|"Hi. I used to be a respected journalist."|
I used to think I could visit the New York Post website to indulge in the gossip of Page Six or check out my horoscope without feeling I was actually supporting Rupert Murdoch's evil media empire. But like sneaking the occasional Chick-fil-A sandwich when nobody's looking and, thus, actively supporting a right wing racket, I'm afraid my conscience has got the best of me.
The Post and Fox News Channel are helping to destroy American democracy (or what's left of it) as they continue to give credence to Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud. The latest example was yesterday's criminally dishonest interview with Trump by once-respected financial journalist Maria Bartiromo, one of Fox's stars. Actually, it wasn't so much an interview (Trump's first since Election Day) as it was blatant propaganda posing as journalism. Vox writer Aaron Rupar wrote on Twitter that Bartiromo is "basically a North Korean news anchor now." In fact, Bartiromo became a trending topic on the social media platform. Everybody's talking about her debacle, in which she supported every dubious statement to come out of Trump's lying mouth — and as usual, there were many, many of them.
The judgment among Bartiromo's peers has been especially harsh, and deservedly so. The media are expert at eating their own, and they wasted no time trashing her embarrassing performance. "Maria Bartiromo's phenomenal flop," went the headline in The Washington Post. "A smorgasbord of disinformation," reported Vox. "This is propaganda," tweeted a CNN personality.
Of course, were Fox an actual news organization, Bartiromo would be dismissed at once for not only lobbing softballs at a lying liar of a president but for egging him on. "The facts are on your side," she told him — without actually reporting any facts — in what will no doubt become a defining line in Bartiromo's righteous ignominy.
The thing is, I suppose we should all be used to the joke that is Murdoch's tabloid world by now. No serious person takes anything they read in the Post or that they see on Fox News seriously. I had convinced myself that tuning in on occasion, just for a glimpse of the trainwreck, was permissible, seeing, after all, that I am in the business of writing about advertisers and the media they support.
But like a Chick-fil-A sandwich, I just can't stomach it anymore.
The writer, famous liberal and heroine of mine Fran Lebowitz once admitted to being a regular watcher of Fox News, noting the importance of keeping up with what the other side is saying. "And believe me," Fran said, "it's much worse than you think."
It simply cannot get any lower than Bartiromo's pathetic suck-up moment with Trump, which served to not only destroy whatever was left of her credibility (her move from CNBC to Fox was the first step) but to further poison the minds of gullible Americans who actually believe Trump when he claims the election was stolen from him.
So, goodbye Page Six. So long, Bartiromo. I don't shop at Hobby Lobby, I don't admire the films of Leni Riefenstahl, and I will no longer consume any media owned by Murdoch — destroyer of democracies and of souls. You'll just have to get your news about his loathsome empire from some other source.