Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Memo to CNBC

This morning I broke one of my longstanding rules and turned the volume on to check out Squawk Box and Morning Call. As usual, actually listening to what they're saying on CNBC proved to be a complete waste of time.

Memo to CNBC

Mark: drop the phony enthusiasm. We liked you better when you were providing some
adult supervision and/or making cynical faces at the camera. If you are required to pretend to be happy with a fractured hour from the floor of the exchange you should just quit.

Ladies (you know who you are): the Dow Jones Industrial Average is an 11,000+/- point index composed of 30 individual stocks whose prices change every second. A change in the index from minus 9 to plus 6 is not a reaction to anything. A move of .1% in the first hour of trading is also known as flat. A rounding error. More importantly, a 30 point change off the flat line is not a "surge". In other words, going from 1/10 of 1% to 1/4 of 1% is just noise on a quiet summer day.

Joe: a stock that is bid 23 cents below yesterday's close in the premarket is not reacting to [insert news]. It is still not reacting to [insert same news] when the market opens and the stock is up 11 cents. That is especially true for a $90 stock. But you already know that, right? So we have someone feeding the teleprompter that does not?

Bob: you seem like a nice guy... but it would be good if you could bring something to the table. More than anyone, anywhere, you have unfettered access to specialists on the front lines. Yet we get nothing except the same exact cliches day after day after day ("Traders I've talked to are watching oil... Traders say pay attention to interest rates..."). Bob, you aren't really talking to traders are you? C'mon, just between us. Those bullies picking on you again? Do me a favor. Just as an experiment. Grab one of those guys walking by (trying to avoid eye contact) and ask him what's really up. "How's the tape feel today?" "What's really new out there that nobody's talking about?" "Hey, explain to our viewers what it is you guys are doing jammed into that post over there!" If you're telling me you can't do anything like that, then you're just using the exchange floor for wallpaper.

Rick: you are a god. Not because you provide more information in 45 seconds than the
entire cast manages in an hour, but because you so diplomatically deflect their lack of understanding when they throw it to you. We know why you're always smiling with all the crap you have to listen to before it's your turn. By the way, please talk to the traders on the NYSE floor and ask them to be nice to Bob.

CNBC: your website is awful. Literally worthless. You are a wholly owned subsidiary of one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Yet I can't watch an interview with a guy from last Friday (worse yet, according to your search function, there is no record this regular guest exists). Both confirmed by a painful phone call with a robot in viewer services (by the way, I had to help her find the site first). Ever heard of YouTube? Check it out. See what I mean? Why is it I can watch the I Love Lucy Show from 1957 but can't watch an interview from last Friday?


Blogger NO DooDahs said...

I can think of one thing that keeps me watching CNBC ... Erin Burnett.


9:59 PM  
Blogger Howard Lindzon said...

classic last paragraph

The highest muted station in the free world

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Great post. It's surprising how many powerful brands out there throw together the absolute worst web sites on the Internet.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Ted.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent piece. I'd like to add that CNBC lost what little credibility they had left when they dumbed down the stock ticker, added those silly sound effects, and allowed that clown Cramer to broadcast from the lobby of FAO Schwarz.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After personally sitting next to Santelli for a year at the CBOT in Chicago every morning, I must say, he is probably the ONLY person at CNBC who has a clue of what's going on. The rest of them, yikes. and to think the poor people who DO listen to those talking heads... No wonder they get smashed in the markets.


2:41 PM  
Anonymous Triple Witching Friday said...

Excellent post!

We stopped watching after Alexis Glick left!

10:15 AM  

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