I’ve waited a few days since Fox announced its plans to start a business news cable channel, in hopes that it would all start to make more sense with time. It hasn’t.
No one has ever accused CNBC, the cable TV home of Jim Cramer, Larry Kudlow and Maria Bartiromo, of being antibusiness. Until now.
Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the media industry, that the News Corporation will start a long-awaited business news channel in the fourth quarter of this year. In doing so, he also took a shot at CNBC, the leading television business news outlet, vowing that the new channel would be friendlier to corporations.
At a media conference in New York yesterday, Mr. Murdoch said the Fox Business Channel would be “more business friendly than CNBC,” which he said was quick to “leap on every scandal,” according to a report on his remarks by BusinessWeek.com, whose parent, McGraw-Hill, sponsored the conference.
In a separate interview, Mr. Ailes elaborated. “Many times I’ve seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.”
He added: “We don’t get up every morning thinking business is bad.”
Asked whether that meant that Fox would go easy on its reporting of the type of corporate scandals like Enron and WorldCom that cost individual investors millions of dollars when those companies collapsed, Mr. Ailes replied: “We will be as ruthless in our coverage of business scandals as we have always been.” He said that while thousands of companies have publicly traded securities, “only 9 or 10 are in trouble” at a given time.
The first quote from Murdoch seems to be hinting that CNBC’s sin was saturation coverage of the corporate scandals, but then Ailes is quoted as saying they will be aggressive in covering such scandals at Fox. What, then, could they possibly be referring to? I’ve been looking for examples of this alleged antibusiness bias at CNBC, though all I’ve come across are snarky responses on blogs. Take, for instance, Daniel Gross. People also seem to like refuting the Fox guys’ charges by pointing to the recent Maria Bartiromo-Citigroup controversy. as evidence of CNBC being too business-friendly.
Now, I haven’t watched CNBC in a while, other than an occasional amusing minute or two of Jim Cramer ranting away. I used to watch it a bit, and I was an intern in a financial office in college, where I was subjected to it for hours every day. Never did I notice the bias the Fox people are speaking of, so maybe it’s a recent thing (or I’ve been brainwashed by liberal propaganda, that’s always possible). Does anyone have a concrete example of a story that has run on CNBC that exhibits this bias Murdoch and Ailes are talking about? At least the people pushing the liberal media meme in the political area bring up examples when trying to make their (flawed) case, sheesh.