'Experts' Ignore CNBC's Leftward Tilt as Cause for Ratings Drop
When in doubt blame conservatism, even when it comes to the struggles of a media outlet. Even when 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 â€śteabagâ€ť double entendres), thereâ€™s been a decline in interest in financial news since the markets havenâ€™t been as volatile. But Gross is also convinced thereâ€™s a component of the networkâ€™s â€śrightward, anti-Obama tilt,â€ť despite its efforts to placate the left.
â€śBut while many anchors and reporters play it straight down the middle, CNBC has embraced a surprisingly politicized view of these developments,â€ť Gross wrote in his Aug. 4 Slate â€śMoneyboxâ€ť column. â€śMany of the network's most prominent personalities are quite far to the right. (Disclosure: I appear on CNBC occasionally, and the network's on-air and off-air staff has been kind to me.) As the stock market fell in January and February, a reaction to the sharp plunge in the global economy and failure of the world's credit system, CNBC hosts and analysts warned of an Obama bear market.â€ť
Jonathan Berr, writing for AOLâ€™s DailyFinance.com suggests CNBCâ€™s rating took a dive after the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart feud, where the CNBC â€śMad Moneyâ€ť turned up lame in a Comedy Central â€śDaily Showâ€ť appearance in March.
â€śNonetheless, some observers argue that viewers are tuning out CNBC because they donâ€™t like what the[y] are seeing,â€ť Kerr wrote on Aug. 4. â€śThis became particularly clear earlier this year, when CNBC's ratings dropped after its slap-fight with the "Daily Show's" Jon Stewart.â€ť
But, the shift of CNBC has been anything but more to the right. The Cramer/Stewart feud followed Cramerâ€™s outspoken criticism of President Barack Obamaâ€™s economic policies, and CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelliâ€™s famous outburst about the Obamaâ€™s administrationâ€™s mortgage policies. Since then, the network has gone out of its way to appease elements on the left and its ratings have dropped during that period.
Liberal storefronts have set up shop to influence editorial policy of CNBC (albeit without the same fervor they did three months ago). The network has hired former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a contributor and brought in Huffington Post liberal co-founder Arianna Huffington as a guest host on multiple occasions.
And according to the April 16 New York Postâ€™s gossip page â€śPage Six,â€ť CNBC brass had even instructed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to back off some of the anti-Obama rhetoric come from the likes of Cramer and Santelli.
But, it was from that point forward that CNBC had seen its ratings show a real decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) had already begun to come off its lows when CNBC began making these shifts in editorial direction to appease certain left-wing constituencies.