We’ve done some thoughtful analysis of Vanity Fair’s Biz Babe Battle article, which is set to appear in the November Issue. Earlier this week we took a look at the flattering and unflattering photographic depictions of the article’s subjects, but now we’d like to take this chance to fully digest all the sexy prose, scathing barbs, and unsubstantiated rumors put forth in the piece.
And because the VF article is so damn long, we wouldn’t want to make you sift through the whole thing to find out the most exciting parts about CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett. So here’s our take.
I have a feeling Vanity Fair got a lot more than it bargained for with this piece. Actually, the famous fashion magazine everyone’s girlfriend/wife reads with a biblical fascination, might be way over its head with this one. Who would have expected that while attempting to cover a beauty pageant rivalry between Erin and Maria, the world’s entire financial system would begin to collapse? On the very same day that VF interviewed Maria, she was hard at work reporting on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. How’s that for inopportune timing? It may have actually been a case of ‘right place at the right time’ had Vanity Fair decided to cover any of the insight or impact these two Queens Of The Biz may have given.
Instead we’re given some sexy interlude stories about who hates or doesn’t hate who. We’re shown how much Maria looks down at some hot sexy Fox reporter who wears revealing blouses and short skirts. We’re told how Erin Burnett tripped over the sidewalk on her way to lunch. Not that I’m complaining. Oh believe me, I will get to all that good stuff in a minute! But for a brief second here in the intro I just wanted to point out what the point of it all is. This isn’t business news. It’s not market coverage. This is pure unadulterated Biz Babe porn. We here at WSF are not complaining in the least, merely setting the record straight.
So without further speculation and bullshitting let’s delve right into the meat of this thing.
Right off the bat, I’m ready to hand out one award — Most Unflattering Comparison: “At 41, Bartiromo is a star, the Barbara Walters of business news.”
How’s that for a boner killer?
But then here we go. The tone is set –- “Looking at the camera with her enormous, smoky blue eyes and speaking at a rapid-fire clip, she will do the job that has made her famous. In that familiar voice, with its faint Brooklyn accent…” That’s the Maria (hotter than Palin?) we’re looking for!
Fun Fact About Maria: Joey Ramone wrote a song about her.
But where is the catfight? SHOW ME THE CATFIGHT! No sooner was I letting those outraged thoughts fill my head when I came upon this – “ As she does almost every weekday, she reads her notes and checks her laptop for any breaking news, not even glancing at the television monitors that surround her, monitors filled with the image of Erin Burnett, the anchor of CNBC’s Street Signs” –Jeez, she doesn’t even GLANCE at Erin’s show? What a total bitch! Even the most evil chicks glance at their competition if only to make snide remarks about ‘what they decided to wear to work today’.
(Maria Bartiromo, left, and Erin Burnett appear together for one of the first times side by side on March 23, 2008‘s Meet The Press)
And now we also know that Maria is the power name on CNBC. For a few more paragraphs we are explained Maria’s undying tenacity and the unprecedented respect she demands from all of Wall Street’s biggest blowhards. Thanks for that! Also: Erin is the Street Sweetie, while Maria maintained the ‘Money Honey’ nickname? Ok, now that we’ve got that straight you can rest assured we’ll never use either of those two overused monikers.
Most Flattering Comparison: Comparing Maria to Erin is “like comparing Michael Jordan to a talented rookie.” Must be a very sexy Michael Jordan (from his Space Jam days, no doubt) and an equally sexy rookie like LeBron James or a very young Scottie Pippen in 1988.
Guess what, all you naysayers! Maria paid her dues. She was roughed up a bit while serving as the first daily on-the-stock-exchange-floor correspondent. A bunch of trader assholes shoved her and pushed her around a bit. But that didn’t stop her. Wow those guys are mean.
Biggest Maria Scandal: Did she screw Citigroup exec Todd Thomson during a 17-hour private jet flight back from China? Probably not, but back in early 2007 everyone was pretty excited about it. I’m sure we would have made a big deal out of it too.
Highly Arousing Erin Burnett Description #1 – “With sultry blue eyes, sharp, almost perfect features, dimples, and a lazy, bedroomy smile, Burnett not only was knowledgeable about financial issues but had a knack for translating them into plain English… She had a casual, breezy on-air persona. She was also a bit irreverent—and spontaneous.”
A Video That I Will Pay TOP DOLLAR For: While meeting with the Vanity Fair writer, Erin Burnett tripped while running over to the table.
Insider Tidbit: Erin wanted to cite a study that said stimulus checks were being spent on porn (ahem, does she read WSF?) and got shot down for using ‘American Stimulus: Porn or Paving?’ on air. Those CNBC prudes won’t let us enjoy anything.
Knock You Off Your Feet Fox Biz Babe Description: “On the floor of the N.Y.S.E., the Fox women are referred to as “the Foxtrots,” says the producer of a rival network, because “they trot around the floor in unbelievably unprofessional clothing”—tight dresses, cleavage showing, six-inch fuck-me heels. Never mind that the N.Y.S.E. dress code calls for women to cover their arms.” Whoa, major burn!
The Interactive Reader Guessing Game: Any idea who this is? — [Maria] 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.” What’s with all the Fox Business hate? Is this whole thing just a hit piece on the lovely Foxy Business ladies? Shameless.
At the end of the article, both Erin and Maria ramble on for what seems like dayyysss explaining how there is no rivalry between the two of them. They claim they are friends and some diabolical marketer from CNBC or Fox Business planted the rumors of resentment and catfights to either increase rating or disparage their credibility. A likely story.
Either way, this was a very entertaining piece. I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at biz babes the same way again.
Vanity Fair: Who Is Wall Street’s Queen B.?, November