The brouhaha over CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo’s role in the ouster of Citigroup’s executive Todd Thomson, in my humble opinion, is not so much about the money. While there may be lingering (and uncomfortable) questions about her jetsetting lifestyle in what is now known as “Mariagate” in some quarters, of greater concern, I think, should be her journalistic integrity.
Bartiromo may seem like the embodiment of professional journalism, but it has become increasingly clear that she doesn’t so much as break news as allow herself to be manipulated by her sources. By doing who-knows-what-with-whom and having a personal interests in the companies that she’s covering, her reporting is as lopsided as her breasts in her Vera Wang gown. It’s almost as bad as Suzy Wetlaufer, former editor of Harvard Business Review, who was forced to resign from her US$277,000-a-year job because of her dalliance with Jack Welch, then chairman and CEO of General Electric, after doing an interview with Welch for the publication in 2002.
To make matters worse, Bartiromo has even trademarked her “Money Honey” nickname. When a journalist is more concerned with his/her image than how it affects the impartial nature of his/her reporting, we have to call into question his/her credibility. No wonder, like Welch, Bartiromo also winds up as a columnist for BusinessWeek.