Bartiromo thought she was interviewing Dennis Organ, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, the self-proclaimed world’s largest pork producer. In fact, she had interviewed Matt Johnson, press coordinator for the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere. For six minutes.
The embarrassment is hardly the first time that Bartiromo is making headlines for head-scratching behavior on her show. Wednesday’s event follows several segments of Bartiromo’s show in recent weeks that reinforce conspiracy theories about the election without any setbacks.
The repeated mistakes and false information from Bartiromo suggest a lack of editorial standards and basic fact-checking. A quick internet search for Smithfield’s CEO points to the company’s official management page, including a photograph of Organ – who does not look like Johnson (Organ is a bald redhead, Johnson is not.)
In response to a request for comment, a Fox News spokeswoman pointed to Bartiromo’s correction in the air, promising more vigilance.
“Fox Business aired a segment that was a complete scam,” Keira Lombardo, Smithfield Foods’ chief executive, said in a statement. “A simple Google search for a photo of our CEO would have prevented this from happening. This made it possible to broadcast false information, and Fox has sent an apology for this complete lapse.”
A crazy pretentious conversation
Wednesday’s interview started innocently enough. Bartiromo asked his guest about a Covid-19 outbreak at a Smithfield Foods South Dakota facility and the company’s vaccine distribution plans. Johnson (posing as Organ) responded as a CEO wanted with company speech and abruptness about the company’s “dedicated and resilient” staff, “brave” employees and a commitment to provide “comprehensive personal protective equipment” to employees. Nothing to see here. Yet.
Two minutes into the interview, things took a turn.
“As the new CEO and President of Smithfield, I personally promise that we will do better, and the first change under my leadership is transparency and at times brutal honesty.”
Johnson went on to say that the food industry could contribute to the next pandemic, claiming that farms are “petri dishes” for infectious diseases. While grinning, stopping, “ummer” and “you know” throughout the exciting interview, he certainly did a lot to tip Bartiromo and her staff that he was not who he claimed to be.
At the end of his show, Bartiromo issued a correction.
“We want to apologize to Dennis Organ, Smithfield Foods and our audience for making this mistake,” she said. “We will, of course, pay more attention.”
A story of misinformation
On November 29, Bartiromo gave President Donald Trump his first television interview since the election, and the conversation was filled with lies and conspiracy theories that went unchecked. Bartiromo opened the interview and said, “The facts are on your side.” After the president erroneously said that election fraud had taken place, Bartiromo said, “this is outrageous and we can not let America’s election be ruined.”
Last week, Bartiromo said that “an Intel source” “tells me that President Trump actually won the election,” even though Fox called the election Biden. Election officials, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have said there was no widespread election fraud.
She also often reinforced conspiracy theories and false information prevalent on Fox News about alleged voting machine irregularities – including that software was used to manipulate elections and that there was a direct link between the companies that make voting machines in America and the liberal philanthropic billionaire George. Soros. Fox programs hosted by Bartiromo as well as hosts Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs later ran a news package that refuted those allegations after technology company Smartmatic voted to send Fox News a legal threat accusing the network of participating in a “disinformation campaign” against it.