CNBC's Steve Liesman has always gone after tea party inspiration and network floor reporter Rick Santelli for his views, but this time it was Santelli playing offense.
The CNBC "Power Lunch" crew was discussing Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO Ken Lewis and disclosure of details surrounding his bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch May 5. Santelli accused Liesman, CNBC's senior economics reporter of saying "dumb things" and acting like Nixon, when he suggested there could be a compelling reason for Lewis was not forthcoming about the acquisition.
"Ask the question in a more compelling way which is - I want you to save the world and not disclose," Liesman said.
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."
It has been something that there have been rumblings about, but no one has really put the x's and o's together entirely - that General Electric (NYSE:GE) is using its media arm, NBC Universal to promote President Barack Obama's so-called progressive agenda for its own financial gain.
However, as just previewed by Amy Ridenour, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly attempted to do so at the top of his April 23 "The O'Reilly Factor" broadcast during his "Talking Points Memo" segment. O'Reilly outlined how Obama has gotten support from the NBC networks both pre-election and post-election.
"Will General Electric get paid for supporting President Obama - that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," O'Reilly said. "As everybody knows, GE, which owns NBC has been very aggressive in helping Barack Obama - first supporting the president in the election and now attacking his critics."
While Fox News has celebrated the Taxpayer Tea Party rallies and MSNBC has denigrated them, the impetus of the movement - CNBC and specifically Rick Santelli, its inspiration - had been conspicuously quiet about it.
"A lot of articles about these tea parties," Kernen said. "They all have your name in them, like you caused it. Are you actually attending any or are you just sort of got the idea going initially? What do you think? I mean, you're like a cultural phenomenon at this point."
With the Tax Day tea party rallies just three days away, outside of the Fox News Channel, the coverage has been lacking. And, it was something that even Washington Post media columnist and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz acknowledged on his April 12 program.
"The folks at Fox News have found something to be for in this age of Obama," Kurtz said. "They are firmly in favor of tea parties. On Wednesday, that would be April 15th - there will be tax protests around the country on the theme of the original Boston Tea Party. TaxDayTeaParty.com says it was inspired by that rant against President Obama's mortgage aid plan by CNBC's Rick Santelli."
However, Kurtz didn't condemn his network and other networks for lack of coverage - but instead explored the notion that Fox News was giving it too much coverage.
BMI's Dan Gainor has the following column on Tax Day and Tea Parties up on the Fox Forum:
When you want tea, you bring water to a boil. When you want genuine change, you do the same thing to the American public.
Right now, that public is boiling mad and, with April 15 around the corner, the most important thing brewing is tax protest. For every state in the nation, this tea’s for you.
Lucky for us, our cups runneth over. The nationwide Tax Day Tea Party movement is building incredible steam with an event on the day most Americans dread – April 15. It’s an H&R Block Party to take back our government from people who couldn’t manage the budget of a Kwik-E-Mart.
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.
Arianna Huffington, who appeared as a guest host on CNBC's March 31 "Squawk Box" has following of left-wing readers and bloggers, as the editor of the very popular Huffington Post blog. The two faced off on "Squawk Box" about how the housing crisis should be handled. Huffington asked Santelli what his thoughts were on more government assistance for underwater homeowners to prevent another round of foreclosures.
"Well, the whole country is underwater I guess," Santelli replied. "It's just a matter of where you want to point the bailout gun. I would certainly like to see some of those mortgage contracts gone through to find out where the erroneous and inaccurate and illegal contracts and separate those from the rest because I think that a lot of the information on the original mortgage contracts is not accurate and I don't think it would be very fair to put those in the same camp as other foreclosures."
It's the latest ailment of the left - CNBC derangement syndrome.
Since CNBC's Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer took an outspoken stance on the shortcomings of the Obama administration, left-wing storefronts have been popping up all over the place wanting to capitalize on the network after it took a vicious attack from Comedy Central "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.
Since his now-famous Chicago Tea Party outburst from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in February, CNBC's Rick Santelli had seemingly disappeared from the spotlight.
However, on CNBC's March 17 "Squawk Box," Santelli, using similar theatrics, noted that the Obama administration as been very concerned about $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
"Well, I mean it seems as though the administration really hit this one head on. They're not happy about it, right?" Santelli said.
In a speech on March 16, President Barack Obama called it an "outrage" and said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pursuing "legal avenues" to block the bonuses. In Santelli's view, Obama seemed to be worrying about millions, instead of the billions and trillions.
Since CNBC's Rick Santelli first suggested a Chicago Tea Party to protest President Obama's plans to "stimulate" the economy and bailout homeowners through unrestrained government spending, organized demonstrations have been occurring across the fruited plain.
In fact, as Glenn Reynolds reported moments ago, there's one happening today in Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, unless you frequent conservative websites, you'd have no idea that such events were being staged.
Despite their lack of coverage, as Knoxnews.com revealed Sunday, these Tea Parties are springing up all over the country (image courtesy Geldpress):
As much as the 2008 presidential election was a battle between socialism and capitalism in America, so too is the highly-publicized feud between Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and CNBC's Jim Cramer.
Even their last names begin with the same letters as the economic philosophies they're defending.
Of course, the press coverage of the main event -- Cramer appearing on "The Daily Show" Thursday to face his accuser -- is also emblematic of this war with the liberal media cheering for Stewart, and those on the right clearly in the "Mad Money" host's corner.
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."
Here we go again - another Obama administration/media personality feud in the works.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has no problem addressing media critics of President Barack Obama - even on an individual basis. Since Obama was sworn in as president, Gibbs has addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNBC mercantile exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli and now CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
During the March 3 White House press briefing, Tom Costello of NBC News asked Gibbs to respond to remarks from Cramer, who was described as "not a conservative," made on NBC's March 3 "Today" show that he "thought the president's policies, his agenda had contributed to the greatest wealth destruction he's ever seen by a president."
Playboy Magazine got its undies in a bundle over the nation wide Tea Party protests held last Friday that were inspired by CNBC's Rick Santelli's free market rant of February 19. As Noel Sheppard noted on March 1, the skin mag published a piece claiming that Santelli was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to protest Obama's socialist policies.
It turns out, however, that the story has been proven false and in response Playboy has mysteriously removed the piece that first raised the question of the grand conspiracy. Happily, the facts have won over on Playboy forcing it to pull down the fallacious story. In its place, all we now get is a "We're sorry, we couldn't find the page you requested," notice.
Did you know that Rick Santelli's well-publicized rant on CNBC Feb. 19 wherein he called for a Chicago Tea Party to protest the White House's mortgage bailout plan was set up by a vast, rightwing conspiracy to bring down President Obama run by the co-founder of the John Birch Society and former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey?
Well, that's what Playboy magazine claimed Friday in a piece outlining a grand cabal that supposedly has been in the works since last August:
CNBC's Joe Kernen had some fun at the New York Times' expense Monday morning, so much so that whether you love Rick Santelli's Rant Heard 'Round The World, or just can't stand the Grey Lady, you're guaranteed to bust a gut.
To set this up, the NY Times on Monday ran an article bashing media mogul Rupert Murdoch for actually liking -- wait for it!!! -- newspapers -- stop the presses!!! -- as well as a piece criticizing CNBC for having the nerve to publicize Santelli's rant last Thursday.
Oh the humanity!
This didn't sit well with Kernen who tore the Times to shreds both figuratively AND literally (video embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
"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.
CNBC reporter Santelli's Thursday morning "Shout Heard Round the World" (CNBC's term) objecting to the Obama administration's mortgage modification program on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange quickly went viral, and struck two nerves. First, it ignited a groundswell of support from the over 90% of the of the nation that pays its bills and plays by the (normal) rules. The other nerve it struck was at the White House, whose spokesman Robert Gibbs struck back with a level of poorly concealed fury and contempt that I don't think I've seen publicly displayed by any other administration in my lifetime.
Larry Kudlow had Santelli as a guest on CNBC's Kudlow Report Friday night (CNBC video here; YouTube here [HT Scott's Slant]). As one would fully expect by this time, Santelli made a few huge, emotionally-charged points of his own. The gratifying stunner is Kudlow's passion in the final third of the interview, where he sounded the alarm over freedom of the press, basic respect, and bullying.
Looking around the web, at least at this point, this interview has gained relatively little exposure, leaving the distinct and incorrect impression that Gibbs has the rhetorical upper hand.
No way. The CNBC pair of Santelli and Kudlow has the White House on its heels. Common-sense, passionate, principled assertions rooted in truth will tend to do that. Here's the full transcript (bolds are mine):
Will wonders ever cease? First, a NBC network airs its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter making a call to action against all the populism that has inundated the political dialogue over the past six months. Now, the same reporter, Rick Santelli, has been invited by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to the White House.
On CNBC's "Street Signs" Feb. 20, Santelli told viewers he would accept Gibbs' invitation. And, although his critics thought he was over-the-top, he said he still felt good about his impassioned plea.
"Well, I tell you what Melissa Lee," Santelli said. "It's been a wild afternoon, but I do want to point out - I do believe I was invited to the White House by Mr. Gibbs and I want to let him know, I would love to. I would love to accept and the decaf sounds good, but I prefer tea, but thank you for bring this into the forefront. This is an issue that means a lot to everybody and I'm glad it's getting a high degree of introspection, debate and I think that's essential. I feel really good about that."
What's really revolting about this is the studio reaction. While it's maybe half-kidding at times, the fact that strong opposition to government policies expressed by Santelli and the traders makes these reporters instinctively think of the them being "putty" in Santelli's hands and of "mob rule" is very, very telling -- especially since I haven't heard a peep out of any reporter worried about "mob rule" in ACORN's civil disobedience campaign designed to prevent the carrying out of lawful foreclosures.
Here's a transcript of most of what was said earlier today (I would add bolds, but I would have to bold almost everything):
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."