During the panel discussion on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, host David Gregory gushed over President Obama's Friday night address to the nation on the budget deal: "The message was clear. Here he was to save the day, that it was President Obama – and he went to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday – that he was able to rise above the fray. That's the image they want Americans to see."
The rest of the political panel agreed with Gregory's assessment. Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver argued: "I think the President appears to be a mediator, and I think he, he rightfully gets some credit for averting the show – shutdown." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer declared: "I think the President came out very much above this week, above the fray." New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper proclaimed: "[Obama] was trying very much to appear above the – above the fray....definitely did the political calculus that he has to appear above it all, presidential."
Appearing on Monday's "Today" to discuss the debate over reducing the nation's debt, CNBC host Erin Burnett declared to co-host Matt Lauer: "The problem is our revenue, what the government takes in, in taxes. What you pay every month out of your paycheck is way smaller, in fact, it's only somewhere around $2 trillion a year."
After Lauer asked about the relationship between government spending and the debt, Burnett acknowledged: "They are related, but really, to tackle this issue, we do have to tackle entitlements. When you look at Medicare and Social Security, it's 40% of our budget." However, she quickly denounced Republican attempts to use a raise in the debt ceiling to cut such spending: "Those are the questions we have to answer, but not through playing chicken on the debt ceiling."
On Thursday morning's "Squawk Box," CNBC's on-air editor Rick Santelli sounded off against raising the debt ceiling, the Democrat-controlled congress' failure to pass a budget last year, and "spendthrift" politicians. The rant echoed his famous 2009 diatribe where he called for a Chicago "Tea Party."
"It's a matter of principle. If we can't do the discretionary spending now, what chance do the conservatives have to tackle everything we know?" he said of more budget cuts.
"But you turn on certain channels that are supposed to be news, and they vilify anything to get it under control. They say we're going to kill kids? You know, we will have problems with children if the whole damn country goes bankrupt. Wake up!"
On MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, Steve Liesman robustly defended raising gasoline taxes as a way to address rising oil prices.
The CNBC senior economics reporter minced no words to show his support for hiking the unpopular consumption tax in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery: "I want to offer that one of the real solutions here is a gas tax."
After positing that the problem with oil prices "is not that they're high, it's how they oscillate," Liesman claimed higher gas taxes "would accomplish two things: one, it would create incentives to use less of it and two, create a little more certainty around the price, which by the way is one of the things making gasoline a bad fuel for the economy."
CNBC's Erin Burnett made a gaffe on Tuesday's Street Signs as she covered a new app for Apple devices which is aimed to assist Catholics to go to confession. Burnett wondered if the app, which costs $1.99 would bring the Church "back to the age of 'condolences' (sic), those things that Martin Luther so abhorred" [audio available here].
The anchor reported on the app, "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," just before the top of the 3 pm Eastern hour, noting that the new program had received the approval of Church authorities. Burnett gave a brief explanation of the app before making her historical error:
Jobs are heading up and down at the same time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the morning of Feb. 4 that only 36,000 jobs were added in the month of January, but the unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent.
The mainstream news media will likely latch on to the dropping unemployment rate, despite job gains that were less than one-fourth of the consensus estimate of 148,000 jobs added. One of the CNBC panelists noted that the increase was "way below consensus."
CNBC's Rick Santelli even lashed out at some of the CNBC "Squawk Box" panel that were discussing the latest jobs report. (VIDEO BELOW FOLD)
As most of the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day while attempting to move passed the tragic events in Tucson, CNBC's Donny Deutsch decided to ask Reverend Al Sharpton if Arizona should secede from the union.
Such happened on Monday's "Morning Joe" as the crew discussed gun laws in the wake of the shootings (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent "surprised" analysts on Jan. 7, but Mesirow Financial's chief economist Diane Swonk warned CNBC viewers that it was an "anomaly."
The drop in unemployment rate confused some because in the same report the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 103,000 overall nonfarm payroll gains in December 2010.
CNBC's "Squawk Box" panel reacted to the falling unemployment rate by calling it "sort of a fluke," an "anomaly" and predicting it would rise again. CNBC's Rick Santelli suggested the rate dropped "because people are disenchanted' and dropping out of the labor force."
Do a media company's political activities affect the way its subsidiaries report the news? The folks at MSNBC sure think so. That channel's hosts have insisted ad nauseum that Fox News parent company News Corporation's political actives compromise the ability of Fox to report the news fairly and accurately.
But MSNBC has, as I have noted before, shilled for policies that would enrich its parent company, General Electric, under the guise of "environmental awareness." Today the Washington Post exposed yet another such conflict, reporting that GE took $16 billion in loans from the Federal Reserve during 2008 and 2009.
On Sunday, NBC Universal launched its annual "Green Week," as part of the company's "Green is Universal" environmental awareness campaign.
As NBC embarks on yet another week of "environmentally themed programming," it falls to media watchdogs to point out the massive conflict presented by NBC parent company General Electric's significant financial interests in the policies "Green Week" indirectly advances.
GE stands to make millions from Democrats' "clean energy" agenda. The company has invested massive amounts of money in technology that can only be profitable through government intervention or subsidization.
When it comes to the increasing sex, violence, and profanity in entertainment media, the social libertines are indifferent. They insist that children will hardly be warped or ruined by the media they consume. They chortle at the paranoia of Hollywood critics. Their mantra: If you don't like it, just turn the channel.
But if the issue isn’t indecency, but instead, say, obesity – so many of those titans of “tolerance” suddenly become the censors. Behold San Francisco, the paradise of permissive sexual attitudes. The city council may welcome flowers in your hair, but they have just voted to ban “Happy Meal” toys unless the “happy” menu is low in fat and sodium and includes fruits and vegetables.
Apparently, that villain Ronald McDonald has been leading a Vast Child-Fattening Conspiracy.
Food-filled winter holidays will soon arrive. But the liberal news media have already spent recent days comparing soda to an illegal drug, promoting a toy ban in kid’s Happy Meals, and generally bashing fast food companies for giving customers exactly what they want.
CNBC’s Erin Burnett outdid food police groups on Nov. 8, when she compared soda to cocaine in a segment discussing a “fat tax.” After citing some claims about people being fatter and living shorter lives, Burnett asked a beverage company spokesperson: “Is your industry killing us?”
One day before what many say will be an historic election; CNBC appears to finally be embracing one of the most famous moments in the network’s history: A Feb. 19, 2009 “rant heard around the world” by CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli, which is credited by many for igniting the Tea Party movement.
Throughout the day on Nov. 1, CNBC aired a 30-second spot encouraging viewers to tune into its network for election night coverage. The promo said to tune to CNBC “when the economy is topic A” and concluded with part of Santelli’s famous rant, “President Obama, are you listening?”
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.
So we’re back to this again? We’re 21 days out of the midterm elections and the media are back looking to capitalize on anti-Wall Street sentiments.
On the Oct. 13 broadcast of NBC’s “Today,” host Matt Lauer referenced an Oct. 12 Wall Street Journal report to his guest, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, about Wall Street pay hitting a record $144 billion. Lauer, of course, just looked at the headline without examining exactly why pay on Wall Street reached that level. (The Journal cites “firms, benefiting from low interest rates and strong international markets” as a reason.) Instead Lauer argued that executives were somehow solely responsible for the financial collapse – not the irresponsible borrowers and asleep-at-the-wheel regulators – and therefore not entitled to such pay.
It seems like a phony issue for the a struggling Obama administration to be promoting – the allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may or may not be using foreign contributions to fuel political ads against Democrats. However, President Barack Obama would be best advised to make sure his party wasn’t doing something similar before using the bully pulpit to push this meme.
What is it with Hollywood personalities going to Venezuela and being swept off their feet by the thuggish dictator Hugo Chávez. They come back with these stories claiming he is just misconstrued by the media and that he’s really a great guy.
“I was telling – my two most interesting interviews I think I’ve ever done are Milton Friedman, very influential on me, and also Hugo Chávez, because when I interviewed him I was struck by how much I like him,” she explained. “He’s very funny. He is so charming. He is smooth. He could be a stand-up comedian. He is a seductor, as I suspect most dictators are – that’s how they get to where they are.”
“Well you see, bubble’s a complicated term because a bubble to me implies that you’re never going to get your money back,” Cramer said. “People say that there's bubble in bonds – you will get money back just you may not do that well. Bubble in Chinese real estate – entirely possible. The Chinese economy is a growth economy and can sustain a bubble in one area and not others. The gold bubble is what people talk about. They talk about it when gold’s down for a given day but -- I think as our resident gold expert, I mean you could tell us – finding costs have gone up. There’s just not a lot around.”
So more government isn’t the answer to all of our problems? For a brief moment, that seemed to be the message Huffington Post editor-in-chief and co-founder Arianna Huffington was conveying.
On CNBC’s Oct. 5 broadcast of “Squawk Box,” Huffington, author of “Third World America” explained what she thought the role of government should be in an American economic system. Now whether she was playing to the CNBC pro-capitalist audience or not remains to be seen, but she did depart with the so-called progressive/liberal view of government’s role in the economy, and criticized the Obama administration.
“[S]o when it comes to the Obama administration’s policies, the problem has been rewarding people for taking excessive risks, which is not at the heart of capitalism,” Huffington said. “You and I have talked about that before. At the heart of capitalism is the assumption that if you take excessive risks and you fail, you’re on your own. The taxpayer is not on the hook. And we still have left the systemic risk in the system despite the financial reform bill that was passed. ‘Too big to fail’ has not ended and that really is the potential problem in the future.”
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.”
As we near the midterm elections, left-wingers will be reading from the same tired playbook – the attempted marginalization of the Tea Party movement, but just more of it. But more and more, they are discovering the tactics are tougher to defend, as their side has their own fringe, loose-cannon elements.
KERNEN: I want to talk to you about something, later about -- you're calling Tea Party people wing nuts and fruit loops? RENDELL: Not all of them. KERNEN: Not all of them? You saw the president, the president basically said that most of them, most of the Tea Party “are directed and financed by powerful and special interests lobbies,” this is in the Journal today. That's most of them and the rest of them are bigots. So you're either directed by special interests … RENDELL: I don't believe it. KERNEN: Seventy-one percent of Republicans, according to this poll today in the Journal identify – so, you've just trashed the entire half of the country. CARUSO-CABRERA: He says slowly but surely, the GOP is taken over by whackos. RENDELL: There’s no question about that.
It’s a really skewed view of the relationship between citizens and the government – that anything you earn and get to keep by not paying to the government in the form of taxes is a show of benevolence from the government.
“WANT to give affluent households a present worth $700 billion over the next decade?” Thaler wrote. “In a period of high unemployment and fiscal austerity, this idea may seem laughable. Amazingly, though, it is getting traction in Washington. I am referring, of course, to the current debate about whether to extend all, or just some, of the tax cuts of President George W. Bush – cuts that are due to expire at year-end. They’re expiring because the only way they could be enacted initially was by pretending that they were temporary.”
For Monday's midday town-hall meeting on CNBC, they tagged their producer Mark Koba to live-blog the event from the site at the Newseum in Washington. Koba easily demonstrated an overwhelming enthusiasm for Obama, comparing him to Elvis Presley, before and after the event:
11:56 am EST: This does seem bigger than Elvis. He's in the building!...
1:10 pm EST: Okay, Elvis, I mean Barack has left the room and probably the building in a few minutes. Everyone stays put till he actually does leave...the building.
Throughout the event, Koba mentioned how everyone was hanging on Obama's every precious word -- even after he explained they were instructed by producers to look interested for the cameras. Koba kept returning to Obama's calm and convincing mien:
An organization once headed by former Obama administration official Van Jones tried it. Other so-called grassroots organizations have given it a shot. Now Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., with the power of Congress in tow, has taken his best shot to shut Glenn Beck down. But so far it isn’t really working.
With congressional hearings, you'd expect the media to be all over this, right? Not exactly, at least thus far. The most attention Weiner’s charade could muster was a segment at the end of MSNBC’s bomb-thrower show, “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” Olbermann asked Weiner on his Sept. 23 broadcast if Goldline was in cahoots with “willing partners like Glenn Beck,” since anyone who suggests gold be a part of someone’s portfolio is up to no good.
“Tonight, free-market capitalism on the comeback trail,” Kudlow said on his Sept. 15 program. “That is one of the messages of the Tea Party power. We saw a lot of that power last night in the primaries. I tell you what folks, that Tea Party power, that free-market capitalist power is so totally bullish for the stock market.”
Someone's a little full of the power of his network apparently.
On Sept. 20, CNBC hosted a so-called "town hall" meeting on its network about President Barack Obama and how his administration is dealing with business issues. Obama took some criticism from participants and observers said the president was playing defense. However, CNBC's "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer had a different take on the made-for-television event. According to Cramer, Obama's appearance was a net-positive for the stock market.
"Do you know why this market went up and stayed up today, with the Dow voting 146 points, S&P rising one-and-a-half percent?" Cramer said on his Sept. 20 broadcast. "Because today during the fantastic CNBC-hosted town hall with El Presidente, we got the ultimate confirmation that we are seeing a new and improved more pro-business President Obama! And that's change the market can believe in."
The Media Research Center isn't the only ones out there telling folks to be wary of the media and its coverage of the Tea Party movement.
On his Sept. 15 broadcast, Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC's "The Kudlow Report," hit that point. Referring to "Tea Party" primary win in Delaware, New York and New Hampshire, Kudlow explained that this shift to the right was a net-positive for the economy.
"Tonight, free-market capitalism on the comeback trail," Kudlow said. "That is one of the messages of the Tea Party power. We saw a lot of that power last night in the primaries. I tell you what folks, that Tea Party power, that free-market capitalist power is so totally bullish for the stock market."
Kudlow advised his viewers to be skeptical of the media, which has covered the Tea Party movement and their candidates very critically, even sometimes disparagingly. He cited the "Contract FROM America," a document put forth by various conservative organizations calling on elected leaders and political candidates to stand on a number of conservative principles.