CNBC is Dangerous

16 03 2009

My colleague Scott Gaillard penned a very instructive piece about Jim Cramer the other day. I agree with his sentiments entirely on Cramer. But I want to thank Jon Stewart for his willingness to take on this fight: for several years now I have complained about CNBC outward bias to anyone who was interested in listening. I had even said to many that I believe CNBC to be a bigger threat to progressive causes than Fox News. This was often met with laughter or a simple, “you’re crazy” from whomever I was speaking to.

Here is why:

CNBC is a network of the intelligentsia. The average CNBC viewer unlike the average FOX News viewer has the resources and the capability to shape opinion. CNBC is also a network staffed by intelligent, sometimes witty people unlike FOX which is staffed by talking heads and glorified news readers who parrot the same arguments over and over. Perhaps most importantly FOX talks about divisive social issues which have little bearing on our everyday life while CNBC talks about basic economics and the markets which affect everything we do regularly.

CNBC has popular show hosts like Cramer, and Mario Bartiromo whose job it appears is simply to pump up the market and the profits of the Wall Street tycoons that patron the network. Rick Santelli’s outburst at President Obama a few weeks ago was far from an isolated incident, but just the letting out of entitlement CNBC’s personalities have towards protecting lenders, investors and corporations from what they perceive as the heavy hand of Government.

Cramer is actually much more likable and objective than the average CNBC host on after 11 am ET. Bartiromo pushes anything that may help pump the market upwards while Larry Kudlow advocates cutting taxes almost every day. The Afternoon show “Power Lunch” features a round table discussion which inevitably leads to taxes and government spending and interference in the economy.

Jack Welch, the former head of GE which owns NBC Universal, and thus CNBC is a very market driven conservative. Welch is given credit for turning GE around but also likely had his impact on CNBC’s editorial content. Prior to the launch of FOX Business Channel, The Wall Street Journal signed a long term partnership with CNBC and their editorial content seems to make its way into the minds of CNBC’s personalities.

CNBC unlike rival Business network, Bloomberg News is determined to pump up certain stock or commodity prices quickly to ensure profits for certain investors and viewers. Using an entertaining backdrop, and knowledgeable anchors the network’s personalities all make rational arguments for why certain investments are stronger than others.

That’s not to say all of CNBC is bad. The very objective and credible David Faber as well as the worldly Erin Burnett, and cynical Mark Haines anchor the morning program which tends to be more focused on long term trends than short term profits. But the rest of the network with few exceptions have become the chattering bug for the capitalist class. Faber especially seems more concerned about objective journalism than simply protecting Wall Street investors.

While FOX News may speak for red state America, CNBC speaks for those Wall Street and anti Tax crusaders who want President Obama or any liberal to fail. The network unlike FOX uses intelligent arguments made by exceptional people, not parroted arguments made by college dropouts to make its case.

Jon Stewart has learned what I have known for years: CNBC is the TV network which represents the biggest threat to the progressive movement in the America.

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3 responses

16 03 2009
Lane

good stuff, KK

17 03 2009
Scott Gaillard

Kartik,

Thanks for posting my column. As time goes by I think CNBC will be less of a presence in the media. I think traders, who like their commentary to the right of Main Street America, can get the same thing on the Fox Business Channel. Serious student sof the news and investors will turn to Bloomberg.

Their is a larger conversation in this country that will likely never take place on CNBC, and that is “what is next? ” Top-down, supply-side, trickle down, lassez-faire, unregulated free market fundamentalism has failed. Not because Barack Obama was elected, because the market itself rejected this model. Obama was the effect of this rejection, not the cause.

It has been proven throughout U.S. history that unregulated free markets will eat themselves. From Cornelius Vanderbilt buying a printing -press to dilute his stock, to the Great Depression, the Petrodollar/Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s, the stock market crash of 1987, the S&L crisis and recession of 1989-1990, the Mexican peso crisis of 1994, the .com meltdown, Long Term Capital Management and the emerging markets meltdown of 1998, accounting fraud of Enron/WorldCom/Tyco in 2001and the stock market manipulations of the investments banks, which led to Sarbanes Oxley, to today’s credit crisis and recession.

Yet the question remains, what is next? It’s an issue that few seem ready to address and it’s sad that CNBC has chosen to not be part of the discussion.

15 03 2010
Barbara O' Brien

Dear Florida Voice,

My name is Barbara O’ Brien and my blogging at The Mahablog, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, and elsewhere on the progressive political and health blogophere has earned me the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.

I’m contacting you because I found your blog in a prominent political and health care site search and want to tell you about my newest blogging platform —the public concern of health care. Our shared concerns include health reform, public health, and asbestos contamination.

To increase awareness on these important issues, my goal is to get a resource link on your site or even allow me to provide a guest posting. Please contact me back, I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Barbara O’ Brien
barbaraobrien@maacenter.org

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