THE top suits and some of the on-air talent at CNBC were recently ordered to a top-secret meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to discuss whether they’ve turned into the President Obama-bashing network, Page Six has learned.
“It was an intensive, three-hour dinner at 30 Rock which Zucker himself was behind,” a source familiar with the powwow told us. “There was a long discussion about whether CNBC has become too conservative and is beating up on Obama too much. There’s great concern that CNBC is now the anti-Obama network. The whole meeting was really kind of creepy.”
One topic under the microscope, our insider said, was on-air CNBC editor Rick Santelli’s rant two months ago about staging a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest the president’s bailout programs — an idea that spawned tax protest tea parties in other big cities, infuriating the White House. Oddly, Santelli was not at the meeting, while Jim Cramer was, noted our source, who added that no edict was ultimately handed down by the network chieftains.
CNBC flack Brian Steel confirmed the get-together, but insisted: “The dinner was to thank CNBC for a job well done in our in-depth reporting throughout the financial crisis. As far as our coverage is concerned, we are built for balance and we are unabashedly pro-investor.”
Our source retorted: “That is complete bull[bleep] . . . they didn’t invite a lot of people to [the meeting]. There were many staffers who were working 24/7 during the crisis who weren’t asked to attend, even Santelli, who was a big star for the network during those weeks. Why not?”
Maybe they figured the less people invited, the less likely it would be that news of the meeting would leak to the press? Oops.
If indeed CNBC has become the “Obama-bashing network” then I’d suggest that makes the NBC network’s overall coverage of The One “balanced.” After all, you’ve got MSDNC hotshots like Chris Matthews admitting his loyalty and devotion to the Obama administration by saying that it’s “his job” to help the administration succeed. And, almost daily, that’s exactly what he tries to do.
Come to think of it, isn’t it highly telling that NBC bigwigs had a meeting over “concerns” that CNBC was becoming too “anti-Obama” yet we’ve heard of no such meetings over MSNBC’s becoming blatantly “pro-Obama”?
It’s all about the priorities, you see.