Either "CNBC Reports" anchor Dennis Kneale has a flair for the dramatic or he upset a lot of people in the blogosphere with his biting critique of the blogosphere's negativity on the economy.
On the July 1 broadcast of "CNBC Reports," Kneale responded to harsh, angry criticism from bloggers - even pointing out blogs like the Huffington Post, with an openly left-of-center perspective.
"Last night on this show, I stirred up an angry hornet's nest in the blogs, you know, when I criticized their mean-spirited negativity, bashed them for hiding behind their cowardly cloak of anonymity," Kneale said. "And, I called them dickweeds, a form of pond scum. Well, they have howled with outrage throughout the blogosphere. Blog sites like Dealbreaker, Gawker, Huffington Post, the Business Insider, Zero Hedge and more have incited an online mob to rush to their defense."
According to Kneale, the firestorm that ensued from his June 30 "Parting Shot" segment changed the Google search terms associated with his name.
"One result - when you enter my name into Google, which I try not to do because it only leads to heartache, ‘Dennis Kneale CNBC' shows up first," Kneale said. "And in the number two position, rising with a bullet - ‘Dennis Kneale idiot,' 14,000 entries and counting."
The former Forbes magazine managing editor described some of the posts. "Hundreds of posts went up today - some made veiled death threats," Kneale said. "Others issued more transparent calls for lesser violence. They're going to break my face, give me a good whooping. On Dealbreaker, there was this, quote, ‘DK needs to be put in a burlap sack and beaten with reeds.' Thanks for that. And then there's this one on Gawker, a sly reference comparing me to Beaker the Muppet - ‘His mouth is moving, but all I hear is ‘meep meep meep meep!' Funny stuff, guys."
Kneale's message to the bloggers: Bring it on. He told viewers he encouraged and welcomed these types of reactions to his commentary.
"But this bitter backlash has given me pause," Kneale said. "I mean, maybe I've painted with too broad a brush. I thought about that this morning. Perhaps I was unduly harsh. And then it came to me, no I wasn't. I'm not sorry at all. I meant every word of it. See the thing is, I don't bother reading the vitriol spewing out from the miscreants and these digital imbeciles, but apparently a lot of them sure are watching me. Nananee boo boo. So keep watching guys. Bloviating bloggers and their corps of complainers - I welcome their debate and dissent."
Of the bloggers' negativity on the economy, Kneale believed they were inexperienced. "But why are they so threatened by holding out a little bit of hope?" Kneale asked. "I think one reason is because a lot of them are so young. They've never seen anything like this before."
The "CNBC Reports" anchor listed his credentials as business journalist, noting that he has covered events that included market crashes and tech-stock bubbles.
"I covered the recession in 1982 with The Wall Street Journal and the market crash in 1987, and the recession of 1992," Kneale said. "At Forbes magazine, where I was managing editor, I covered that Internet bubble burst in 2000. And I joined CNBC when this horrible scary crash and recession started a year and a half or so ago."
The key to getting through hard times - to portray a vision of optimism, he said. Kneale pointed out economists say consumer behavior can effect the direction of a recovery in the private sector.
"Like my Wall Street pals tell me, we've seen this movie before," Kneale said. "We're going to be OK. Hope is the magical elixir of any rebound. The simple homespun truth is that how we feel, and I think we're starting to feel a lot better, will effect how we spend, save and invest. Economists have shown that how we feel about the possibility of say, inflation can have the same economic impact as the arrival of inflation itself, so why not build a little hope? Why not light a candle rather than curse the darkness? Unless of course, you ply the business of negativity and nihilistic cynicism in the blogosphere. It is the bitterest realm on earth."
The back-and-forth was set in motion when Kneale used his June 30 "Parting Shot" segment to point out how mean-spirited blogs had become. The vitriol, he said, was making the medium that had been purported to be the undoing of the mainstream media irrelevant as a news source.