Michael Wolff writes Monday for The Guardian that Maria Bartiromo‘s departure from CNBC last week — she’s headed to a job at Fox Business Network — wasn’t as big of a deal as it would have been 20 years ago.
Wolff writes, “She was synonymous with business news at the moment when business news was growing ever more uncertain about itself. Her signature afternoon show didn’t have much more than an audience of 40,000 people, meaning CNBC was paying $1,000 a person. And she seemed like a voice and face from another time, when CEOs were gods, when froth felt like money, when business news was more like sports. True, CNBC wasn’t acting otherwise. It always felt like 1999 at CNBC. Still, even at tone deaf CNBC, Bartiromo seemed tonally off.
“Both CNBC and Bartiromo had been caught out in a mobile world. CNBC has always maintained a carefully created illusion of its own omnipresence and inescapable utility. Wherever Wall Street was gathered, in gyms, on trading floors, or in C-suite reception areas, there was CNBC offering real time narration. The fact that this was a tiny audience, almost impossible to measure, was trumped by the urgency of the information and the importance and wealth of those who urgently needed to know. It was this sense of connectedness at CNBC that helped kill business magazines.
“But where once this looked like information efficiency, a constant mainlining of data, this form was now preempted by alerts in your pocked, by a new habitual relationship. News as a whole has become a mobile phenomenon. Connection, urgency, utility have moved to mobile devices and applications, leaving CNBC and its brother news channels in the background, with no one listening. Illusion shattered.
“Indeed, television business news with its graphs and signage and hastily arrange interviews, has always looked more like it provided a lot more information than it actually did. The truly more efficient device in your pocket now unmasks this.”
Read more here.