend for the FBN host. When you are provided the privilege of being on television day in and day out, you take the good with the bad. Or as my dad used to say, the wind blows a little harder at the top of the totem pole .
Watch the clip above, courtesy of FBN.
[image via screen capture]
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