The potentially historic midterm elections are a week away and left-wing voices are getting more shrill and paranoid than ever before.
On CNBC’s Oct. 26 “The Call,” left-wing talker and frequent MSNBC guest Mike Papantonio went on a nearly six-minute conspiratorial, anti-corporation, anti-conservative candidate rant suggesting GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle was raising secret money from the Chinese government in order to help them ship American jobs overseas.
With what appears to be a devastating election looming for his party, is President Obama attempting to follow in the footsteps of one of his predecessors and moderate toward the center?
Not if choosing Pete Rouse to replace chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is any indication, according to CNBC’s Larry Kudlow. On the Oct. 1 broadcast of “The Call,” CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood predicted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wasn’t going anywhere, but Obama would take a pro-business tack with the leadership of Department of Commerce. However, Kudlow, citing a “deep political insider,” had a different forecast.
“The Commerce thing is a great idea and you're probably going to be right, but I know that you don't hear this,” Kudlow said. “But I had dinner last night with a deep political insider who told me that Michael Bloomberg is the next Treasury secretary. I heard that. All I'll say is this is a serious insider who said the deal has been done and that Bloomberg is the next Treasury secretary.”
Still that method has detractors. However, CNBC "The Call" co-anchor Trish Regan, with a panel decidedly against her, made the case for tax cuts. On NBC's July 11 broadcast of "The Chris Matthews Show," Regan explained how tax cuts encourage businesses to help reverse the trend of high unemployment and that businessmen are worried about the end of the Bush tax cuts.
"They absolutely are," Regan said. "They're concerned about it and this is one of the issues when it comes to hiring. They're hesitant right now when it comes to bringing more employees on board because one, you're not seeing final demand because consumers aren't spending that much, and number two, they're dealing with the tax consequences of having more people in their companies. So that's definitely an issue."
"Well, you know, it's all about, in my opinion, definition and choice," Santelli said. "Definition, I don't disagree with our guest, Richard [DeKaser, president of Woodley Park Research], about stimulus, but I haven't seen any stimulus. I've seen a lot of spending. And in terms of choice, austerity isn't something people are going to volunteer for. The creditors are going to force it on them. I think these issues are much different than we're selling them. You know, we don't have a new Hoover Dam. We don't have a new electric grid. We paid a bunch of salaries and benefits and extension benefits, unemployment with a lot of that money that you save jobs because you paid teachers because states couldn't afford it I don't think any of that really falls under a definition of stimulus."
Here we go again. We've already seen how ineffective the previous $787-billion stimulus Congress and the President forced through earlier this year has been with curbing unemployment, as it has raced into double-digits over the previous months. But will there be an effort to force through another one?
"John, what would you say, I don't know, the chances of some sort of an additional jobs stimulus - however you'd like to characterize that, or whatever form it would take or price tag it might have ?" Burnett asked.
But it is also something that some in the financial media are reluctant to support, especially judging from the tone of CNBC "The Call" co-host Trish Regan and comments CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman. On the Nov. 20 broadcast of "The Call," CME Group reporter Rick Santelli made the case that Federal Reserve should be audited. He cited opposition to the Fed audit proposal from Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., which was based on Congress' inability to be fiscally responsible.
"He said, ‘You know, there independence is important to protect the soundness of the dollar,'" Santelli said. "Has he read any papers lately or looked at any charts? Come on. Amen, amen that this process is happening. They're not taking away their independence to make a decision on interest rates. We need to know where the money is going. I remember when Ben Bernanke faced committees of elected officials and said, ‘We can't audit the Fed because then you might look unfavorably on some of the counterparties we deal with. That's like finding paraphernalia under your kids bed and then not asking where he got it."
Invoking the word "crisis" might conjure up images of a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on the U.S. Gulf Coast or some other situation where decisive action much be taken to avert impending doom. But, is it appropriate to suddenly attach it to the key issue put forth by Obama administration, such as health care?
On July 30, CNBC dedicated its three-hour morning show "Squawk Box" to the issue and labeled the special coverage: "America's Healthcare Crisis." CNBC used the word "crisis" despite polls (including a July 30 Time article) that found 80 percent of the respondents satisfied with their health care.
It's the new "C" word according to Melissa Francis, co-host of CNBC's "The Call." Using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC is officially a no- no.
Francis, who was on location in Vienna, Austria at the OPEC summit, reported on an exchange between herself and Ali Al-Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia during the May 28 broadcast of "Squawk on the Street." In an interview, Al-Naimi took issue with Francis using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC:
Francis: When do you think we'll hit that $75-to-80 range that seem like almost everybody in the cartel agrees is sort of the equilibrium price?
Al-Naimi: You have to be careful calling OPEC a cartel. I resent that.
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
On CNBC's April 24 "The Call," Santelli expressed his frustration with an overreaction by the government to solve the financial crisis when Kudlow asked him about the expansion of bailout obligations from the original TARP bailout price tag $750 billion to the $3 trillion.
"Listen - I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't say all that," Santelli said. "Do I disagree with it? Probably not. But, I'll take it a step farther - in the beginning, whether it was the commercial paper program, there was a need just like babies have a need for milk. But I don't need to drink a couple of gallons anymore."
For the second time in a week, CNBC's Rick Santelli faced down one of the standard-bearers of liberalism.
First, he explained to Huffington Post editor and founder Arianna Huffington on the March 31 "Squawk Box" that markets are more efficient in correcting economic hardship, in the banking and housing sectors. On CNBC's April 3 "The Call," Santelli took on University of California at Berkeley economics professor and former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich.
According to Reich, the agreement brokered between President Barack Obama and other G20 leaders - to give the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $1.1 trillion - was positive and should be celebrated.
Now that CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli has mysteriously disappeared from the spotlight after his criticism of President Barack Obama's mortgage proposal in February and now that CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has been marginalized after his lackluster appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on March 12, could the new target of the Obama machine and the left and their accomplices in the media be CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow?
James Rainey, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, set his sights on Kudlow in his March 13 column. Kudlow's show is one of the last vestiges of pro-free market capitalism left at a time when populism has become the theme of the day.
Rainey's column, headlined as a critique of CNBC focused on two personalities - Kudlow and Cramer, even though Cramer has been raked over the coals since he made his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
"Listen, I think the government should stay out," Santelli said to Kudlow about the banking system. "I mean, look at the last plan where we put that money in there. There was talk about obviously the preferred shares and the dividend payments and paying it back, and now that's under review. You know, so we're revising the last plan. We're throwing more money in."
The resolution, according to Santelli, would be to protect the depositors, but let the institutions fail.
It's been called "the rant heard around the world," after The Drudge Report linked to the video with a screaming red headline. However Rick Santelli may have given CNBC viewers a preview of what effects Obamanomics will have on the populace.
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" Feb. 19, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter, along with several traders, expressed his outrage about President Barack Obama's plan to "spread the wealth" for people that didn't deserve it. He said a stimulus should go to people who live responsibly rather than some sort of housing bailout to people that lived irresponsibly.
"I tell you what, I have an idea," Santelli shouted. "The new administration is big on computers and technology - how about this, President and new administration? Why don't you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages, or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a change to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water."
"This is Larry Kudlow - one of the folks invited to a conservative fest with the president-elect last night," Dobbs said. "I'd like to just share, everybody - what a Larry Kudlow-conservative person does after meeting with the president-elect."
Dobbs cited a few lines from Kudlow's appearance on CNBC's Jan. 14 "The Call" - "He is charming, he is terribly smart, bright, well informed. He has a great sense of humor." Then Dobbs skipped moments in Kudlow's exchange with "The Call" co-host Melissa Francis and added - "He's so well informed and he loves to deal with both sides of an issue."
During a report on Thursday’s American Morning, CNN correspondent Alina Cho used personal anecdotes in attempt to show how Barack Obama’s Chief-of-Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel has “softened over the years.” Cho cited the outgoing Illinois congressman’s unnamed rabbi, who said he is “really just a nice guy, intensely spiritual, even polite.” She also stated how despite being labeled a “street fighter with a killer instinct,” Emanuel also has more of sensitive side: “His congressional colleagues say he’s the kind of guy who will chew you out then send you a cheesecake.”
A clip of comedian Andy Samberg doing an impression of Emanuel on Saturday Night Live preceded Cho’s report, which began 18 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. The correspondent began by bringing up Emanuel’s notorious use of “colorful language,” which Samberg parodied in his sketch. She also contrasted the “street fighter with a killer instinct” imagery with his rabbi’s “nice guy” label.
You've got to love brutal honesty, especially when it comes from the financial media.
The Senate's version of a bailout bill, which passed last night by a margin of 74-25, included "sweeteners" - or obscure tax breaks - including benefits for the manufacturer of wooden arrows used in children's toys and another for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
As the Bush administration on Friday proposed a sweeping government bailout to address the nation's financial woes, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood told viewers that such a move could help John McCain's presidential campaign because the "crisis on Wall Street benefits Barack Obama."
This came just days after CNN's David Gergen and Candy Crowley made similar assertions with the latter stating that "horrific" headlines from Wall Street were exactly what the Obama campaign wanted.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange from CNBC's "The Call" Friday (video embedded right):
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
Two segments that aired on two days straight on CNN underscored the network’s alignment with those who stand against a gasoline tax holiday during the summer driving season. First, Carol Costello’s segment on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" program used last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis to advance the idea that "things like road construction and bridge repair" would suffer as a result of the lost revenues. The following day, on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, on McCain’s proposal, asking, "So when you say that he would take the money from reserves, in other words, we would go further into debt to pay for this tax break?" During the interview, a chyron or graphic on the screen claimed, "Saving on Gas Could Cost You: Whether to Suspend Fed Gas Taxes."
"[T]he truth is, ["Today" co-anchor] Meredith [Vieira], it doesn't matter if we're in a recession," Bartiromo said on NBC's February 6 "Today." "We can talk ourselves into a recession, and that seems to be what we're doing right now and that certainly begets more weakness."
The media coverage has apparently affected voters. According to the February 6 Washington Times, an exit survey from the "Super Tuesday" primaries showed 47 percent of Democratic voters and 40 percent of Republican voters said the economy was the most important issue in making their choice at the polls.
Recession stories have a lot in common with global warming stories - there are a lot of them and you hear only one side. And like global warming, recession is the subject of a Newsweek cover story, appearing on the front of the magazine's February 4 issue.
"The Great Global Market Freak-Out of 2008 has everyone asking whether the United States - already on the road to recession - is entering into a protracted period of economic trouble where jobs will be slashed, prices will continue to rise and the dollar will keep falling; and if so, whether the declining U.S. economy will pull the rest of the world down with it," Gross wrote. "A recession is defined as a widespread contraction in economic activity lasting more than a few months, and because of the lag in financial data, recessions typically aren't officially declared until long after they start. In short, the United States could already be in one."