Fox Liberal Pundit Pushes Back on Network’s ‘Woke’ SVB Narrative

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Jessica Tarlov, co-host of the Fox News roundtable show The Five, took issue Tuesday with conservative pundits—some on her own network—placing the blame for Silicon Valley Bank’s failure on diversity initiatives in the workplace and prioritizing “woke-ness” above financial concerns.

Tarlov began by referencing a New York Post story from Monday in which a tech insider told the Republican-friendly outlet that SVB was “the bank of the Democrats.” “If it was the Bank of MAGA, what are the chances it would be bailed out?” the person added. “There’s not a chance in hell.”

SVB “basically was” a “MAGA” bank, Tarlov said, citing the involvement of billionaire Republican political donor and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, whose Founders Fund suddenly withdrew all of its money from the bank last week before the government took it over, as Bloomberg reported. Thiel, Tarlov noted, supported Trump-allied Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Blake Masters in last year’s midterms.

Turning to the arguments that “wokeness” was a root cause of the bank’s collapse, Tarlov didn’t buy them.

“When you look at who is running that bank, it’s a bunch of white guys and three women, and the jobs that those three women have, by the way, are roles that traditionally women have: [human resources], the [chief marketing officer], and then the chief risk officer, who obviously was not doing a great job there,” Tarlov said, which prompted co-host Jesse Watters to ask if the problem was that the bank needed “more white guys.”

“No,” Tarlov replied, clearly not having it. “I’ve never encountered someone who works in finance who cares more about having black faces or trans people at the table more than they care about money. So, obviously investing in these things is good for the bottom line and it is not just some woke venture. Who is on the board is not who is running these things.”

Watters, jumping in, exclaimed that “whoever is running it is an idiot.”

Tarlov agreed, singling out CEO Greg Becker, who is under pressure to return the $3.6 million in company stock he sold on Feb. 27.

Becker also appeared before Congress in 2015 to argue in favor of raising the threshold established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act at which banks are deemed systemically important and therefore subjected to annual stress testing, among other requirements. Three years later, President Donald Trump signed legislation moving it up from $50 billion to $250 billion in assets. By the end of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve, SVB was the 16th largest bank nationally with $209 billion in assets.

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