About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has climbed nearly 45 percent since hitting a March 9 low. The S&P 500 (S&P) is up nearly 53 percent. And the NASDAQ (NASDAQ) has soared a whopping 61 percent since the March bottom.
But that rally has some analysts shaking their heads. Art Cashin, a CNBC regular who also makes frequent appearances on CBS and NBC news programs to offer insight on the financial markets, was skeptical. He told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Sept. 11 he got some of his money out of the market and got burnt, but is still scratching his head over the rally.
"Away from that, I'm still somewhat skeptical about this," Cashin said. "I've been wrong, got out too early, certainly. I took some money off the table as I told you, about a week and a half, two weeks ago. Didn't take it all off, um, may take some more off if they keep going."
While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.
Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.
Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.
Since hitting their lows back in March, financial markets have rallied in the wake of last year's financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is up 43 percent since March 9. But can it last?
It could be all given up with this rate of government spending according to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. Cramer, responding to a viewer e-mail on his Sept.8 program, explained what a higher national debt would mean to the average citizen and investors in the near and long term. He said expect the market to go down and higher taxes eventually.
"I know that this is going to mean our taxes are going to go way up," Cramer said. "I have to tell you this eventually means this market will come down. It is in when what I call the out years, not to worry about it yet."
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
Once again, one of the masters of the universe trotted out on MSNBC has discovered the cure to one of society's ills - more Obama.
Daily Voice editor and CNBC contributor Keith Boykin waved off the reservations of some parents about President Barack Obama addressing their children in the classroom. Boykin appeared on MSNBC on Sept. 3 in a segment about the classroom controversy and added his insightful commentary on the matter.
"So much of the debate about President Obama has been politicized in an effort by some to delegitimize his presidency," Boykin said. "This is clearly much ado about nothing. We're talking about the President of the United States speaking to school kids. Why wouldn't schools want this to happen? That's why our kids are so dumb today, because they don't want to have basic common sense in the classroom."
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
As the likelihood of President Barack Obama's style of health care/health insurance reform has looked more and more uncertain, health care sector stocks have rallied, nearly 10 percent over the last month.
But now as Obama is showing some signs of managing his message and could be trying to make a comeback, even as polls show the odds aren't his favor, CNBC market analyst Steve Grasso is cautioning viewers to be wary of health care stocks for the time being.
"You know, one of my picks has been health care," Grasso said. "I'm a little shaky on it the longer this process goes on, I think the more we have to look at it. I mean, I caught a glimpse of President Obama speaking today. If they're clapping, that was a hand-picked audience. I have yet to find anyone who likes the plan. So I think health care is on waivers for me at this point."
It's no longer just enough to educate people about making healthy decision. You now have to influence them psychologically to effect true change according to CNBC's Jim Cramer.
Cramer, during his "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs" on Aug. 10, suggested eating so-called unhealthy food be demonized, similar to how the tobacco industry has been - through a publicity campaign that even appeared in movie theaters.
"I think that what people in the tobacco business would tell you that what really cut back tobacco was when people who watch commercials saw that they were being demonized and it became a really un-cool thing, I know they still do it in movie theaters and movies, a lot of that is paid, but that's what Phillip Morris always said really was the downfall of tobacco."
In an interview with CNBC Asia from the World Capital Market Symposium on the Aug. 10 broadcast of "Squawk Malaysia" Krugman said the stimulus that passed earlier this year was inadequate.
"We should be doing something to give the world, well give each of the major economies more of a jolt," Krugman said. "I mean, we've had these stimulus packages, but they were all inadequate. The United States, it was clear from day one that this wasn't going to be big enough."
Times have been tough financially for media companies across the board and satellite radio has been no exception.
On Aug. 6, Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) posted a second-quarter loss and the company hasn't lived up to expectations after Sirius and XM completed a merger a little over a year ago. According to "CNBC Reports" host Dennis Kneale, part of the satellite radio's problem is shock jock Howard Stern's compensation and the company's debt.
"I feel so, bad - there's, being run by one of what I think is the best executives in media, Mel Karmazin, a great salesman," Kneale said on CNBC's Aug. 6 "Power Lunch." "But in the end, does it turn out they just overpaid for Howard Stern and they have too much debt? I wonder if John Malone bailed them out temporarily hoping that they kind of go belly-up so they can get a hold of those assets really cheap."
When in doubt blame conservatism, even when it comes to the struggles of a media outlet - and ignore the possibility that liberalism might be to blame.
Ever since Nielsen came out with the July numbers for CNBC that showed the network had suffered a 28 percent ratings decline over a year ago, some of the financial media intelligentsia have been eager to point to what they perceive are the right-leaning political shortcomings of the network as a possible reason.
According to Daniel Gross, the Moneybox columnist for Slate.com and a columnist for Newsweek (and a known proprietor of "teabag" double entendres), there's been a decline in interest in financial news since the markets haven't been as volatile. But Gross is also convinced there's a component of the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt," despite its efforts to placate the left.
On Aug. 3, Richard Bernstein, CEO of Richard Bernstein Capital Management and CNBC contributor, told "Squawk Box" viewers: "One has to wonder how much TARP money has gone into bank balance sheets to speculate on commodities, right? Because the amount that's - the amount of speculation in commodities on bank balance sheets is much larger than what you get from the CFTC."
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 one of the few times one can wish the reporting by NBC News was right and CNBC was wrong.
A segment on the July 21 "NBC Nightly News" pointed out some of the key points of a budget deal reached between California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and leaders of the state legislature. The deal means some service cuts - but also includes the possibility of exploration and drilling for oil off the California coast.
"California is our biggest state in terms of population and it long ago ran out of money," "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams said. "They got nothing to pay the vendors they owe and now they have struck a deal for more cuts, and these are going to hurt. They're going to allow offshore drilling for the money it will bring in. The LA Times reports tens of thousands of seniors and children would lose access to health care. Prisoners will spend less time in prison. And the governor is going to sell cars and furniture and office supplies and autograph some of it, he says, to raise more money. It's an unbelievable turn of events."
On society’s list of most shameful professions, the pornographer would be near the top. What must pornographers think of themselves? They would argue that their industry has joined the mainstream, yet for porn performers, it’s a sordid career fraught with perils of drugs, disease, and in the darker corners of porn, exploitation and abuse.
Take the case of a true pervert, Paul Little, who calls himself "Max Hardcore." The British author Martin Amis submerged himself in the sleaziest subcultures of sex on film for the British newspaper The Guardian a few years ago. He recalled the making of Little’s "Hollywood Hardcore 13." The film included a series of...excretory humiliations.
Looking for wholesome family television oh, say, about 9 pm on July 15? Then make sure not to tune into CNBC. The network will air “Porn: Business of Pleasure,” hosted by Melissa Lee. The special, as touted by the network, will give viewers a look at the pornography industry. But if the marketing is a reliable indication, “Porn: Business of Pleasure” is nothing more than an attempt to normalize, and even promote, the porn industry.
According to a preview, those with qualms about pornography need to get over it. A voiceover explained how porn “is here. People want to see it.” Over images of naughty nurses and various scantily clothed people, a female explained how she wanted to be sex symbol, and another voice said that “pornography has been around since the time of the caveman. It’s not going anywhere.” And that’s just the preview.
The show will be much more than that. CNBC described it as “an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look inside the multibillion dollar pornography business, from the threats to its profitability to exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with the industry's biggest stars to the one issue that could bring the adult industry to it's knees.”
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer often showcases erratic and unpredictable behavior and the same goes sometimes for his analysis of the stock market.
While the economy continues to struggle through the recession, the forward-looking indicators known as the financial markets continue to perplex Cramer for not going up when some positive signs, also known as "green shoots" by the financial media, are starting show. According to his analysis - it's the government and a reliance on oil futures that have scared off investors.
"How did we reach this point where investors just can't be bothered to respond to clear unalloyed positives or be tempted by low, low prices of so many stocks?" Cramer said. "I think we've been worn down, I think we've been worn down by two different things - first, the government and then oil. And they're what's keeping everyone apathetic about stocks."
Why is CNBC's Rick Santelli one of the few press members willing to point out when the emperor isn't wearing any clothes?
As you ponder that important question, consider how Santelli on Tuesday morning recognized how absurd Vice President Joe Biden's Sunday comments were concerning the Obama administration misreading how bad the economy was.
After all, as Santelli marvelously asked: "How many hundreds of times has the current administration talked about the worst recession in history? The worst time since the Depression?"
"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."
While many on the left are reveling in the downfall of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford after he disclosed his affair with a woman in Argentina, there's a sympathetic figure being overlooked that might have the necessary background to fill the void left by the governor should he resign.
On CNBC's June 30 "The Kudlow Report," Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Steve Moore explained his close relationship with the Sanfords and raised a new political possibility.
"This is such a tough thing for me Larry, because as you know Mark Sanford has been a long-time friend of mine," Moore said. "This story truly breaks my heart." Moore suggested that South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford run for her husband's seat - as he called her "the brains of the operation."
While much of the country has been captivated by the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, the scandal of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and turmoil in Iran and Iraq, business news has fallen off the front pages.
"Remember when business was on the front page?" Cramer said. "We were on the front page for awhile. It was really frightening. It's still off - our whole, our whole - the whole stock market, the economy, we're all off the front page. We're no longer important because lovers, this guy Sanford - I'm not that familiar with his story. Those two people in Pennsylvania that were on the ‘Today' show and all those others."
While the media continues to press for passage of universal health care, MRC’s Vice President for Business and Culture, Dan Gainor, appeared on CNBC to discuss whether or not President Obama could actually get health care reform passed. On June 18, anchor Dennis Kneale cited an NBC and Wall Street Journal poll that found 11 percent of voters felt that health care costs are their top economic issue. Only 33 percent felt President Obama’s health care plan was a good idea.
“So is the president’s health care reform plan dead before it even hits the hill?” Kneale asked.
You can't be loved and adored by everybody, but if you're President Barack Obama and it concerns the media, you can come awfully close.
In an interview on CNBC's June 16 "Closing Bell" with the network Washington correspondent John Harwood, Obama reflected on the media coverage he has received to date. Harwood asked the president to respond to the claim that lack of media criticism has allowed him to "hurt" the country.
"When you and I spoke in January, you said, I observed that you haven't gotten much bad press," Harwood said. "You said, ‘It's coming.' Media critics would say not only has it not come, but that you've gotten such favorable press either because of bias or because you're good box office that it's hurting the country because you're not sufficiently being held accountable for your policies. Assess that."
During a CNBC interview, New York Times reporter John Harwood shared an intense moment with President Obama: "He had this fly that was persistently buzzing around him during the interview...he swatted his hand and he said ‘I got the sucker’...it was a, you know, Dirty Harry ‘make my day’ moment."
Harwood described the showdown at the end of the 4PM ET hour on MSNBC, after anchor David Shuster remarked: "John, I know that the President is credited with being sometimes awfully lucky, rainbows appear sometimes when he speaks, but I understand there was an instance today where he killed a fly out of mid-air during your interview." Harwood began to tell the tale: "Well, David, this reminded me of that moment during the campaign when he took a three-point shot at a military base and it swished."
After detailing the President’s courage in battling the insect, Harwood also noted Obama’s cleanliness: "...and at the end of the interview, David, he picked up a napkin off the table and said ‘I clean up after myself’ and he picked up the fly off the carpet." In awe, Shuster observed: "Amazing...An amazing interview...it never fails, great weather, rainbows, incredible speeches, and three-point basket. A fly and he nails it. Unbelievable, unbelievable."
Co-anchor Tamron Hall concluded the discussion by comparing Obama’s quick reflexes to that of the martial arts expert in the movie Karate Kid: "Mr. Miyagi, just snapped it right up. Look at that – look at that intense look."
"North Korea, Syria - I mean these are places when they always have elections, there's always a couple of people who don't vote for the right guy," Cramer said. "But I think the price of oil is going to tell you exactly how everything is going to play out in Iran, which is it's much ado about nothing."