Could CNBC Be Depriving Viewers of Vital Information?

There was once a day when particular media outlets were so dominant that they could essentially make the rules on who they permitted to appear with them whether in print, on the radio, or on TV. Those days are long gone, of course. So, why does CNBC still think it has the power to demand that guests appear solely on its network? And, in so doing is CNBC depriving its viewers of the vital financial information that they need to plan their business days?

CNBC is the most watched financial-centered cable news network, certainly. Though its younger competitor, Fox Business Network, has been making amazing inroads into CNBCs viewer base, the older network is still on top of the heap… for now.

But will that hold if CNBC’s booking practices stay as they are now? One might wonder.

For those unaware of the controversy, here, CNBC refuses to book guests that have bookings on other networks on the same day as their appearance on CNBC. As David Folkenflik of NPR reveals, CNBC has a stark rule in its booking scheme.

“CNBC POLICY REMINDER: Per CNBC policy, we cannot use guests who have a same-day appearance on Fox Business or Bloomberg… By accepting a booking with CNBC, you acknowledge and accept the terms of this policy.”

Of course, these days, we know that many people that are in the news are in the news because of something, well, newsworthy. And if such a person is doing something newsworthy that means they’ll be making the rounds of news outlets, or at least will be wanting to be making those rounds.

So, if CNBC is purposefully excluding newsmakers that are set to appear at other venues, does CNBC expect those newsmakers to keep themselves exclusive to CNBC? Really? In THIS media climate? Doesn’t that seem a bit absurd in an era when striking when the iron is hot is the only way to play the game?

So, this forces us to ask, if CNBC won’t book someone that intends to appear on other news outlets because what they have to talk about is in the news… might we find that CNBC is not keeping up with the news cycle?

Might we find that CNBC’s viewers are getting slighted of happening news because of CNBC’s strict booking practices?

Further, why does CNBC think so much of itself that it imagines it has the power to keep newsmakers from getting on as many outlets as they can to sell the points they are trying to push? The days of some reporter, newspaper, or other media outlet asking, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” are long over, after all!

Jeff Reeves of the website InvestorPlace on his page called The Slant also makes a good point in his recent discussion of this tale.

Every modern media consumer uses multiple sources, and that’s ultimately a good thing for public discourse. Secondly, every modern media organization should know that it’s willfully naive to act like they have any old-school gatekeeper power now that there are so many options and the Internet responds instantaneously.

Reeves also warns CNBC that some of its bench of guests might get a bit sick and tired of being dictated to by the cable channel. Especially since many in that stable of guests are high-powered CEOs and business titans, folks who aren’t used to having their actions dictated by others.

It is a warning CNBC should take to heart.

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  • Paul Hooson

    MSNBC for example, wrongly reported some important facts involving a witness who testified against a defendant involved in a murder for hire case at a car lot. The witness said that he “had sold 500 cars in his lifetime”, but MSNBC falsely reported that the witness said that he “stole 500 cars in his lifetime”. But, I blamed THE PORTLAND TRIBUNE which represented some wrong facts that MSNBC used to base their story.

    Here, it sounds like CNBC , may be basing their own opinions on what to report on their own judgement. That can be faulty, But, limited airtime, etc. often means journalistic shortcuts.

    • retired.military

      Yeah but notice that the policy doesnt mention ABC, CBS, or NBC, Just Fox and Bloomberg. Kinda shoots your theory down the tubes.

      • jim_m

        Bloomberg is not necessarily that conservative otherwise I would suggest that the proscription against FOX was an attempt at silencing conservative viewpoints. Then again maybe the small bloomberg audience is merely a beard to hide that fact.

  • JWH

    There’s a compromise to this available. If you’re a newsmaker (i.e., the CEO of BigCo as it announces its new widget), you get to go on CNBC and any other place you please. If you’re a news analyst (i.e., an analyst and Lehman Brothers or similar), they hold you to the exclusivity.

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  • Jwb10001

    I worked for a very large company that owned it’s market and did pretty much as it pleased. Eventually customers grew to resent the hold this company had on them and started buying other products even though they were inferior products, it’s just human nature. This sort of “I’m the big guy on the block I make the rules” crap generally lands you in trouble eventually.

  • Granny is ALIVE!!!!

    You state that Fox Business has made “amazing inroads into CNBC’s viewerbase”, but if that were true…CNBC wouldn’t have the power to demand exclusivity from their guests.
    (and considering FBN barely breaks 55-60k in total day viewership, I think you may need to recheck your facts/stop reciting Fox talking points…)

    For better or worse, CNBC is THE leader in business news…and if a CEO or top-tier guest wants to get their message out, they know the best use of their time would be going on CNBC – not on Fox Business or Bloomberg.