Media Moves

CNBC's coverage is cozy to business

January 29, 2007

David Carr writes in the Monday New York Times that what Maria Bartiromo did by flying in the Citigroup corporate jet is typical for a media outlet that has cozied up to its beat.

David CarrCarr wrote, “CNBC has positioned itself as an adjunct to business, the glowing friend in the corner with the sound off and a ticker at the bottom. In that respect, CNBC has roughly the same relationship to Wall Street that ‘Entertainment Tonight’ has to Hollywood: boosterish, gossipy and more than a little starry-eyed.

“It is companion media rather than the source of oversight or rigorous coverage that you might expect from, say, The Wall Street Journal. By demonstrating that it was able to deliver Ms. Bartiromo for important functions, Citigroup was able to use her fame as an adjunct to its marketing. It didn’t own her so much as rent her through its ongoing advertising on CNBC.

“If there’s a price to be paid, the bill will be sent to Ms. Bartiromo’s reputation. After all, what are all those day traders going to think the next time she opens her show with a look at Citigroup? It may be hard to keep their minds on their ‘trade’ buttons.

“All that said, it’s hard to blame Ms. Bartiromo for going native and taking a seat on the corporate jet. After all, the two corporate entities that traded her like a Joe DiMaggio rookie card both make millions. Why should she have to fly coach? Isn’t that how the favor bank is supposed to work in the first place?”

Read more here.

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