THE BLOG

CNBC Has Become The Gong Show

06/21/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Don McNay Financial Expert and Best Selling Author



"I can't stand it no more"

-Peter Frampton

It's hard to find a more avid CNBC viewer than myself. I've watched several hours a day since the network was invented.

When cable television was a novelty in the early 1980's, I arranged for part of my city to be wired so that stock brokers and financial planners like me to watch FNN in their offices.

FNN was the model that CNBC is based on and many of their best news people spent time at FNN.

CNBC charges premium dollars for advertising because the CNBC audience is highly educated and upper income.

In other words, people like me.

I don't know when CNBC decided that people like me needed to be yelled at.

Jon Stewart did an outstanding piece of journalism (or at least at outstanding piece of journalism by a comedian on a comedy show) when he exposed some ways that the network missed on the economic crisis.

As a (former) daily viewer, I understood the network's biases but never cared as it usually gave me good information.

Now, all they do is yell at me.

I think Jim Cramer started it first. His wild antics were popular for a while. Then everyone on the network started yelling. The network gives unending amounts of time to Larry Kudlow. Not only is a Kudlow a right wing fanatic, he has absolutely no manners. He rudely interrupts guests and yells over them.

If my mother had been his mother, Larry would have spent a lot of time having his mouth washed out with soap.

Now, everyone is doing it. They pop 10 people on the screen at once and you can't hear anyone.

I guess the viewers are supposed to decide a winner, like they did on the Gong Show.

CNBC used to have a small number of big name experts, like "Investment Biker" Jim Rogers, who really knew something about finance and gave them time to talk.

Now they drag in scores of warm bodies that no one has ever heard of. Often they have no connection to the topic of the day.

Today was the tipping point for me. It was a big day in the foreign markets and I tuned in to Power Lunch get some insights.

Instead, Power Lunch was focused on a union bashing topic. They brought on a "Democratic operative" who had no connection to any labor union and paired her with a right wing talk show host.

Each was supposed to get 30 seconds to start. The "Democratic operative" spoke first. She had her talking points and several minutes later, she was still reading them. The camera focused on the other guy and he tried to talk over her. No one tried to stop her or cut her microphone.

Then the conservative guy, who had no connection to any labor or industry groups, went to his talking points.

If there was any information to be gathered out of that exchange, I totally missed it.

Both looked great on camera. Neither had the slightest idea what they were talking about.

I gave up.

I started dialing through the channels and wound up at Fox Business News. At that moment, it was the only place where I could find "fair and balanced" information.

Think about that for a minute.

As the Frampton song says, "I can't stand it no more." I really wish CNBC operated like the Gong Show. They are some hosts, and guests, that I would love to gong off.

I am sure someone high up at CNBC thinks the yelling has merit but they are running off the hardest of its hard core audience.

People like me.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the founder of McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement consulting firm, in Richmond, Kentucky.

He is the author of Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You When The Lottery. You can write to Don at don@donmcnay.com or read his award winning column at www.donmcnay.com.

McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.