OLD Media Moves

CNBC and GE's earnings

January 23, 2010

Peter Lauria of the New York Post catches CNBC with some questionable reporting on parent company General Electric Co.’s earnings and provides advice for any business reporter covering earnings.

Lauria writes, “On Friday morning’s ‘Squawk on the Street,’ anchor Bob Pisani said GE was expecting ‘flattish growth’ for 2010.


“Unless Pisani was attempting to coin a new oxymoron, there is no such thing as flattish growth. A company’s earnings outlook can be down, flat, or up. There’s no such thing as a flattish decline, either.

“When it comes to GE’s earnings, which have declined for several quarters in a row, CNBC’s anchors are well-versed in such linguistic gymnastics. When GE famously shocked Wall Street by missing its quarterly earnings expectations last year, the network’s anchors repeatedly used such euphemisms as ‘essentially in-line’ or ‘basically flat’ or ‘slightly below projections’ to soften the blow of the miss.

“Here’s a short lesson on earnings reporting: An outlook can be down, flat or up, and results can be missed, made or exceeded. Synonyms are acceptable.”

Read more here.

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