Fox Business is hitting back at critics who accused anchor Maria Bartiromo of conducting a softball interview with President Trump this weekend.
On Monday evening, network president Brian Jones said he was very proud of the morning anchor and all of her hard work.
“Maria Bartiromo’s wide-ranging interview with President Trump made news on multiple fronts and elicited answers to numerous questions,” he said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “We are proud of her hard work and continued success across each of her FBN and FNC programs.”
On Sunday, Bartiromo became the latest Fox personality to sit down for an interview with the president. Critics widely panned the performance, attacking Bartiromo for softball questions and missed opportunities for a follow-up. NBC News called the sit-down “toothless” in its headline.
At CNN, media reporter Brian Stelter was even more scathing in the Sunday evening edition of his “Reliable Sources” newsletter.
“Almost every time Trump said something shocking or unsubstantiated, Maria Bartiromo let it slide. Sometimes she didn’t just fail to follow up, she encouraged it,” said Stelter, who dismissed the interview as a “chat.”
She “sounds more like a counselor than an interviewer,” he added.
Stelter cited one particular moment when Trump declared ICE had liberated an entire town from undocumented immigrants and Bartiromo failed to inquire where this town was.
The Fox Business anchor can be a ferocious interviewer when the target is a Democrat, as evidenced by this fiery exchange with former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.
Despite the defense from the network’s leadership, there is little doubt that the president favors Fox News and Fox Business hosts and views the network as a safe space to air his views with little pushback. Trump rarely grants interviews to reporters from another network.