I just got my weekly e-mail from Time Magazine with their top 10 stories of the week. At #9, shockingly, was an excellent piece by James Poniewozik on (of all things) CNBC! Jon Stewart has clearly unleashed a bright light on the network, and we are happily seeing a critical judgment from such traditional media as Time. More after the fold....
Read the article for yourself....
I particularly like the title, "CNBC Under Fire: Sticking Up for the Big Guy?", and this line...
"To watch CNBC today is to enter an alternative universe, where élites are populists, Wall Street is Main Street and bank executives are the oppressed."
Poniewozik gets it. I know this since I have CNBC on in my office all day long. Not that I want to tune into it. I HAVE TO since I run a small "plain vanilla" hedge fund myself, and have to monitor the network for breaking news and key interviews with important business leaders, politicians, and investors. CNBC moves markets. Unfortunately, CNBC also foments or exacerbates moves in the market with their editorializing or sensationalized reporting and commentaries.
One classic example was the aftermath of the Geithner speech on February 10th. Right after it ended, Larry Kudlow and his female GOP-slanted co-hosts on "The Call" slammed Geithner for the speech's lack of details in a vitriolic, almost mean-spirited manner. In my opinion, they made what would have been a 200 point Dow decline a 382 collapse by the close through their shaping of the day's narrative.
CNBC, during the dot-com bubble, accentuated the bubble through constant promotion of shady companies and their constant parade of bullish mutual fund managers and sell-side analysts. Noted bear Bill Fleckenstein nicknamed the network "Bubblevision" due to their cheerleading complicity in fomenting the bubble.
These days, CNBC still promotes. Their bias remains bullish, as the article points out, and their promotion is largely through a Republican corporatist "free market capitalism" prism. I am convinced that 80% or more of their on-air talent is conservative. Those I am sure of include:
Michelle Caruso Cabrera
Those that lean GOP but could be more moderate include Erin Burnett, Rebecca Jarvis, Bill Griffith, and Sue Herrera.
The only clearly moderate voices would include Donnie Deutch, John Harwood, Steve Leisman, Melissa Lee, and David Faber. I don't think there is a single liberal voice on the network.
Oh, and what about Cramer? He claims to be a Democrat, voted for Obama, but he's just as much of a political charlatan (or should I say chameleon) as he is a stock-picking phony. He not only had a segment to "Obama-proof" your portfolio. He has called Obama a "Lenninist", and an "enemy of the state". Some Obama supporter, that Cramer is! Clearly, he knows his audience (rich, white, GOP-leaning) and is pandering to them just as most of the rest of the network went on an obvious Obama-bashing campaign, starting with that Feb. 10th Geithner speech. Less than one month into his administration, the network clearly made a conscious decision to go after Obama's people and shape the debate toward the elite and entrenched corporate interests. In many ways, they are now worse than Fox News, as hard as that is to believe.
Why would GE have both a left and right-leaning network? I think it's not only to cover their flanks and reach all audiences. In my view, GE is the ultimate entrenched corporation, and CNBC speaks for the top brass at the company. MSNBC is the "decoy" that makes us think NBC Universal is fair, or even progressive. Nonsense. That network doesn't reach the corporate power brokers the way CNBC does, and so they are trying to shape public policy much more aggressively through the network with the influential and wealthy demographics. At least that's my theory.
Kudos to Time Magazine and James Poniewozik for being spot-on with their CNBC article today.
UPDATE: My first recommended diary! I keep trying to point out CNBC's failings, and it finally has gotten noticed. Thanks!
UPDATE #2: A couple valid comments about how the there is no "conspiracy" by GE to "cover their flanks" by offering a decoy network in MSNBC and a network that comports with their top managment views in CNBC. However, while that's probably true, and they are just trying to make money by appealing to two distinct demos, don't doubt for a minute that CNBC has editorial content completely in alignment with Jeff Immelt & Co.