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The Bartiromo Effect from CNBC to FOX, Maria Bartiromo is the face of financial media

FOX Business News journalist Maria Bartiromo interviews the heavy hitters in finance, business, and politics. In November, she spoke with Vice President Pence on her show “Sunday Morning Futures,” and just one month prior, President Trump sat with her for a two-part series on tax reform, healthcare, and other pressing issues on the minds of Americans.

Bartiromo’s work in the financial media sector since the mid-1990’s has earned her two Emmys and a Gracie Award; the latter recognizes “exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women” in media and entertainment. As a proven broadcasting pro, she’s calm, cool, and collected when paired with government and industry elites. But if you want to see Bartiromo come undone, watch a YouTube video of her 2004 CNBC interview with legendary entertainer Prince. Nearing the end of the segment, Prince asks Bartiromo to sing one of his songs while he plays the guitar. She giggles, she’s flustered, and undeniably star-struck as she tells him, “I’m sorry…I wimped out, I’m afraid because I don’t have a voice…” Prince, who’s enjoying watching her squirm, starts to cluck like a chicken mocking her sudden stage fright. Laughing at his taunt, she tells him, “…I’m sitting here with the genius of all music and you’re asking me to sing.”

That’s probably the only time Maria Bartiromo “wimped out” on camera.

In 1995, she was the first television reporter to broadcast live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as part of CNBC’s innovative and bold move to what is now a familiar financial reporting venue. It was Bartiromo – a woman – who was front and center in a space and an industry dominated by men. Did she care? Well, during one broadcast Bartiromo turns to a man standing too close for comfort and tells him, “Excuse me, we are on live on TV, could you just get out the way for a second? Thank you.”

“When I first got down to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, I was a little intimidated, a little overwhelmed, but I am aggressive. I consider myself strong, so I …persevered,” said Bartiromo in a 1999 CNBC report. “We felt that if we had a camera right in the thick of things and me handicapping everything as it was happening that it would be, in some ways, demystifying investing,” she said, explaining the intent of the live platform.

Often dubbed “the face of CNBC,” Bartiromo spent 20 years at the cable news network pioneering such shows as “Squawk Box,” “The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo;” and the nationally syndicated “On the Money with Maria Bartiromo.” But she shocked the financial media world in 2014 when it was leaked by “Drudge Report” that she was leaving CNBC and joining Fox Business News (FBN) as their global markets editor. The “Business Insider” reported that there were three primary reasons for her departure: money, visibility, and “the opportunity to, once again, help build something.”

If Bartiromo was looking for more visibility at FOX, she got it when she and Neil Cavuto served as moderators of FBN’s first and second Republican presidential primary debates in November 2015 and January 2016, respectively. FOX reported that the debates were the highest-rated programs in the network’s history according to Nielsen Media Research.

Currently, Bartiromo anchors FBN’s “Mornings with Maria” and her new gig, “Wall Street Week,” a weekly primetime investing program. She also crosses over to FOX News Channel to host “Sunday Morning Futures,” and in October, Bartiromo interviewed President Trump on his proposed tax plan where he emphasized his perception of the plan and what it means for Americans.

“…I call it tax cuts. It is tax reform also, but I call it tax cuts. It’ll be the biggest cuts ever in the history of this country,” he told her, a statement that made headlines throughout the U.S. and abroad.

On the November 5 edition of “Sunday Morning Futures,” Vice President Mike Pence was interviewed by Bartiromo echoing support for the GOP tax reform plan, and she pressed him on whether there is room for compromise. “Even your own party is saying this does not reflect Republican principles of tax cutters?” she said to Pence.

“Well, there's always room for compromise. But what the president is not going to compromise is his determination to see this Congress pass historic tax cuts and pass them this year. And, the president is also absolutely committed … to make sure, as he says, that this is a middle- class miracle. That the majority of the tax relief benefits working families and working Americans, and benefits businesses that can create jobs for working Americans. We know that the details will be worked out as this legislation goes forward” said Pence in predicting what the American people can expect, and adding that, “While upper-income Americans probably stay where they're at, at the end of the day we want to see middle-class Americans benefit and we want to see businesses and job creators … be able to benefit and create jobs and make the kind of investments that will grow our economy.”

Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton have also been interviewed by Bartiromo as she mounted success after success during her 25-plus year career ranking her as a media powerhouse in the financial industry. In October, she spoke at the Future Investment Initiative, what’s being called a “landmark investment conference” in Saudi Arabia. She moderated a panel discussion on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data with high-profile participants including Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of Softbank Group. She also led a discussion with Peter Thiel, founder of Palantir Technologies and PayPal, Inc.

Shifting the spotlight back to pop culture, there’s another Bartiromo moment immortalized in Americana – besides her flirtatious fun with Prince – that her devoted followers may know about, but might come as news to some others. Joey Ramone, the front man of the Queens punk rock band, The Ramones wrote a song titled, "Maria Bartiromo," prior to his death in 2001. The unlikely friends had a great mutual respect for one another.

“Most people don’t know that Joey Ramone was an avid and smart investor,” said Bartiromo in an interview reflecting back on her friendship with Ramone that began when he started emailing her with comments and questions relating to the day’s financial industry news that she discussed on her shows.

Perhaps the last stanza of Ramone’s lyrics best captures the essence of the Bartiromo effect:

“I watch her at the big board every single day
While she´s reporting you best stay out of her way
I watch her every day
I watch her every night
She´s really outta sight”

 

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