You don’t have to read too deeply between the lines of the big Vanity Fair story on Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett’s alleged rivalry to see that—despite denials from both the Money Honey and the Street Sweetie—writer Suzanna Andrews definitely believes there really is a struggle going on at CNBC for who should be the Queen Bee of Wall Street.
Let’s start with the clothes. Although it is cast as a criticism of Fox Business Network’s “Foxtrotts”—so called on the floor of the NYSE because they trot around, partly hobbled by miniskirts and six-inch heels—it’s hard not to read a bit of Burnett bashing psychodrama in Bartiromo’s remarks. From VF:
What Bartiromo thinks of all this is impossible to detect as she walks across the exchange floor in June, on a day when Fox has put nearly all of its correspondents on the floor in advance of a huge party the network is throwing for traders. Dressed conservatively in a khaki Escada pantsuit, with a green T-shirt and burgundy Manolos, she seems not to notice the women in the tiny dresses as she stops to give her autograph to an elderly gentleman visiting the exchange. She thanks him and turns to climb the stairs to CNBC’s mezzanine studio when a Fox correspondent rushes up to her. She is wearing towering heels, tons of makeup, and a scarlet dress so tight you can see her underwear line and unbuttoned to expose her black lace bra. “Hi, Maria!” she shrieks. Maria’s eyes pop open, but then she smiles and kisses her. It’s only later that she says she was “taken aback.” The Fox reporter is a friend, and insisting that her name not be published, she says, “I did tell her, ‘Don’t ever show up here with your skirt up your butt and your shirt down low like that.’ I said, ‘It’s a distraction, it’s ridiculous, and it’s not what you want.’ I don’t know who’s telling her to do this, [but] there are a lot of women doing that.”
Later in the article Bartiromo returns to this theme of sluts in skirts.
“I think it’s a disservice to us as women and as businesspeople, by the way, to compare what you’re seeing from a handful of situations to women who are really trying to make it in business. You could look at CNBC and see women who are beautiful and smart and they’re not showing all this skin: Becky Quick, Erin Burnett, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera—[all] beautiful successful women doing great,” she says. “It’s more than prancing around the Stock Exchange with little dresses on. We’re covering business and it doesn’t matter what you look like if you don’t know your stuff. If you don’t have the goods, you will not last.”
In case you’ve missed what all this is about, here’s how Andrews describes her meeting with Burnett.
“Even under the watchful eye of a CNBC public-relations handler, Burnett cannot contain herself. Rushing over to meet us at a café table in front of the N.Y.S.E., she nearly trips as she plonks herself down in a chair. She has tucked a white sweater into the skirt of her blue business suit. It’s an hour before she is to go on-air and the slit on her skirt has ripped all the way to her hip,” Andrews writes.
And, if that’s too subtle, the magazine makes sure to put Bartiromo in a white skirt suit posing in a bank vault, while Erin sips a cocktail in a long red dress in just about the most clubby setting imaginable. OK, Vanity Fair, we get it!
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